We had the distinct pleasure to be the first couple married by our good friend Ray Crosby, who decided in college to pay $40 online to become ordained as a minister in the Universal Church of Light. It was a joke back then, but we thought he would do a great job so we asked him to be our guy. He exceeded all of our expectations. (He's available for weddings in the SoCal area - get in touch with us if you're interested.)

Below is the ceremony that Ellen and I wrote and Ray added a few things onto and put on the finishing touches.

* * *

Welcome friends, family, and loved ones.  We are gathered here on this beautiful Labor Day weekend to celebrate Mark and Ellen’s love.  It’s no coincidence that they chose this weekend for this important day.  Although they’d known each other for almost a year through mutual friends and similar involvements at LMU, it was a sunny Labor Day weekend four years ago when their relationship began in earnest.  Now, there’s still an open discrepancy between the two of them as to whether or not it was a real date and they’ll probably tell you different stories to this day—but the indisputable fact is that Ellen and Mark ended up spending their first alone time together at the beach during Labor Day weekend, 2005.  Apparently, it was supposed to be a group trip, but their roommates, recognizing the potential chemistry between them, conveniently found reasons to bail on the outing and give the two some time together.  And what a fortunate circumstance it turned out to be!

Ellen knew right away that her beach mate was a nice guy, had a great sense of humor, and was taller than she was (which is a real plus when you’re 5’9”), but she soon observed the deeper character traits that would cement her bond with Mark—his honesty, his playfully grumpy wit, his questioning spirit and the way he could make her ask herself difficult questions, his practicality mixed with an unparalleled lust for life. 

Of course, Mark thought that Ellen was a total babe and a sweetheart from the beginning, but when he found out how well she could blend high and low culture—world travel and a knowledge of the classics coupled with a mastery of potato launching—and, most importantly, when he realized that she was a receptive audience who would laugh at all of his jokes and shoot them back at him just as quickly, he was hooked.

So here we are four years later, to celebrate the wedding of Ellen and Mark, the symbolic culmination of their stories, both individually and together, up to this point, and the beginning of a glorious new chapter in their lives as husband and wife.

Ellen and Mark are excited that all of you have traveled from near and far to be here with them to celebrate this wonderful event and they thank you for your presence here today, as well as for the years of love and support leading up to today.  You’ve all been influential in shaping them into the man and woman they have become, and they now ask for your blessing, encouragement, and lifelong support, for their decision to be married. 

Though Ellen and Mark are grateful to everyone here, they wanted me to say a special thank you to their parents, Dick & Lila Krause and Dave & Michelle Lehman. Each of you has provided a rich background of guidance about living life honestly, about the power of love, about the meaning of commitment, and about the limitless joyful possibilities in marriage. 

All of you invited here to witness Ellen and Mark's wedding ceremony and to celebrate with them today have played a part in their pasts and will play your part in their marriage too. There are only two official witnesses at a wedding but each and every person here today will witness the words that they will speak to one another and the vows that they will make. You should take good care to remember these words for a marriage needs the help of a community, of friends and family who will be there when needed and will do all that they can during hard times to stand by Ellen and Mark and offer their support to them and the new family that they will create. May you always do that which is within your power to support the union that will be made here today and to nurture the bond between these two people whom you love. 

