There are powerful moments in the life of a teacher; last Friday was one of them…

 

“Who gives this bride to be married today?”

 

I was nervous as hell. A favorite ex-student had asked me six months ago if I would marry he and his girlfriend, now here we were at Kenwood Ranch and it was really happening.

 

“Please be seated.

 

I’d like to welcome you all to this beautiful setting and ask that you take a deep breath and take in the beauty and significance of this moment.”

 

The wedding planner had given me an outline of what to say but I spent a whole lot of time making the experience as personal as possible for the bride and groom.

 

“Also, the photographer will be taking plenty of pictures so please put your phones away and share in this experience.”

 

I was going to make a joke about how telling people to put their phones away is just like being in the classroom but it’s not about me.

 

“Love conquers all. Wind, rain, snow, power outages, none of that matters as we celebrate H and C who have chosen you to share this day with them because of what you mean in their lives.”

 

The power came back on Thursday night at the rehearsal dinner, we were prepared to use generators and the bride and groom were surprisingly calm about this development.

 

“C and H, today you are making promises to dedicate yourselves completely to each other. In body and mind you are making this commitment in front of friends and loved ones in this beautiful environment on this beautiful day. It is a commitment of choice, one that will provide a lifetime of comfort and support.”

 

I have two personal rules, which I did not include. 1) Always marry up and 2) Get married once. Again, it’s not about me.

 

“Marriage is not for the weak. It can and should include difficult decisions as two people grow and share together. It requires compromise and acceptance but also an understanding that each person brings a unique vision to the table and that vision should be cherished. C, your grandparents are going strong on year 51 together so you have a pretty high bar to shoot for.”

 

I had met the grandparents the night before and decided to include this in the ceremony.

 

“As you grow and develop together, be aware of your differences. You love each other very deeply or else you would not be standing here today. Also, learn from each other. Don’t try and turn the other person into something they are not. But rather appreciate their uniqueness. Don’t try to make an apple into an orange, remember you fell in love with the apple.  Let C’s favorite phrase, “I trust you honey” become a philosophy you both share.”

 

I have to remind my wife often that she fell in love with an apple.

 

“Before exchanging vows, we would like to invite superstar teacher Shireen Ellis to say a few words.

 

Thanks you Shireen. I know you feel the same sense of pride and appreciation for being able to share in this moment.”

 

Pride and appreciation, so true.

 

“And now C and H would like to share their vows.”

 

This is always the best part of the ceremony because it is the two of them in their own words sharing personal feelings. I have no memory of what was said but I knew it would be beautiful.

 

“Beautiful.

 

The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond, which unites two hearts in partnership.”

 

This was the biggest physical challenge of the ceremony, as I had to juggle two ring boxes, my glasses, the portfolio that held the vows, and a microphone that I passed to the bride and groom. No, I didn’t drop anything…

 

 

“C, please repeat after me.

I C B take you H D to be my loving wife…

My partner in life and my one true love…

I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow and forever…

I will trust you and honor you…

I will laugh with you and cry with you…

Through the best and the worst…

Through the difficult and the easy…

Whatever may come I will always be there…

As I have given you my hand to hold…

So I give you my life to keep…

And with this ring I take you as my wife for as long as we both shall live.

 

And H please repeat,

I H D take you C B to be my loving husband…

My partner in life and my one true love…

I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow and forever…

I will trust you and honor you…

I will laugh with you and cry with you…

Through the best and the worst…

Through the difficult and the easy…

Whatever may come, I will always be there…

As I have given you my hand to hold…

So I give you my life to keep…

And with this ring, I take you as my husband for as long as we both shall live.

 

Life is short. It seems long right now but one day you will want nothing more than more time together. Cherish every second, especially now that you have each other to share those seconds with. Set goals together and know that failure is learning and the key to success is to keep smiling and moving forward.”

 

OK, I put a few Walt-isms in the speech, couldn’t help myself.

 

“C and H, today you are making a promise to learn and grow together. It will take faith to go forward without knowing exactly what the future will bring. And it will take commitment to hold true to the journey you both have committed to today. I wish you both all the joy and happiness life can bring.

 

By the power vested in me and witnessed by these loved and cherished friends and family I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

 

For $32 bucks and about 10 minutes of your time you too can become a minister of the Universal Life Church.  

 

“You may kiss the bride.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Mr. and Mrs. C B.”

 

Ta Da, cue the music, pop the champagne! I didn’t pass out or ruin the ceremony.

 

Love conquers all.

 

 

 

 

(Visited 269 times, 1 visits today)