This is the text that we used for our wedding ceremony. Since we did our parts from memory, there may be slight differences between this text and what was actually spoken at the wedding.
We wrote the ceremony ourselves, but we took a lot of stuff from various sources. We also took out a lot, as we did not want religious references in our ceremony, and there are vows we did not like at all. Anything about "not being complete without the other" or "joining two lives into one" was right out. "You may kiss the bride" didn't sit well either, because of its implication that the bride is property that the groom is entitled to, so we changed it.
Each of us wrote our own ring-giving texts; the rest was a collaborative effort.
Herald: Hear and attend! Gather in the living room, one and all.
<music cue 1: fanfare>
Jack Page: Friends, we are gathered here to celebrate the beginning of a new year, as we do every year. But this year, we have also been invited for a special reason. Our hosts ask you to witness our ceremony with your own senses; let it be recorded in your minds and hearts, and not with mechanical devices.
Mark Dulcey and Marian Walke: please come forward.
<music cue 2: pavane. M&M enter>
Jack: We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. As is written in the Song of Songs:
"My beloved is mine
and I am his;
Set me as a seal upon your heart
as a seal upon your arm;
For love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it."
<song: sung by Charles Dulcey Sr.>
Drink to me only with thine
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
<question of intent>
Do you, Mark, take Marian to be your wife, to love, comfort, and cherish? <Mark: I do.>
Do you, Marian, take Mark to be your husband, to love, comfort, and cherish? <Marian: I do.>
Mark and Marian, prompted by Jack: I will stand with you as we meet the joys and challenges of life. I will share this life with you as your lover and as your best friend. Together, we will maintain a home that surrounds our family and friends with laughter, warmth, and love. This is my solemn vow.
<exchange of rings>
Mark: This ring, that I offer you as a symbol of our marriage, reads "En Bien Emer". It's a phrase in old French that has no direct translation into modern English, and that's fitting; love doesn't always translate well into words. It can be interpreted as "To Encircle with Love"; that's fitting, too. In our years together, you have taught me much about love, and how it encircles, not just you and me, but everything in our lives. Love expands to make room in our hearts for the people who touch our lives, and to make our home a warm and welcoming place. I am honored that this token of our love will encircle your finger, as a reminder of my love that will surround you wherever you go.
Marian: Love, I offer you this ring. Let it be to you and to me and to all the world a symbol of our marriage. This is not the start of a new life, but a continuation of our intertwined lives. It's a love that probably never should have begun and never should have lasted. There are great differences in our backgrounds and upbringing and our ages that should have been insurmountable. Yet we love.
Mark: We all must love where the lightning strikes, Marian: and not where we would choose. Mark: But I'm glad it's you, my love. M&M: I'm glad it's you.
<making it official!>
Jack: Mark and Marian have pledged their love and commitment to each other before these witnesses. Therefore, by the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I pronounce they are husband and wife.
Congratulations! You may kiss.
<music cue 3: finale of 1812 Overture>
The next section wasn't in the original script. I (Mark) realized about a day before the ceremony that I couldn't use the Sturgeon quote that was in our ceremony without saying something more. I'm writing this from memory, as it was not written out before the ceremony.
"We all must love where the lightning strikes, and not where we would choose." The science fiction fans among you will recognize the words of Theodore Sturgeon; the rest of you should rush out and read as much of his work as you can find. I am glad that we could celebrate our love in this marriage, and I am honored that all of you were here to share our happy occasion. But I am also sad that some of our friends, because of who they love, cannot celebrate their love in the same way. I ask all of you to work toward making a world where everyone may share the joy of their love. Thank you.
Postscript on the above: The quote is from Sturgeon's story The World Well Lost, first published in 1953! Both Marian and I were hit hard by the story when we first read it (her when it was published, me in the early 70s when I arrived at MIT and read a lot of stuff); when she told me she wanted to use it in the ceremony, I insisted that we had to say it together. Trufans will notice that we took slight liberties with the text; I am confident that Ted, wherever he may be now, will forgive us. Read the story, and you'll understand why I had to say what I said.