Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crafting the Ceremony

In the past year, I've been to two amazingly beautiful non-religious ceremonies. I loved how personal they were. Having a non-religious ceremony can open the door to so many possibilities where the couples love can really shine through. I've seen it done through non-traditional readings, song choices and vows.

In the Catholic Church, you just don't have as many options. You need to pick a reading from the old testament, a reading from the new testament, a reading from the gospel, and catholic hymns. The one place we have been able to personalize is in the prayers of the faithful. Because we have to choose from approved lists, it makes for less personalization. I don't want this to sound negative against the Catholic Church because we chose to get married in the church knowing this. Having our ceremony in the church was our top priority and meant more to us than having the option of total personalization. It actually means a lot to me to follow my church's traditions and repeat the same vows that many others have used before. I don't want to take the ceremony lightly. While I want the ceremony to be about our faith, I want it to also represent us as a couple.

When it came time to choose the reading from the Old Testament, I struggled with many of the readings in the Old Testament related to men and women. I ended up finding a reading from the book of Ruth. This one really spoke to me. When you first read it, you would think it is about a couple, but it is actually the story of Ruth. Ruth and her sister in-law both lost their husbands. Their mother in-law, Naomi, tells them to go on with thier lives, she tells them to go back to their families and remarry. But Ruth decides to stay with her mother in law and helps support her. Although it is not a reading related to a couple's love, I think it fits perfectly for a wedding, as we also want to showcase our love for family. We're joining both of our families on the day we wed. Even though Ruth's husband was gone, she still saw Naomi as her family and wouldn't leave her side.

A reading from the book of Ruth 1:16-17
Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you, For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me.

Our reading from the New Testament was an obvious choice. I've heard many people say it's over used and such an obvious choice, but I just love it. I always knew we'd have the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians read at our wedding. I think the passage just embodies the meaning of love.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 12:31–13:8a
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
The word of the Lord.

For our gospel reading, we chose a piece from the book of Mark. I chose this reading because the emphasis of two people joinging together. It seems appropriate for a wedding reading.

A reading from the book of Mark 10: 6-9
Jesus said to those around him:
“From the beginning of creation,
’God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.’
So they are no longer two,
but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together,
let no one separate.”

Last came the prayer's of the faithful. I've heard that some churchs have guidelines on what should be said during these, but we weren't given any guidelines through our church. We chose this area to make things a little more personal. We wanted to include a prayer for our marriage, a prayer for our friends who also are preapring for marriage, a prayer for our parents, a prayer for friends and family who couldn't make it and those who attended, and a final prayer which sort of thanks every one for their love and support.

Prayer's of the Faithful
- We pray that the love of Mr. and Mrs. Newport may grow deeper each day and may that love strengthen and comfort them on their journey through life together. That they and all married couples may always cherish their special love by being each others best friends and partners, we pray to the Lord.
All: Lord hear our prayer.
- For those preparing to wed, we pray to the Lord.
All: Lord hear our prayer.
-For the parents of Mr. and Mrs. Newport whose examples and guidance have formed the foundation upon which they will build their life together, we pray to the Lord.
All: Lord hear our prayer.
- For all those unable to attend today but are with us in spirit, we pray. For the safe return of everyone who has traveled to be here today, we pray to the Lord.
All: Lord hear our prayer.
-For the family and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Newport, we thank them for their help, support and kindness in helping them prepare for their special day. We pray to the Lord.
All: Lord hear our prayer.

Did you spend a lot of time finding the right words for your ceremony? Were your readings religious or did you do something more personal?


Nicole-Lynn said...

I haven't even started looking, but I'm sure I'll spend a good portion of time on that part. Your ceremony wording was wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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