I started officiated at wedding ceremonies as a Justice of The Peace in the town of Fayston in Vermont’s Mad River Valley. When I was not re-elected as a JP one year, I continued to officiate as a minister of the Universal Life Church. I received the blessing of the Standards and Standing Committee of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ for bringing whatever a couple wants spiritually in their (typically outdoor) wedding ceremony. Over the first ten years I put together a scrapbook of wedding ceremonies where I officiated. I printed copies to lend to couples, along with a few pages of advice on how to approach writing your own wedding ceremony. I titled it Wedding Ceremony Anthology: Diverse Judeo-Christian Marriage Rituals. My wife who has also officiated at some weddings is my co-author. I have been JP or minister. I have been a rabbi with tallit and yamaka. I have chanted in Sanscrit, and sung in Latin. I have been the couple’s mouthpiece in so many lovely and funny ways. Shouting over a raging stream, reading their vows when tears blocked their vision, changing the mood from thee-and-thou to “may the force be with you”. It has been an honor. At times I have been a help in planning a ceremony at which someone else would officiate- an uncle who is a minister, a ceremony without an officiant, or another JP did the legal stuff. Sometimes the ceremony is followed by a jazz band, open bar, and three star meal. Sometimes it is chicken wings in the living room of the double-wide trailer. Sometimes it is just me and the couple, and sometimes it is nearly two hundred people. The PDFs below are a rough scan of that coffee-stained scrapbook, now copies of copies. I will try to at least clean up my couple of pages of advice- which couples tell me are helpful. Soon. The outline of a typical wedding is just there to jog your memory of weddings you have been to or seen in the movies. I hope YOUR wedding is YOURS, and not some pages out of a book, or what your parent wants, or what your future spouse wants. YOURS plural.
Wedding Ceremony Anthology: Diverse Judeo-Christian Marriage Rituals
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