You may have seen my recent blog about sample wedding and handfasting ceremonies. (Thanks for showing up again, then!) I promised also to show you some typical ceremonies that I might offer for Vow Renewals and Funerals. I shall be true to my word, as I hope you’d expect.
I’m a Civil Celebrant, so I create and conduct tailor-made ceremonies. That means that there’s no such thing as “typical”, actually. And I’m not now taking into account whether you want religious or humanist, or something in between! Nonetheless, I trust this will give you at least a flavour of what you might expect.
Rings are symbolic of the completed bond. The ring is without a beginning or end the ring goes on forever.
Circles of life, circles of love, these rings are given and received as a token of continuous never- ending love and devotion. They are an outward symbol of your inward promise that each of you have made to one another.
D., take C.’s hand… touch the ring that you have given to your Bride as the lasting symbol of your love.
Repeat after me, D: C., with this ring, I promise to continue to grow with you, to build our love, to speak openly and honestly, to listen to you, and to love and cherish you now and forever. This ring serves as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity.
C., take D.’s hand… touch the ring that you have given to your Groom as the lasting symbol of your love.
Repeat after me, C.: D., with this ring, I promise to continue to grow with you, to build our love, to speak openly and honestly, to listen to you, and to love and cherish you now and forever. This ring serves as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity.
“This Unity Candle is a symbol of the marriage, representing the two becoming one
Having recited their vows, the couple will now light each of the individual candles and jointly light the Unity Candle as a symbol of their recommitment to each other.
As C. and D. light the Unity Candle from their individual candles, they combine their own flames into one. As each candle may light another without diminishing its own light, so may two join together without diminishing each other. Marriage is a partnership where each may give of themselves, without losing that which makes each one unique.”
(Name’s) earthly journey has ended (too soon) and yet we know that all that lives must die. Nothing prepares us for days like today because we are never ready to lose someone we love.
Grief is ultimately the price we pay for love. You know that the light of the most distant star continues to reach the earth long after the star itself has gone out, so (name’s) light and love will continue to shine in your hearts. This light never goes out because love lives in our hearts and love never dies.
But although we mourn a life that has ended prematurely, we are mourning a full life. Wherever a life finishes, there it is complete. Its value lies not in its length but in the use that is made of it. A person may live into extreme old age, and yet have lived very little. It was Abraham Lincoln who said “It’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.” There was certainly plenty of life in (name’s) years and we only have to look around this chapel to see the impact that he/she had on so many people.
And it’s important that our recollections of him/her, even today, are not unduly coloured by the deep sadness we feel at this time. Of course we shall grieve, of course we can’t avoid the sense of injustice, that one we cared about should have been snatched from us. But we owe it to (name’s) memory and everything he/she meant to us to honour and celebrate his/her life, to focus on the positive reminiscences, to recapture some of those things that made him/her the unique and special person he/she was, and to smile as we remember him/her. The character, humour and individuality that were so much a feature of (name’s) life will live on in the memories of friends and family much longer than the acute sadness we are feeling at his/her passing.
There are stars up above,
So far away we only see their light
Long, long after the star itself is gone.
And so it is with people that we loved –
Their memories keep shining ever brightly
Though their time with us is done.
But the stars that light up the darkest night,
These are the lights that guide us.
As we live our days, these are the ways we remember.
So just an idea, perhaps, of what we can put together for you. If you would like to find out more, please contact me on 07931 538487 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to being able to help you further.