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How to perform a handfasting ceremony by ULCS

Ceremony Scripts

Commonly, the structure of a wedding ceremony includes some or all of these elements: processional, creation of sacred space, welcoming of guests and partners, declaration of intent, charge, exchange of vows, exchange of rings (or other symbol of union), blessing/benediction, closing and presentation. Also included are hymns or special music, readings, and a shared meal (cakes and ale).

The following scripts are separated into sections, allowing the partners to pick and choose to create a ceremony that is meaningful to the partners.




OPENINGS, WELCOMINGS, GREETINGS

We stand before this company, on this beautiful (season) day, to witness the joining of __________ and __________.


Welcome are you, friends and family of this couple/these people. Today, before you and before the Gods, you shall witness a transformation as __________ and __________ share vows and become one.


Good friends, we come here today to witness the joyous celebration of the love between __________ and __________ , supporting them in their decision to be joined as one in the sight of this company and of the Gods.


Blessed be all who attend this glorious celebration, and blessed be those about to be united in the bonds of love.


Friends and loved ones, join with me in the celebration of the union between __________ and __________ as their lives’ paths now merge to become a singular road paved with love.


We gladly receive this company today, to share the joy as __________ and __________ are united in marriage.




CHARGE

If there is any here who can show just cause that these people should not be joined into the bonds of marriage, let them speak now, or keep their silence for all time.


You stand before this company and before the Gods, seeking to become one with each other. You have entered into this union with open eyes and full hearts. If either of you, or anyone present here today, know of any reason why these vows should not be made, speak now.


You are aware of the reality of the vows you are about to speak to one another; of the responsibility that comes when a partnership is created. If there is any reason within your hearts that this ceremony should not continue at this time, I charge you to voice it now, for marriage is based in honesty and trust, and only with those things can you successfully create a partnership.


HP/S: Swear you now, on this sacred blade, that there is no reason known to you that this union should not proceed.

Answer: I do so swear.


HP/S: Is there any reason known to you why this partnership should not be made?

Answer: There is none.


I remind you now of your commitment to one another and to the Rede. “An it harm none, do as thou wilt.” Thus runs the Rede, and such should be considered in your new life together. There will be times of hardship which you must endure, supporting one another with your love and strength and honesty. If you feel you are unable to fulfill your duties to your partner and your responsibility to uphold the Rede, now is the time to declare it.




DECLARATION OF INTENT

In Address to the Partners

HP/S: What is your name?

(Answer with legal and/or Craft name).

HP/S: And what is your desire?

Answer: To join with s/he whom I love.


HP/S: __________ , will you have this woman/man to be your partner, to live together in marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honour and keep her/him in sickness and in health, for as long as love may last?

Answer: I will.


HP/S: _________ and _________, you stand before me, the Gods, and this company, having desired the bond of marriage. Do you do this of your own free will, coming here today without coercion or pressure from other persons?

Answer: I do.


HP/S: Will you seek to do her/him harm?

Answer: I will not.

HP/S: And if harm is done, will you seek to repair it?

Answer: I will.

HP/S: Will you seek to be honest with her/him in all things?

Answer: I will.

HP/S: Will you support him/her in times of distress?

Answer: I will.

HP/S: Will you temper your words and actions with love?

Answer: I will.

HP/S: These things you have promised to your partner, before this company and the Gods. May you ever be mindful and strive to keep the vows you have spoken.

(These vows may be spoken with a tying of a cord or ribbon about the wrists of the enjoined after each answer, with the HP/S adding, “And so the bond is made” or “And to that promise you are bound.”)


HP/S: I have spoken, “for as long as love shall last” rather than “until death do you part” in the face of the reality that situations and people change. However, this does not mean rending your partnership at the first sign of trouble or disagreement, for you know that in relationships come difficult times. It is your responsibility within this partnership to strive for acceptable solutions, to work toward healing the hurts that will occur, and only after having exhausted all other avenues of possibility and not reaching a solution should such a bond be broken.


