Wedding Wednesday: Our Alaska Civil Ceremony – Part 1

Okay. The Boy and I have almost reached our two week anniversary and haven’t felt like killing each other one time! Score! By now, pretty much everyone in and around Tulle Nation knows about my dad’s cancer and The Boy and my impromptu civil ceremony in my home state of Alaska. And I just know that y’all are dying for details (I actually know this for a fact since I’ve been getting all your emails… I’M ON IT ALREADY!) so I’ll be using my next, um, three million Wedding Wednesdays to recap all the little things that we did for the civil ceremony-that-morphed-into-my-mom-and-sister’s-dream-wedding (that's no joke, people).

And, I hereby declare! There will be no sadness. We all know why The Boy and I got married so I’m not gonna delve into all that stuff anymore than I have to. From now on - it’s all puppies and Jell-O and glitter, y’all. Brace yourselves.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

Okay, so our ceremony was the thing that was most important to me from the very beginning of The Boy and my wedding planning. Like, ever since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was for my daddy to perform my wedding ceremony. So, when I was faced with getting married in a quickly planned ceremony in Alaska with my dad officiating or waiting for our previously planned May wedding on the off chance that he would be with us (and well enough) to officiate – the choice was obvious. Dad + Quick = Most Excellent. The problem came at about 11PM the evening before the ceremony when I realized that we had no ceremony for my dad to read.

Whoops. Um, must really do something about that.

So, I busted out the packet of stuff that the great state of Alaska had given us and read up on what exactly constituted a marriage ceremony in my home. And y’all wanna know what? It is pretty much the easiest thing EVER to get hitched in the ol’ 49th state. You don’t need rings, anyone can perform the ceremony, there’s no age limit for the witnesses, and the only thing that is required is that the couple agree to be married. Oh, and consummate – there’s a whole thingy about gittin’ it on, too! Here's some documentation on all that (iffin' y'all don't believe me):

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Enter my sister’s computer and the amazingness that is next to godliness – Google. I typed in the phrase “civil ceremony vows” and got a virtual smorgasbord of hits! I glanced through several options and ended up borrowing quite a bit from this website. I actually used the Christian Ceremony but altered it to remove all religious references (we elected to do a straight up civil ceremony since we have agreed to disagree when it comes to religion). I also added in two readings that I found and luuurved – my older sister read the first one and my mom read the second.

I also am one of those brides and added the emotional wording from The OffBeat Bride's Unplugged Wedding movement – for the record, no one seemed to mind a bit. Another thing that I did was add these secondary vows (from Elise’s wedding) during the ring exchange. I also added a little section for my dad (and The Boy’s close friend – he actually introduced us!) to share his thoughts about us as a couple.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

Since I had a bit of a difficult time finding a civil ceremony, I thought that I'd go ahead and post a download of our entire ceremony for Tulle Nation – just in case anyone wants to use it (or a portion of it). It’s in Word so that y’all can alter it as you see fit. Please enjoy. I’ve also included it in full after the jump.

Download Kiss My Tulle_OUR WEDDING VOWS 072211

Download FIRST READING 072211

Download SECOND READING 072211

Here's the vows in full:

Processional:

“Forever” – The Dropkick Murphys (from the album “The Best of Times”)

The Opening:

DAD: Friends and family, I invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.

A MOMENT.

DAD: We are gathered here today in the presence of friends and loved ones, to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes and blessings to Cris and The Boy. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife.

DAD: Who is it that escorts this woman to this man?

J: I do.

J IS SEATED.

DAD: Cris and The Boy, although life is a gift given to each of us as individuals, we also learn to live together in harmony. Love is a gift to us from our family and friends. Through these gifts of love we learn to ourselves to gift it back. Learning to love and live together is one of life's greatest challenges and is the shared goal of a married life.

DAD: Today is truly a glorious day as today both of you are blessed with the greatest of all gifts – the gift of abiding love and devotion. All present here today – and those here in heart – wish both of you all the joy, happiness, and success that the world has to offer.

FIRST READING:

DAD: We will now hear a reading from the bride’s sister, C.

C:

 

Spoken by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question; civil marriage enhances the "welfare of the community." It is a "social institution of the highest importance."

Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and who to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

The Vows:

DAD: In this sacred and joyful celebration, we ask every blessing of this moment; a confirmation of the wisdom of your choice; great happiness on the path that is set before you; discretion, kindness, and caring as you walk upon it, strength to live out your purpose, grace and peace through each step of your journey, and beloved family and friends to support you.