In the spirit of community, at this time Ellen and Mark would like to invite Dave Lehman, Mark's father and Ellen's soon-to-be father-in-law, as well as a card-carrying deacon in the Catholic church, to say a short blessing. 
The asking for and giving of blessings are a part of us as human beings; a practice that crosses all cultures and faiths. We ask for the favor of God, whoever we perceive that to be and we ask for and give blessings to each other. When we give our blessing to another we are pledging our favor; our love and support. And so, as a sign of our blessing Mark and Ellen and asking God for God’s blessing I ask you to raise your hands with me.
Good and gracious God, we thank you for your presence here today in the beauty of this day and the glory of this, your outdoor cathedral.
We ask your blessing for Ellen and Mark as they begin today the journey of their married life together. As they express their love and commitment and so join together as one, we also pledge our love and support to strengthen and encourage this commitment.
Holy God we pray in particular for three blessings:
First, the blessing of selfless, self-sacrificing love. May Mark and Ellen always desire the best for each other and as much as humanly possible, put the needs of the other before their own. May they always remember that marriage is not a 50/50 giving but 100/100 percent giving of one to the other, holding nothing back.
Second, the blessing of forgiveness. In the face of any fault or wrong, may they endeavor to ask for and receive forgiveness from each other and be able to forgive themselves. A very wise person once said: “Marriage is the union of 2 forgivers”. And forgiveness is the key to a long and happy marriage.
And last and probably most important, we ask for the blessing of laughter and humor; being able to laugh at life, at yourselves and each other- even in life’s difficulties. Mark and Ellen you have shown this ability in your relationship. May your new life together be filled with joy and laughter, for life is too important to be taken too seriously.
Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer and we all confirm our favor and love to Ellen and Mark by saying- “Amen”
Now let’s try that again: And the people all said? AMEN!!
For ages, people from all cultures, religions and societies have gathered among friends and families to celebrate their love for one another and their commitment to each other. Every culture, religion and society has symbols and rituals to celebrate marriage - from the Japanese tea ceremony to the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass - a rich tapestry of traditions from around the world combine to symbolize the meaning of marriage. And today we should try to remember that a wedding is a symbol, a beautiful, heartfelt and meaningful symbol but a symbol nonetheless. This ceremony is not magic, it will not create a relationship that does not already exist and has not already been celebrated in all the commitments Ellen and Mark have made to each other, both large and small, in the days since they first met and recognized their connection to one another. It is a symbol of how far they have come together and a symbol of the promise that they will make to each other to continue to live their lives together and to love each other solely and above all others.

Mark, please repeat after me:

I, Mark,   take you, Ellen,   to be my wife,   to have and to hold you,   to honor you,   to treasure you,   to be at your side in sorrow and in joy,   in the good times, and in the bad,    and to love and cherish you always.    I promise you this from my heart,   for all the days of my life,   to infinity and beyond!

Ellen, your turn:

I, Ellen,   take you, Mark,    to be my husband,    to have and to hold you,   to honor you,   to treasure you,    to be at your side in sorrow and in joy,   in the good times, and in the bad,    and to love and cherish you always.    I promise you this from my heart,   for all the days of my life,   to infinity and beyond! 

(Ask Daniel and/or Amanda for the rings) 

Wedding rings are the oldest wedding tradition of all, outliving the white dress and even the “I do” by centuries. The first evidence of rings as marital symbols dates back some 5000 years ago to the deserts of North Africa; Egyptian art depicts wedding rings worn by both husband and wife. The circle shaped hieroglyph stood for eternity, and by no means a uniquely Egyptian symbology, the hole in the middle represented a gateway through which the wearer passed into a new partnership that endured even in the afterlife. They wore the rings as we do, on the third finger of the left hand, believing that it intersected a vein or artery that went straight to the heart.

Ellen and Mark, the promises which you have spoken to each other today are inscribed forever in your minds, in your hearts. But words are fleeting and so those who marry wear rings as visible, tangible symbols of their commitment and of their emotional and spiritual connection. And in the spirit of community and each person taking part in a marriage, Dick Krause, Ellen's father and Mark's soon-to-be father-in-law, helped them make their own wedding bands. 

Please repeat after me: 

I give you this ring    as a symbol of my love for you.    Let it be a reminder   that I am always by your side   and that I will always be    a faithful partner to you. 

Now, Ellen and Mark would like to invite Eric Krause, Ellen's brother and Mark's soon-to-be brother-in-law, to read a short poem that has special significance to Ellen's parents. It is an Apache wedding prayer that was read at Dick and Lila Krause's wedding 31 years ago.

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth. 

By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may take your first kiss as a married couple.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Ellen Lehman.

No comments:

Post a Comment