When TJ and I were planning our wedding ceremony, we used a lot of books and websites to create a ceremony that reflected who we are. I'd like to attempt to help out others by posting our ceremony outline here. We tried to incorporate some traditions of a Hindu (Vedic) wedding, as well as those from American weddings that were important to us. Enjoy!
Stand By Me, Ben E. King
Here Comes the Sun, John Williams
We bless you that you may have a harmonious married life.
May your lives be filled with happiness and contentment.
May you fill others’ lives with happiness.
May you have good health.
May you have a long life.
May you have strong and healthy children.
May you be loving and caring parents.
May you be like the two wings of a bird.
May you be like the two oars of a boat.
May your lives be as bright as the sun.
May your lives be as gentle as the moon.
May your lives be as vibrant as the seas.
May you be strong and hold your heads high.
May you be united and face the world together.
On Marriage, Kahlil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Husband and Wife, Manu (Indian sage)
He is Vishnu, the Preserver,
She is Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.
She is Language, he is Thought.
She is Prudence, he is Law.
He is Reason, she is Sense.
She is Duty, he is Right.
He is Author, she is Work.
He is Patience, she is Peace.
He is Will, she is Wish.
He is Melody, she is Note.
He is Fuel, she is Fire.
She is Glory, he is Sun.
She is Motion, he is Wind.
He is Ocean, she is Shore.
He is Day, she is Night.
He is Lamp, she is Light.
He is Battle, she is Might.
He is Tree, she is Vine.
He is Music, she is Rhyme.
He is Justice, she is Truth.
He is Channel, she is Stream.
She is Beauty, he is Strength.
She is Body, he is Soul.
EXCHANGE OF VOWS
I, Anandi, take you, T.J.,
to be my husband,
secure in the knowledge
that you will be
my constant friend,
my faithful partner in life,
and my one true love.
On this special day,
I give to you
in the presence of God
and our family and friends
my sacred promise
to stay by your side
in sickness and in health,
in joy and in sorrow,
through the good times and the bad.
I promise to love you without reservation,
comfort you in times of distress,
encourage you to achieve all of your goals,
laugh with you and cry with you,
grow with you in mind and spirit,
always be open and honest with you,
and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I, T.J., take you, Anandi
to be my wife... (same as above)
SAPTAPADI (SEVEN STEPS)
T.J. and Anandi will take seven steps together as they state the guiding principles for their marriage.
An: We will share in the responsibility of the home
TJ: We will fill our hearts with strength and courage
An: We will prosper and share our worldly goods
TJ: We will fill our hearts with love, peace, happiness, and spiritual values
An: We will be blessed with loving children
TJ: We will attain self-restraint and live long lives together
An: We will be best friends and eternal partners
EXCHANGE OF RINGS
The wedding ring is a symbol of the vows T.J. and Anandi have made to each other.
MANGAL SUTRA (MARRIAGE NECKLACE)
Anandi wears this necklace as a symbol of her wedding vows. T.J. and his sister Robin will tie knots in it to indicate their acceptance of Anandi into their family.
This ritual symbolizes the joining of two families into one. At the beginning of the ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom each light a candle, from which TJ and Anandi light their unity candle.
Please give us your blessings and support us in our marriage by saying “We Will”.
DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE
I Can See Clearly Now, Soul Asylum
Hopefully this will help someone out there. It was very important to us to have *one* wedding ceremony that blended our traditions and I didn't find a whole lot online. The site that inspired me most was Sonia & Keith's. We'll probably never meet in real life, but I was so happy to see a wedding where they had incorporated disparate traditions into one flowing ceremony.
Good luck to you if you're planning a wedding! I'm honestly glad to say I am done - no regrets here, no post-wedding depression. Just relief that the much-anticipated event went well and is now a happy memory...