TURN TO CRIS.

DAD: Cris, do you take The Boy to be your husband, your constant friend, and your faithful partner from this day forward? Will you cherish your union and love him more each day than you did the day before? In the presence of your family and friends, do you offer your solemn vow to be his faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. Do you promise to love him unconditionally, to support him in his goals, to honor and respect him, and to laugh with him and cry with him? Will you trust him and respect him, regardless of the obstacles you may face together? Do you promise to love and support him through whatever life may bring you?

CRIS: I will.

TURN TO THE BOY.

DAD: The Boy, do you take Cris to be your wife, your constant friend, and your faithful partner from this day forward? Will you cherish your union and love her more each day than you did the day before? In the presence of your family and friends, do you offer your solemn vow to be her faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. Do you promise to love her unconditionally, to support her in her goals, to honor and respect her, and to laugh with her and cry with her? Will you trust her and respect her, regardless of the obstacles you may face together? Do you promise to love and support her through whatever life may bring you?

THE BOY: I will.

The Rings:

DAD: These are the rings that Cris and The Boy will wear for the rest of their lives and that express the love that they have for one another. Let us take a moment and send our prayers, our thoughts, and our love into these rings, so that as they wear them, they will carry our love with them as well.

A MOMENT.

DAD: May we have the rings?

WILLIS HANDS THE RINGS TO CRIS AND THE BOY.

CRIS HOLDS THE BOY’S LEFT HAND.

DAD: Cris, please repeat after me. The Boy, I take you to be my husband from this time onward…

CRIS: The Boy, I take you to be my husband from this time onward…

DAD: to join with you and to share all that is to come…

CRIS: to join with you and to share all that is to come…

DAD: to give and to receive…

CRIS: to give and to receive…

DAD: to speak and to listen…

CRIS: to speak and to listen…

DAD: to inspire and to respond…

CRIS: to inspire and to respond…

DAD: and in all circumstances of our life together…

CRIS: and in all circumstances of our life together…

DAD: to be loyal to you with my whole life and with my being.

CRIS: to be loyal to you with my whole life and with my being.

CRIS PLACES THE RING ON THE BOY’S FINGER.

THE BOY HOLDS CRIS’S LEFT HAND.

DAD: The Boy, lease repeat after me. Cris, I take you to be my wife from this time onward…

THE BOY: Cris, I take you to be my wife from this time onward…

DAD: to join with you and to share all that is to come…

THE BOY: to join with you and to share all that is to come…

DAD: to give and to receive…

THE BOY: to give and to receive…

DAD: to speak and to listen…

THE BOY: to speak and to listen…

DAD: to inspire and to respond…

THE BOY: to inspire and to respond…

DAD: and in all circumstances of our life together…

THE BOY: and in all circumstances of our life together…

DAD: to be loyal to you with my whole life and with my being.

THE BOY: to be loyal to you with my whole life and with my being.

THE BOY PLACES THE RING ON CRIS’S FINGER.

SECOND READING:

DAD:We will now hear a reading from the bride’s mother.

MOM:

 

"Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love" by Edmund O'Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life,
the best that two people can find and bring out in each other.
It offers opportunities for sharing and growth
that no other relationship can equal.
It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.

Within the circle of its love,
marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships.
A wife and a husband are each other's best friend,
confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic.
And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing,
and the love of the other may resemble
the tender caring of a parent or child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.
Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher,
commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly,
and passes away more quickly.

Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life
is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life,
new experiences, new ways of expressing
a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage,
they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer
than any spoken or written words.
Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people
who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

The Closing:

Dad’s thoughts (my dad used this time to speak about setting the two of us up and how great it was to marry his friend to his daughter).

DAD: Cris and The Boy, as the two of you have joined this marriage; I would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as unique individuals and that you respect the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions of one another. Be able to forgive, do not hold grudges, and live each day that you may share it together – as from this day forward you shall be each other's home, comfort, and refuge. May your marriage be strengthened by your love and respect.

The Declaration of Marriage:

DAD: By the power vested in me by the State of Alaska, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

DAD: You may now kiss.

CRIS AND THE BOY KISS.

DAD: Friends and family, may I now present to you – Cris and The Boy!

The Recessional:

“Marry You” – Bruno Mars

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund 

Tulle Nation, y’all still with me? If so, I hope that you enjoyed this little rundown of our civil ceremony. Do you have any questions for me? Do you know what your ceremony will be like? How did you source it? You know the drill – fire away in the comments.

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