Text for Sarzeau Wedding Ceremony

by Jamison Koehler on August 19, 2011

Congratulations to Daniel and Vincent on a beautiful wedding in Sarzeau, France.  My wife presided over the ceremony and, because she had to write down the words in advance so that they could be translated into French, I have the benefit of that text now.  The words are reproduced in their entirety below. 

While Susan may have been reaching a tad with her references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I should note that Daniel and Vincent were in fact legally married earlier this summer in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

While I used pseudonyms for Daniel and Vincent in earlier entries of this series on their wedding, they have given me permission to use their names and images on this blog. 

Opening Remarks

Welcome everyone.  My name is Susan Burke.  I am a friend of Daniel and Vincent’s and will be officiating the wedding.

Your presence here is significant.  You are the community that has — and will in the future — support the bond of love between Daniel and Vincent.

These two men are taking a special step – getting married with the blessings of the law and society.  Marriage is a fundamental right for all of us.  Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the right to marry whom they choose, and by doing so form a family.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court held that “the right to marry is not a privilege conferred by the State but is a fundamental right that is protected against unwarranted state interference.”

Marriage is thus not only a personal act of love but also a communal act – the transformation of a couple into a family; a family recognized and protected by the laws of society; a form of kinship that cannot be disregarded or ignored by societal institutions.

Your participation in this transformative event is critical.  You are the society, you are the community, and your presence here is an affirmation of support as Daniel and Vincent take the courageous step of transforming their personal love into a family.

Welcome and know that your support for this couple – including your journey here – is much appreciated.

The Ceremony

We have now reached the time for the official joining of Daniel and Vincent into the state of matrimony.

In July 1965, writing in the Atlantic magazine, Mignon McLaughlin said that a “successful marriage requires falling in love many time, always with the same person.”

We know with certainty that Daniel and Vincent will have a successful marriage, as they have spent the past 26 years falling in love, many times, always with each other.  Their love for each other is understandable as each is such a lovable human being.

Vincent has the kindest soul.  His gentleness, his compassion, his caring manner – these traits warm the heart of everyone who meets him.  When you are with Vincent, you can see through his compassionate eyes the inherent goodness in everyone.  It is no wonder Daniel loves him so dearly.

Daniel is blessed with boundless energy, exuberance, and passion.  His talented commitment to social justice has no limit, no boundaries.  When you are with Daniel, you feel it is possible to change the world – or at least have a great time trying to do so.  It is no wonder that Vincent loves Daniel so dearly.

These two special men – joined together for the past 26 years – bring joy and love to all of us fortunate to spend time with them.

As Martin Luther wrote in his book Table Talk, there is “no more lovely and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.”  So let us now transform this 26-year relationship of love and mutual respect into a marriage.

Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending parties.

Do you, Daniel, freely and fully consent to taking Vincent as your spouse?

Do you, Vincent, freely and fully consent to taking Daniel as your spouse?

Do you, Daniel, take Vincent to be your lawful spouse to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Do you, Vincent, take Daniel to be your lawful spouse to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Let us now have the ceremony of rings.  May these rings be a symbol of true faith in each other, and always remind Daniel and Vincent of their love for each other.

Daniel “with this ring I do thee wed and promise to love and honor you Vincent all the days of my life.”

Vincent “with this ring I do thee wed and promise to love and honor you Daniel all the days of my life.”

Having pledged yourselves to each other, I do now, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Articles 18, 21, 22 and 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in recognition of the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States, pronounce Daniel and Vincent lawfully married and transformed into a form of kinship – marriage – recognized and respected by law and society.

The spouses shall now seal their union with a kiss.

On behalf of all of us gathered here today, we as a community pledge to support you both in your vows and your life together as a married couple.  We send you into your life together with the following wishes, drawn from a Native American blessing:

Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be the shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold for each of you will be the warmth to the other.

Now you are two persons but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through the years.

May happiness be your companion and your days together be long and good on this earth.

The final step in a Jewish wedding ceremony is the breaking of the glass.  The tradition of the breaking of the glass is long and storied with much symbolism.  For Daniel and Vincent, the breaking of the glass symbolizes the inherent impermanence and fragility of life.  By breaking the glass together as their first act as a married couple, they convey both their recognition of this fragility and impermanence, as well as their intent that their own union will be a force for good, a force to repair that which is broken in the world.

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