HP/S: The latin phrase “Vitam impendere vero” means to consecrate one’s life to truth, and so should truth be the meat of all your dealing within your marriage. Honesty, trust, communication, effort, understanding... all these are the building blocks of a firm marriage, and your solemn responsibility to one another. At this moment you stand at the gateway between your old life and your new. If you, for whatever reason, feel unable to step through that portal at this time, speak now.



In Address to the Guests

HP/S: Will all of you, present here and witnessing these vows, assist and support these (two) people in their union?

Answer: I will.


HP/S: As these (two) people are joined, so are your famlies united through them. It has been their decision to bind themselves by marriage, and their lives will be blessed and enriched by the support you give. Will you encourage and bless __________ and __________ in their union? Will you celebrate their marriage, standing beside them in rough times, yet not standing between them?

Answer: I will.

HP/S: So Mote It Be.


HP/S: You are friends and relatives of this couple, and thus you are an important part of their lives. Their interactions with you are coloured by your actions and words. You have a responsibility to one another and to this couple to be supportive, understanding, and honest, and on this day of their marriage do I charge you to temper all of your dealings with love. So Mote It Be. 


EXCHANGE OF VOWS

(Partners may speak the same vows, or choose individual vows)

I, __________, do take you, __________, as my partner and mate. Never will I seek to do you harm; always will I strive for your happiness and welfare. My love will be your treasure in the times when other riches fail to serve. My love will be your medicine in sickness as my hand tends your needs. My love will be your mirth when your heart is touched by sadness. My love will be your shining star through the darkest of nights. My love will be your banquet when life’s table seems empty. All this do I promise you with all the love that is in my heart. So mote it be. 

My love, now do I make my promises to you. I promise to share laughter in times of joy and wonder; to share tears when sorrow touches our lives; to share my dreams and hopes, that our love and minds may grow; to share compassion and understanding during times of frustration and anger; to share all that I have, and all that I am, for as long as love shall last.


I, _________, do take you, _________, as my (lawfully wedded) husband/wife. I vow to you, my love and partner, to be honest, understanding, compassionate, loving, and supportive, even as I ask these things of you. All this may the Gods grant us for as long as our love shall last


I, _________, do ask you, _________, to be my partner in marriage. I ask that you accept my strengths and my faults as I promise to accept yours; I ask for your support and strength when mine own does fail me, as I promise my strength and support in your times of need. I bring you, with best intention, my love, my understanding, all that I have and all that I am.


I, _________, do recognise in you, my love, the form of the God/dess, s/he who gives life; my perfect other half, the shining part of my spirit, holy and human and revered in every way. I promise to honour you, as human and holy, knowing all that I say and all that I do is said and done to the God/dess as well.


(Partners walk clockwise to each direction and recite vows)

Partner 1 (at the East): Here do I promise you communication, laughter, imagination, and hope.

Partner 2: And all this do I promise you.

Together: So mote it be.

Partner 2 (at the South): Here do I promise you love, passion, desire, and warmth.

Partner 1: And all this do I promise you.

Together: So mote it be.

Partner 1 (at the West): Here do I promise you healing, compassion, honesty, and understanding.

Partner 2: And all this do I promise you.

Together: So mote it be.

Partner 2 (at the North): Here do I promise you stability, solidity, dependability, and strength.

Partner 1: And all this do I promise you.

Together: So mote it be.


My loved one, I speak these words of promise to you. I vow, before the Gods and this company, to build with you a life and relationship that is healthy and loving. I promise you my honesty, my compassion, my hand in sharing the work. I promise to encourage your dreams and to listen to your worries. I promise to care for you in every way that I can.




BLESSING OF THE RINGS

By Air, by Fire, by Water, and by Earth do I bless and consecrate these rings. (The HP/S may present the rings to each direction/element).


These rings, a token of your love for one another, serve as a reminder that all in life is a cycle; all comes to pass and passes away and comes to pass again.

