The Ceremony

Readings

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, seen centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But to see the way that mankind loves! I mean, you could search the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable... and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and...what I'm trying to say is... I think I love you! My heart...it feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like...it doesn't belong to me any more, it belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange. No gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.

Union by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with "When we're married", and continued with "I will" and "you will" and "we will" - those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe" - and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed - well I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another - acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you two. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this - is my husband, this - is my wife.

Andy's Vows

I promise to love you with all my heart, to treat you the way you want to be treated and to respect you as my equal.

I promise you fidelity, forgiveness, friendship and frivolity.

I promise to do something every day that makes you smile.

I promise to do all I can to help you achieve your goals, and whatever it takes to help you through the hardships.

I promise to listen to both what you say, and what you don't say, and to always share what is on my mind.

I promise to always let you bring one more book onto the plane, to never leave you behind in Halo and to try to appreciate that there are more than five colours of paint.

Whatever the future holds I will hold your hand and stand by you for the rest of our days. Let's grow old together.

Laura's vows

I promise to love you with all my heart, to treat you the way you want to be treated and to respect you as my equal.

I promise you fidelity, forgiveness, friendship. And rock cakes.

The day you hid handmade flowers in a box of cereal for me made me realise just how lucky I was to be with you, so I promise to do something every day that makes you smile.

I promise to do all I can to help you achieve your goals, and whatever it takes to help you through the hardships.

I promise to listen to both what you say, and what you don't say, and to always share what's on my mind.

I will endeavour not to take for granted all the wonderful changes, that knowing and loving you makes to my life.

I will endeavour to pack fewer shoes.

I will listen to you when you explain the Universe to me, I will love you that bit more when you explain it with salt and pepper pots.

I promise that you will always be my family. You are part of who I am, and that can't ever be undone.

Whatever the future holds I will hold your hand and stand by you for the rest of our days. Let's grow old together.

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