Friends, we are gathered here to witness and to celebrate the marriage of BRIDE and GROOM. We have come to be with them and rejoice with them in making this important commitment. The essence of this commitment is the taking of another person in his or her entirety, as lover, companion and friend. It is a promise to share, forever, in one another's dreams for the future and in the joys and sorrows of the present. It is a firm and unshakeable vow to live life together, as long as life persists.
A wedding is not the time such a vow is made. BRIDE and GROOM made their decision to wed long before today, under circumstances far more intimate. Perhaps even they can not say exactly when it became inevitable that they would join their lives in matrimony. Surely the decision was made in their hearts before any promise crossed their lips.
The purpose of a wedding is to publicly declare this decision -- these vows already made. You have been invited to witness this declaration. You are their family. You are their closest friends. It is natural that BRIDE and GROOM should want to share with you the great joy that they feel in their love.
But you have been invited as more than mere spectators. A wedding is at once an intensely private and a fundamentally public affair. Just as is the product of a wedding, the family. The most private of institutions, the family is also a fundamental unit of community and civilization. A family's obligation is not only to itself, but also to the society to which it belongs. And society in turn, has it's obligations to the families that comprise it.
As BRIDE and GROOM's family and their most trusted friends, you have in the past helped to shape them. You have helped them to overcome life's various obstacles. They ask you to recognize them as a new family and to offer them the same support and friendship as they embark together as family on their married life. We are here today then, to celebrate the love which BRIDE and GROOM have for each other, and to give social recognition to their decision to accept each other totally and permanently. Into this state of marriage these two persons come now to be united.
PLEASE JOIN HANDS.
GROOM, do you take BRIDE to be the wife of your days, to love and to cherish, to honor and to comfort, in sickness and in health, in sorrow or in joy, to have and to hold from this day forward? If so, please answer, I DO.
BRIDE, do you take GROOM to be the husband of your days, to love and to cherish, to honor and to comfort, in sickness and in health, in sorrow or in joy, to have and to hold from this day forward? If so, please answer, I DO.
GROOM, what pledge do you offer in token of your vows?
As you place this ring, the symbol of your commitment in marriage on the third finger of BRIDE's left hand, please repeat after me: With this ring I wed you, and pledge my faithful love, for as long as my life shall last.
BRIDE, what pledge do you offer in token of your vows?
As you place this ring, the symbol of your commitment in marriage on the third finger of GROOM's left hand, please repeat after me: With this ring I wed you, and pledge my faithful love, for as long as my life shall last.
BRIDE and GROOM, having declared in the presence of these witnesses that you take one another as husband and wife, and having symbolized your marriage by the joining of hands and the giving and acceptance of rings, I now therefore, by the authority vested in me by the State of Wisconsin, declare in the presence of these witnesses that you are husband and wife.
Now you will feel no loneliness, for although you are two persons, there is only one life before you. May you know peace, joy, and love for all your days. Let me express to you both, warm, good wishes and congratulations of all who are here.
You may kiss the bride.