May the element of Air bless these rings. Air is at the beginning of all things,the direction of East, and the dawning of a new day. May your lives through the reminder of this ring be blessed with continuing renewal of love. (Waves rings through incense smoke)

May the element of Fire bless these rings. Fire is the passion within your love, the spark of love itself, the heat of anger, and the warmth of compassion. It is the direction of South, the heat of midday. May your lives through the reminder of this ring be blessed with continual warmth. (Passes the rings through flame)

May the element of Water bless these rings. Water nourishes and replenishes us, the waters of emotion and harmony pour vitality into our lives. It is the direction of West, the afternoon and evening. May your lives through the reminder of this ring be blessed with fulfillment and contentment. (Submerges the rings in water)

May the element of Earth bless these rings. All life springs from the earth and returns to the earth, the direction of North, the nighttime. May your lives through the reminder of this ring be blessed with strength and solidity. (Touches the rings to earth or a stone)


May the Lord and Lady bless these rings, the symbol of union, with happiness, wholeness, and love.


I consecrate these rings with the element of Air, the breath of life. I consecrate these rings with the element of Fire for the warmth of love. I consecrate these rings with the element of Water to wash them clean. I consecrate these rings with the element of Earth for solidity and stability.


Air for hopes and dreams; Fire for the spark of love; Water for harmony and healing; and Earth for strength. May these rings be so Blessed.




EXCHANGE OF RINGS

By the exchange of these tokens of your love for one another, so are your lives interlaced. What one experiences, so shall the other; as honesty and love build, so will your bond strengthen and grow.


The Circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. This shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin again, as the Gods so decree. These rings shall serve to remind you that life goes on, that these moments pass. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and it is love that turns the Wheel.


Partner 1: This ring I give to you is a symbol of our love, and of the promises I have spoken to you on this day. Partner 2: I shall wear this ring as a symbol of our love, being always mindful of the vows we have spoken on this day. (Vows may be repeated by the other partner)


Onto each other’s hand you now place a ring, the circlet symbolizing the wheel of life that turns ever onward. There is a lesson in both the hand and the wedding ring. The ring is worn on the fourth finger; in numerology, the number 4 stands for steadiness and endurance. The circle itself is all-encompassing and inclusive. Your hand opens to receive and to give, clenches in frustration and anger, holds and soothes in times of sadness, and clutches in fear. With this hand are cities and sand castles made, music played and poetry written; into these hands is life given, and from these hands is it taken. All the actions of your hand move in sympathetic rhythm with the wheel of life and with your destiny. Pleasure, pain, creation, destruction, giving and receiving are all within the power of your hand. As the ring symbolizes the cycle, so does the hand symbolize the power of actualization and creation. Let this ring remind you of the many turns of the Wheel through which you and your love shall pass, and may everything that is touched by your hand be touched also by love. So Mote It Be.


As you exchange your rings, the outward symbol of your commitment to one another, be reminded also of the Rede. That which you do effects the other. I charge you to be ever mindful of your actions and motives




BINDING

With a Handfasting cord:

As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound.


Woven into this cord, imbued into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the fashioning of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last.

In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another.


By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.


May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.


As any child discovers when they are learning to tie their own shoes, the first move is to cross the ends. The cross creates the Rune Gebo (X), which is the Rune of partnership and union. As your hands are bound by this cord, so is your partnership held by the symbol of this knot. May it be granted that what is done before the gods be not undone by man.


Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconcilliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows.



By Water:

As the water is poured and the two become one, the halves become invisible, indefinable, a true whole.


Take up now your vessels which represent your own persons. The water within them is as your own lives, similar yet separate. In the mixing of these fluids in the singular vessel of your union are your lives thus blended. See how the two, once separate, are a complete whole. So now are your lives.


Water to water, and soul to soul. Love binds and blends us all.


By Flame:

Let the fires of (y)our love for one another and the fire of (y)our spirits mingle here and create a singular flame.


By the bringing and sharing of light, display your intent; let the two fires of your spirits and love for one another merge as one.


Fires of passion and love, join here and become one, as do these people before you.


Each of you take a candle representing your singular selves. Let them meet and unite here at the center. Now extinguish your singular lights, and rejoice in the enduring flame of your love.


Take up and light the candles before you, representing your individual lives. Examine the flame, how it can warm, how it can energize, and how it can harm; fire is both creation and destruction. As you light the candle of your union, bring into it the fire of your love, the warmth of your compassion, and the spark of creativity. So Mote It Be.



