Our wedding ceremony was everything I wanted and more. Neither Ben nor I are super religious, but did want to have a somewhat traditional ceremony. We decided to ask our friend, co-worker, and Ben's old roommate Mike to be our minister. He said yes without hesitation.
Mike was ordained online and we met up about a month before to talk about the ceremony script. I gave mike a sample ceremony I found online and told him he could use that one or change it up to something he thought would be better.
Mike did an amazing job. He emailed me a first draft and that's the one that stuck. We didn't change a thing and I couldn't have been happier! I found a really cool looking journal and copied his script into it. Then, Ben and I wrote our own vows and added those to the journal.
On the wedding day, Mike read our vows aloud and we repeated them to one another. It was a wonderful reflection of US! I'm a little biased, but I've never had more fun, or heard more laughs in a wedding ceremony.
Here's a copy of the script from our fabulous day:
Dear friends and family, with great affection for Ben and Anna we have gathered together to witness and bless their union in marriage. To this sacred moment they bring the fullness of their hearts with love to share with one another. They bring the dream which bind them together in an eternal commitment. They bring their gifts and talents, their unique personalities and spirits, which will unite into one being as they build their life together.
Who give this woman to be married to the man? Dad: Her mother and I do.
God, love has been Your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and a woman which matures into marriage is one of Your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May Your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless Ben and Anna in their marriage. Surround them and us with Your love now and always. Amen.
A reading by close friend Heather (which she chose and then read at our ceremony).
It is an honor and pleasure for me to officiate the marriage and union between Ben & Anna. I can still remember the first day that Ben saw Anna at work. He asked if I had seen the hot, new dance teacher. I told him that I had not and he suggested that I "Check her out" because she was "very hot." I also recall their first date and how nervous Ben was before the date. He was so anxious and excited that he forgot his wallet and was late to pick Anna up. I also remember him getting home early from the date and asking him how it went. He said that it went well and that he hoped to see her again. Once they had started to date steady, Anna gave a completely different version of the first date. The past 3 years I have seen Ben and Anna move from an awkward first date to a strong and powerful relationship full of love. They are a perfect balance and compliment to each other and are faithfully devoted to one another. The troubles they have encountered have only made them stronger and have made them ready for a lifetime of joy & happiness together.
They are whole heartedly committed to each other and will solidify that commitment today in front of their friends and family. Let me charge to you both, to remember that your future happiness is to be found in mutual consideration, patience, kindness, confidence, and affection. Ben, it is your duty to love Anna as yourself, provide tender leadership and protect her from danger. Anna, it is your duty to treat Ben with respect, support him and create a healthy, happy home. It is the duty of each of you to find the greatest joy in the company of the other; to remember that in both interest and affection you are to be one and undivided.
Ben, please repeat after me (Vows written by Ben):
I Ben, take you Anna to be my partner. Loving what I know of you and trusting what I do not yet know. I look forward to spending my life with you, raising our dogs together and maybe even a few kids as well. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you when times are tough. I promise to love you in good times and in bad; when life seems easy and when it seems hard; when our love is simple and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you and never complain when you drag me to yet another dance show. With kindness, unselfishness and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I promise you this from my heart for all the days of my life.
Anna repeat after me (Vows written by me)
I Anna, take you Ben to be my lawfully wedded husband, my constant friend, faithful partner, and one true love. You make me feel safe, alive and whole. I look forward to sharing our lives together, traveling, raising children that have your good looks, and just being content in one another's presence. I promise to support you in your dreams, and comfort you when the Mets lose. With kindness, unselfishness, and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I promise you this from my heart for all the days of my life.
Ben and Anna, you have made a very serious and important decision in choosing to marry each other today. The quality of your marriage with reflect what you put into nurturing this relationship. You have the opportunity to go forward, from this day, to create a faithful, kind, and tender relationship. May we bless you this day. It is up to you to keep the blessings flowing each and every day of our lives together. We wish for you the wisdom, compassion, and constancy to create a peaceful sanctuary in which you can both grow in love.
(This was repeated to each of us, with our response of "I DO")
Ben/Anna do you understand and accept this responsibility, and do you promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy, and happy marriage, as long as you both shall live?
The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you Ben may place a ring on the finger of your bride.
(Exchanging of the rings repeated by each of us)
I give you this ring, as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.
Because Ben and Anna have desired each other in marriage and have witnessed this before God and our gathering, affirming their acceptance of the responsibilities of such union, and pledged their love and faith to each other, sealing their vows in the giving and receiving of rings, I do proclaim, by the power vested in me, by the state of California, that they are now husband and wife. Let all people here and everywhere recognize and respect this union now and forever.
Ben, you may now kiss your Bride.
It is now my privilege to introduce to you, for the first time, Mr. & Mrs. Gravenkamp!
**Happiest day of my life. Thank you to Mike for a job well done. He did an excellent job writing that script, and made our day incredibly special because of it!