30th April 2010. All done bar the thankyou notes now! I can’t say that things went without a hitch, because they didn’t; but the most important hitch went seamlessly, complete with Darrell having taking the reminder about turning off his cellphone on board and doing so just as we were about to start. Made a good icebreaker though, and set the smile tone for the rest of the ceremony.
Ah, the ceremony…Darrell wrote the bulk of it himself, and I added a few flourishes, making it a truly personalised rite. It invited and incorporated our absent family, tying our hands together with blessed ribbons, sharing our first meal and drink as newly-weds and we also jumped the broom. And, with some encouragement, a number of our guests did too! I thought I’d take a leaf from Darrell’s blogging today and include the ceremony here, for those of you interested…
Charlotte & Darrell 30 April 2010
*Celebrant’s introduction of self etc* Darrell & Charlotte have asked me to request you to please switch off your mobile phones and to please not take any photos till the end of the ceremony. They’d also like to explain that this is not your traditional kind of wedding ceremony, but patterned after an ancient Celtic ceremony known as a handfasting – from where we get the term ‘tying the knot’. And now let us begin…
*Music plays, we walk in.* (Amas Veritas, -‘Practical Magic’ Soundtrack)
As a civil celebrant, I am duly authorised by the law to solemnise your marriage. Before you, Darrell, and Charlotte, are married in the presence of these witnesses I must remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage. With full awareness, know that within this circle of friends and of family you are not only declaring to them your intent to be handfasted, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers. Know that the promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth. Do you Darrell & Charlotte enter into this union of your own free will?
Bride & Groom: We do.
Celebrant: I ask you all to bear witness as Charlotte & Darrell light this, the first of four candles to be lit during the ceremony. This candle’s flame is lit to represent the blessings & love of those who are no longer with us.
Bride & Groom * as candle is lit* Though they are not here with us, the light & warmth of their love touch us still.
Celebrant: I ask now that their parents come forward & light a candle from the flame Charlotte & Darrell just lit. Then please present it to your future son or daughter in law. These flames represent your blessings on this union. In past times these flames were lit from the family’s hearth, as a way of saying that there is always a place for you by our fire, that there will always be a lamp lit for you to find your way home.
Johanna: I welcome Darrell into our family. May our love and welcome support the bond between them. *lights Darrell’s candle*
Janet & Leon: We welcome Charlotte into our family. May our love and welcome support the bond between them. *lights Charlotte’s candle*
Celebrant: Your separate lives are symbolised by the separate candles you now hold. As you join their flames to make one flame, know that at that moment you are willingly joining your lives forever. Is that what you wish?
Bride & Groom: It is. *Bride & Groom light their candle from their individual ones*
Celebrant: Keep the light this candle sheds forever in your heart & it shall be a shining beacon of your love for all to see. A guiding light in times of darkness.
*Celebrant collects cord from the altar & stands before the bride & groom*
Celebrant: This cord is a symbol of the lives you have chosen to lead together. It has been woven by you; to symbolize the intertwining of your lives. Up until this moment you have been individual in thought, word and action. As these cords are tied together, your lives become intertwined.
*Bride & Groom, facing each other, cross hands while the celebrant ties their wrists.*
Celebrant: As the right hand is to the left hand, may you be forever one, sharing in all things, at home and abroad, in love and loyalty for all time to come.
Darrell, repeat after me: By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love, I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Darrell Undery, take you, Charlotte Verdonk, to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my wife.
Charlotte, repeat after me: By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love, I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Charlotte Verdonk, take you, Darrell Undery, to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my husband.
But you cannot always be physically joined *removes cord without untying it and lays it on the altar* and therefore the exchange of rings is one of the deepest symbols of a marriage. It is a constant reminder, a shared touch between life-mates. The circle is a symbol of the eternal. To give a ring to someone you love is to say that your love has no beginning and no end.
*Celebrant takes up the wand with the rings on it & holds it over the hands of the couple*
*Bride & Groom place their right hands upon the rings, groom’s hand over bride’s.*
Celebrant: Above you are the stars, below you is the earth. As time passes, remember; like a star your love is constant. Like the earth your love is strong. Be individuals within your relationship. Have understanding for each other, because storms will come, but they will go. Be free in the giving of affection and warmth. You have each other, now and always.
* Bride & Groom exchange rings.*
Celebrant: This bond is between you: though you are parted in mind or in body, there will be a call in the core of you, one to the other, which nothing and no one else can answer to. By the secrets of earth and water is this bond woven — unbreakable, irrevocable; by the laws that created fire and wind this call is set in you, in life and beyond.
I would now ask our witnesses to join us to sign the register…
*Paperwork signing* (Music: ‘The Calling’ by 2002)
Cake Cutting Ceremony
Celebrant: This simple feast will be the first meal shared by the couple & symbolically represents their promise to care & nurture each other for as long as they shall live.
*Bride & Groom move to cake table and he picks up the chalice, passing it to her as he speaks, after a sip, she hands it back with the same*
Groom: “May you never thirst.”
Bride: “May you never thirst.”
*Bride & groom cut the cake. Groom gives the bride a piece of the first slice, then she does same to him*
Groom: “May you never hunger.”
Bride: “May you never hunger.”
*The cake is then whisked off to be sliced for serving*
Celebrant: Starting a new life with another person does require a leap of faith. But by taking the leap, the individuals make a gesture of dedication to working together through their lives ahead. And with this in mind & for a bit of pre-celebration entertainment we’ll have Darrell and Charlotte jump the broom.
(Music: ‘Concerning Hobbits’ – Lord of the Rings Soundtrack) *The two mothers take either end of the broom and raise/lower it, joking about how many grandchildren they want etc. until they lower it to about 2 inches off the floor*
*Bride & groom jump the broom.*
Celebrant: It is with much pleasure that I now, with the powers vested in me by the laws of this country & in the presence of those gathered here, do pronounce you man & wife. Darrell you may now kiss your bride!
Bride & Groom:
If everyone could help us out by taking their chair to the side of the room and then joining us for a group photo please… Then, join us in celebrating our handfasting!
There you have it. The handfasting on paper…or screen in this case. The ceremony was followed by a champagne and canapes reception with our friends and families, which lasted well into the evening before Darrell and I made our weary way upstairs at The Imperial Hotel for much needed rest! We got up to our room to find a bottle of champagne waiting, as well as a couple of choc cupcakes – much needed on a day where food was low on our consideration list. Darrell managed to unlace my gown relatively easily, and I found all 50 bobby pins in my hairstyle, so all told, it was a good end to the day….well, maybe the snoring noises were more the good end…