By Blood

As the blood of your bodies joins and becomes one, so do your lives and spirits merge.


At the times when you give and receive emotional injuries, recall here how your blood has mingled and how these small hurts may quickly heal with compassion and trust. Bound by love, bound in spirit, and by your lifes blood, I charge you to be always mindful of your vows.


Flesh to flesh, essence to essence, water of life mingle here and join you as one.

or

My flesh to your flesh, my essence to your essence, water of life mingle here and join us as one.


As the waters of the world are one, and the light of (y)our spirits burn with one flame, so is the essence of (y)our bodies joined here.


As in the most ancient of rites, the giving of the essence of the self, the sacrifice of something vital, let these drops of blood be both given and received to strengthen the bond between you.




BLESSINGS AND BENEDICTIONS

May the Winds of communication blow ever between you; may the Fires of love sustain you; may the Waters of life heal and soothe you; and may the strength of the Earth bind and steady you throughout your time together.


Lord and Lady, in Your sight have these people promised themselves to one another, made vows before You and these people. Bless them in their new life together.


As the Air you breathe brings you life, may you always speak truthfully to one another. (For truly does each falsehood act as a little death).

As the Fire of love burns within you, may you always find a spark even in your anger. (For without Love, we are but weak shadows upon the stones).

As the Waters of life flow within your bodies, may your personal tides move in unison, and your emotions flow. (For Water contains life, sustains life, and without it we are but dry husks).

As the Earth grounds and steadies you, may you always remain strong for one another. (For strength adds to strength and builds upon itself).

All this do I charge you, for as long as Love shall last.


(Section in parentheses may be spoken by the HP/S or by the partners)


May the God and Goddess bless this union. May all who encounter it be blessed with love. May your lives be full and your hurts be few. So Mote It Be.


By the grace of the Lord and Lady has your love, through Their love, brought you together upon this day. May the Gods sustain and strengthen your bond, bless you and keep you, for as long as love shall last.


By the Winds that bring change, by the Fire of love, by the Seas of fortune and the strength of the Earth do I bless this union.




CLOSING AND PRESENTATION

You have witnessed the promises made by _________ and _________ one to another, and the exchange of the symbols of their union. They are now connected to experience together whatever life may bring them.


You have made your vows, one to the other, before the Gods and this company, and exchanged tokens of your love. By the power of your love, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife. (Or whatever titles are wished).


I am happy/honoured to present to you, (names).


In the binding of yourselves have you created life anew. Step forth, therefore, into that new life, and rejoice in your love.


Through the powers of Love, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady (or God and Goddess) do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!


Through the powers of Love between yourselves and this company, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady, do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!




SHARED MEAL (CAKES AND ALE)

As the seed is to the soil, and the fuel is to the fire, so is the wand/blade to the chalice -- partners in growth and nourishment. May we, by the blessing of this food and drink, nourish all with our love.


Lord and Lady, bless these cakes, that they may nourish our bodies and feed our souls. (Share cakes)

Lord and Lady, bless this drink, that none may thirst within our sight. (Share drink)

Let us always remember to share all that we have with those who have nothing.


We give thanks to the planters of seeds, workers of the soil, and harvesters of grain for these cakes that we now share. Their efforts, through the grace of our Mother Earth, sustain us. May all be blessed by the sharing of their gifts.

We give thanks to the workers of vines, harvesters of fruits, and makers of wine for this drink that we now share. Their efforts, through the grace of our Mother Earth, sustain us. May all be blessed by the sharing of their gifts.

(For a non-alcoholic beverage, bless the appropriate ingredients and people involved).

May you never hunger. (Share cakes).

May you never thirst. (Share drink).


© Lorelei Greenwood

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NOTE:The Universal Life Church does not engage in rendering accounting, legal or professional service advice. This information is provided "as is". The ULCS disclaim any loss or liability, either directly or indirectly as a consequence of applying the information presented herein, or in regard to the use of said information. No guarantee is given, either expressed or implied, in regard to the accuracy, or acceptability of the information.

 



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