A Highland Fairy Tale: We Listen (Ceremony Part One)

All of a sudden it was time to begin our wedding ceremony and the most important part of the day.  (I’ve broken it up in two parts for your reading pleasure while still keeping everything in sequential order.)  All ceremony photos were taken in the beautiful atrium of our Embassy Suites hotel.

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We ended up taking the bones of a non-denominational Christian ceremony provided to us by Pastor P and made changes where we saw fit.  A little bit about Pastor P, she was my Pastor growing up in the Twin Cities and she guided me through my confirmation years ago when I was in 8th grade.  (Pastor P also officiated Sister Big Eyes’ wedding in June, another example of our shrendoring!)  We really enjoyed working with her and Mr. Sword was able to get to know her through our couple’s counseling sessions and many wedding planning visits to Minnesota.

Regarding the religious aspects: full disclosure here, my husband identifies as agnostic, meaning he’s open to religion and higher powers but desires more scientific proof.  The fact alone that I am a strong Christian while he is not AND we still make it work the way we do is one of the healthiest things about our relationship.  But that’s another post for a different type of blog!  🙂

And with that, I give you the first half of the Sword Ceremony:

Pastor P: Welcome friends and family. We are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the presence of this company to join together Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword in Holy Matrimony.

 Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a precious relationship, not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, thoughtfully and lovingly. Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword are standing before us today to make their commitment to one another.

 Let us hold them in our hearts and surround them with our love and affection; let us be with them in “Spirit” just as God is now present with us in Spirit to join them in marriage from this day forward.

Will you pray with me…

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O God, we are awed by the many meanings of this hour and are overjoyed by its promises. We pray that the spirit of trust, understanding and love may be with Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword through all the years that lie ahead of them.

Whatever trials and testing may come, may they trust each other wholly, for without such trust, marriage is in name only; may they strive to understand each other always, for without understanding there is neither acceptance nor forgiveness; may they truly love each with Your unconditional love, for this is what will make their marriage strong.

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As Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword build a new life together, may they find peace and contentment. May their times together be full of laughter and joy, and may the years ahead deal gently with them… and walking with each other one day at a time, may they find far more in life together than either of them would have found alone.

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Lord, bless this day and their lives forever, for we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together . . .

We chose to include the Lord’s Prayer using debts.  I actually struggled with how to go about including this prayer as I know many people who are either a different religion than myself (Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of Scotland, etc) or who are not religious at all.  In the end, the day is about us and I believe a marriage should include God, so we had the prayer. My other concern was starting it with “Our Father” because in my feminist hippie ways, I’ve really taken to my church’s way of excluding any and all gender specific language.  That said, I grew up saying, “Our Father,” so it was kept.

After the prayer everyone else was asked to sit and the parents stayed standing for the parental blessing:

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It is only fitting to include the parents of Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword in this time for they are those who raised these two and nurtured them and helped them to be the couple they are today. The love and warmth and faith they were given will continue to grow as they establish their own family. As their parents, they have you to thank for these roots that are strong and a hope that endures. So I ask you:

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Will you, now and always, from this day forward, promise to continue to support Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword with your love and care and prayers, upholding and strengthening their marriage. If so, answer, we will.  (We will.)

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AND NOW FOR THE READINGS!  One of the hardest decisions of the entire planning process, I’m not kidding.  Thank you again for all of your amazing ideas hive, it was really fun reading everything!  In the end we ended up going a very simple route with both readings:

Friend of the Bride J read this:

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Mrs. Sword asked me to give a short preface to how she chose this particular poem for their wedding ceremony. Mrs. Sword has been searching for THE perfect ceremony reading since she and Mr. Sword first got engaged.  The problem was she had quite a few stipulations… she wanted it to be unique, not something you’d hear at every wedding, she wanted it to have gender inclusive language, and she wanted it to be straightforward and concise.  After browsing the internet, combing through wedding blogs, and asking around for months, she started to think she’d never find anything quite right.

Then in January at her local Barnes and Noble, Mrs. Sword was perusing the Valentine’s Day themed children’s books when she found one that made her teary-eyed thinking about her favorite person.  And while it’s not the perfect reading (because she realized that didn’t exist) it’s the perfect reading for Mr. and Mrs. Sword.

You by Stephen Michael King.

The world is a colorful place-

yellow, red, blue, and all other colors.

The world is colored with big things, small things, and all sorts of things.

But the most colorful part of my world is… YOU.

The world is a musical place,

with high notes, low notes, and all the notes in between.

But the most musical part of my world is… YOU.

The world is an exciting place,

with ups, downs, around and arounds, and far, far aways.

But the most exciting place in my world

is with…

YOU.

While J was reading, I started crying.  It was such an intense feeling and the words really hit home.  MOH Big Eyes stepped in to dry my eyes while I clutched Mr. Sword’s hand.

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In between the two readings my beautiful and talented Sister/MOH sang a song I had picked out early on in our engagement. “Crazy Dreams” performed my Megan Hilty in the TV show Smash.

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Honor Attendant H played the lovely accompaniment on keyboard.  I’m lucky to know such talented people!

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“Crazy Dreams” couldn’t be more fitting for Mr. Sword and I.  It’s really, truly crazy that a girl from Minnesota would ever meet a guy from Scotland in a bar in Chicago of all places. Plus, its no surprise I love anything fairy tale- related!

I love this pic of Mom Sword watching Sister Big Eyes singing:

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Cousin of the Groom J read this:

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Scottish Wedding Prayer

Lord help us to remember when
we first met and the strong
love that grew between us.
To work that love into
practical things so that nothing
can divide us.
We ask for words both kind
and loving and hearts always
ready to ask forgiveness
as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our
marriage into your hands.

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A Scottish Wedding prayer, of course! Such a no-brainer when it finally dawned on me on how perfect this reading was for us.  Plus, Cousin J appreciated its short length.  🙂

Pastor P:

Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword have chosen for their scripture reading today a passage from the Old Testament, from Ecclesiastes chapter 4: verses 9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie down together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”

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(Picking a gender-neutral, inclusive, non-offensive, uplifting, wedding-related scripture from the Bible was extremely difficult.  But this one talks about a cord and hints to our handfasting later on.  It was perfect for us and maybe it can work for your ceremony too!)

After the scripture Pastor P went into her homily or message.  I’m not going to include it here for two reasons, 1) This post is already insanely long and 2) It’s personal to us and it won’t be much help in formulating a wedding ceremony for anyone else.

Part Two of the ceremony continues next with vows, the handfasting, and our first kiss as husband and wife!  🙂

Anyone surprised at our choice of readings?  What will you have read in your ceremony?

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!
Men in kilts!
Tiara and bouquet!
Becoming a bride!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!

Ceremony
People processing!
Bridal cry/laugh walk!

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