A Ceremony Fit For Us

We designed a ceremony that addressed what is most important to us in a successful marriage. It’s a union of ourselves and our families. It’s a promise to passionately and considerately love one another. It’s about sacrifice and compromise. And it’s finding comfort and completion in one another.

And to make it even more personal, we asked Aunt V to officiate. She’s a former District Judge and the very first member of Nick’s family that I had the pleasure of meeting. Unfortunately, she no longer holds the credentials to “pronounce us husband and wife,” and so we called upon another Judge (who also has a loose connection to our family) to oversee the formalities.



Susan Savia provided the acoustic accompaniment to our procession. Nick and the groomsmen walked down the stairs to “Here Comes the Sun” (unfortunately, the sun didn’t cooperate), and the bridesmaids entered to “Twas a Day” (a Susan Savia original). My dad and I walked down the slippery stairs (with just one small stumble) to “Pachelbel Canon in D,” and I saw saw my groom for the first time (an indescribable and memorable moment).

Then Aunt V recited a beautiful welcome that spoke to our pasts and our futures. After she asked, “Who supports Emily in her marriage to Nicholas?” My father, mother, brother, and sister answered “We do” in unison. I felt strongly that I wanted all members of my family to verbalize their support, and it created a wonderful, consuming ambiance when they answered from all directions.

My dad told me he didn’t cry, but I think this photo proves otherwise.



Aunt V went on to talk about the spiritual and Earthly estate of marriage and said, “A good marriage must be created; in the art of marriage the little things are the big things.” Then Uncle J read “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Petersen. {Full Reading}


Next we joined hands and Aunt V recited a few lines from the hands blessing, including: “These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love one another all the days of your lives,” and “These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime.”


At this point, Aunt V turned over the podium to officiant #2, R.

He asked if we both willfully and joyfully enter into marriage, and we both answered loud and clear, “I do.”

Then it was our turn. We had written our own vows, and we read the verses back and forth. Nick even promised to love me “in sunshine and in rain” as he looked up at the rain falling from the sky, and it was one of my favorite moments of the day.

As we exchanged rings we said, “As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I give you this ring as a sign of my promises to you. With all that I am, and all that I have, with this ring I thee wed.”



Just after R pronounced us husband and wife and just before our first kiss, we took a few moments and listened to the beautiful lyrics of “We are Man and Wife,” written by Michelle Featherstone and performed by Susan Savia. We held each other and watched her play and just soaked it all in. (Thanks to suggestions from you ladies!)


After the first verse and chorus of “We are Man and Wife,” Susan faded out and R said, “You may now kiss the bride!” We kissed. We celebrated. And we left the garden as Mr. and Mrs.!



We had a few moments alone before our wedding party joined us on the patio for lots of hugs.



And then we took hands as husband and wife and walked back down the stairs to greet our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins, our friends. The closer we got to them, the more clearly we heard them. They were singing “All You Need Is Love” along with the acoustic guitar.

It was spontaneous and transcendent and one of the most significant moments of the day. Because, really, all you need is love. Love is all you need. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

{photos credit to Robert Winton unless otherwise noted}