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Wedding ceremony, blessings, and vows, from January 4, 2003

Vows and quotations chosen by Sean and Heather; ceremony arranged and conducted by the Rev. Daniel L. King.


Dearly beloved, we are here to celebrate the joining of Sean and Heather, who have been best friends for a long time over a long distance, but whose relationship has grown to become much more than friendship. Today they will publicly declare their love for each other in a sacred and profound commitment of love for life, as Heather has completed her long journey from Kentucky to make a new home here in Augusta with Sean.

In marriage, two persons turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a going forth, a bold step into the future; it is risking what we are for the sake of that we yet can be. Only by becoming vulnerable, by giving of oneself and by sharing with another, can the mysterious process of growth take place. Only in loyalty and devotion bestowed upon another can that which is eternal in life emerge and be known. Two among us, who have stood apart, come now in our presence to declare their love and to be united in marriage.

If life has meaning to us at all, it is because of love. It is Love which ennobles our human experience. The greatest gift bestowed to humanity is the gift of love between two persons. It is the basis for the wholeness and peace of family, and the only hope for peace among the peoples of the earth.

As the poet Kahlil Gibran has said, Love is a sacred mystery…
To those who love, it remains forever wordless…
Love is a night where candles burn in space,
Love is a dream beyond our reaching;
Love is a noon where all shepherds are at peace…
Love is an eventide, and a stillness, and a homecoming;
Love is a gentle sleep filled with a dream.

Sean and Heather, it is a great joy and pleasure for us to be present with you on this important day, to be sharing in your ceremony, and witnessing to the covenants and promises you are making to each other.

I must remind you that the vows you are about to repeat to each other belong entirely to you. The words which any of us speak have no magic in themselves, and nothing we say or do today can ultimately make your marriage endure with the beauty, fidelity, and joy which each of you deserve from your partner. Only you, by living with complete integrity and diligence can fulfill all of the best intentions of your vows and make them last.

So it is not to lofty words or institutions that we appeal at this hour of commitment, but rather to the resources which you each draw from, deep within your holy selves, the essence of the ultimate and the divine.

I ask you to grasp the hand of your beloved and look deep into her eyes:

In reaffirming the relationship we have been building together,
I, Sean, take you Heather, to be no other than yourself,
And promise to be your loyal and faithful husband,
Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don’t yet know,
With respect for your integrity
And faith in your abiding love, through all our years,
And in all that life shall bring us, I accept you as my wife.

In reaffirming the relationship we have been building together,
I, Heather, take you Sean, to be no other than yourself,
And promise to be your loyal and faithful wife,
Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don’t yet know,
With respect for your integrity
And faith in your abiding love, through all our years,
And in all that life shall bring us, I accept you as my husband.

Reid, as Sean’s dad, I understand you have a position of great responsibility as custodian of the rings. May I have them now to complete the ritual?

These rings are symbolic of your ultimate commitments, which from this day will have no beginning and no end. By the use of these rings you express in tangible and visible form the unbroken circle of your love, so that wherever you go, you will be reminded of the promises you have made to return to your shared life together. May these rings always call to mind both the freedom and the power of your love.

Sean, as you place this ring on the heart-finger of Heather’s hand, please repeat these words: I give you this ring to wear upon your hand as a symbol of our commitment and love.

Heather, as you place this ring on the heart-finger of Sean’s hand, please repeat these words: I give you this ring to wear upon your hand as a symbol of our commitment and love.

The writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh has written:
When you love someone, you cannot love them all the time in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It’s an impossibility, it’s even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist, in terror, its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

Sean and Heather, you have told all of your closest family and friends who have been able to gather here to share this moment of joy that you deeply love each other, that you wish to live together to affirm and deepen your relationship. By repeating your vows and exchanging rings, you have formed your own union in friendship, in respect for each other, and in profound love, so it is my honor to acknowledge and declare that you are, for all time, now joined as husband and wife, wife and husband, according to all the laws of this State. Would you care to seal your covenants with an embrace?

May that glory which rests on all who love rest upon you, and bless you and keep you, and fill you with happiness and a gracious spirit. Despite all changes of time and fortune, may all that is noble and true abound in your hearts, and abide with you, to give you strength in all your days together. Sean and Heather, believe in what is yours, believe in who you are, believe in the richness and the power of what lies in the depth you share. And go now in great happiness assured that all our hearts go with you both.

I present to this happy congregation, Heather and Sean Meadows. Please gather around them and give them your blessing.