Box, Wine, and Love Letter Ceremony

Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Officiant: _____ and _____ have chosen as a couple to perform a Love Letter & Wine Box ceremony.

This box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. You have created your very own “romantic” time capsule to be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary.

I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honor prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.

Officiant: _____ and _____ should you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, you are to as a couple, open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage. By reading these love letters you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today.

The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, you are to open this box to share and enjoy on your 5th year wedding anniversary!

Officiant: _____ and _____, you may now seal the box.

Sample Baby Blessing Two

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

Welcome, everyone. On behalf of ____, ______, & _______, (parents, baby) I would like to thank you all for being here to share in this momentous occasion. We are here today for the purpose of this child’s spiritual dedication and recognition as a child of God—to acknowledge the incredible significance of this young life….. We also acknowledge and honor the family and loved ones who, as he grows into a young man, will take part in his growth—-physical, intellectual, and of course, spiritual….When a child comes into this world, this sort of ceremony is not only important, but necessary—for many reasons….First, a miracle of this magnitude—the creation of a new life….a
new spirit on the planet….is one of the most  profound and beautiful gifts we as human beings will ever receive from Our Creator, and deserves to be honored as such. Second, there is a need to recognize that this child is a child not only of his earthly family, but also a child of God—unique, as we all are, but not separate. In fact, he is part of a larger family—the family of the spirit that lives in us all….the family of humankind. For this, we should take a moment to thank you, ________ & ________(parents), for giving all of us this gift—-this beautiful child, this perfect and unspoiled soul…. Finally, this ceremony is our chance to formally welcome __________(baby) into this world, and into our lives…..________(baby), you are a child created in love, living in love in this moment….and it is the intention of every person here that you know love as your way of life for as long as you are here on this earth. Therefore, while this is a ceremony of great meaning and significance, it is not meant to be a somber occasion…..it is in every sense, a celebration—-of thanksgiving, blessings, and of joy.

HONORING THE PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS

It is said that no man is an island…this is especially true when the man is such a young man….And so, at this time, we should take a moment to recognize the important people who will take part in shaping and molding this young man’s life….First, ________ & ________(parents), who present their son before God and this company….You are the authors of his very existence, and today you begin a new chapter in his young life. You are to be commended for realizing that he is not just a physical being….that he is not just a body and a mind, but that the essence of who
he really is….is spirit….And so, for your commitment to raising him with an awareness and appreciation for things of the spirit, we applaud you…..You have been blessed with the joy and responsibility of this precious life, and all who are here can see how truly grateful you are to God for allowing you the privilege of raising this beautiful young
man.

…Second, _______’s(baby) grandparents…. The role played by grandparents is a very important one, and it is a great blessing when they can have a significant part in their grandchildren’s lives. Their experience and wisdom are invaluable for young parents, and their love for their grandchildren is boundless. Because of this, _______ & _______ (parents) asked me to take this opportunity of expressing their deep gratitude to you—-________ & ________ (God Parents)—-for the involvement you choose to have and the love and guidance you give in the life of their child.

In making these acknowledgements, we would also like to take this time to acknowledge those loved ones who are unable to be with us physically on this day; We know that those people, whom we love, and those we have loved are here with us in spirit at this service of dedication for this precious boy/girl. For those who are unable to attend because of distance, may their distance be only physical, and may their love for this child bridge the miles between them….. For those no longer sharing this world with us—Our tribute to those we loved is that we do not forget. They always have a place in our minds and our hearts. They always survive in the freshness of our
memories…..

…..But today marks the beginning of an entirely new lifetime of happy memories for this family. Today is the day we officially give this child his name, and honor his place in the world….And so, it is fitting that we take these next few moments in prayer for this special little boy and this service….

PRAYER

God of love & light, we thank you for blessing our lives with this new spirit….this perfect and pure embodiment of your greatest gift to us—-love. We humbly ask you to enfold in your protection this little one. Receive him into the arms of love and keep him ever in watchful care. Surround him with spiritual strength and open his eyes to the beauty of the Spirit, the innate good in the hearts of all mankind, and the splendor in all creation. Keep him safe and cared-for, even when his earthly family cannot be near. Endow this child with strength and prepare him for the way ahead, so that he may be strong in faith, courageous in spirit, and valiant for the right; Be this child’s
companion in play, in sleep, in wakefulness, and in all his growing days; Be his friend most dear, to understand him, to console him, and to bless him…..Amen.

PARENTAL PROMISE

In this service of dedication we first give thanks to God for the creation and birth of this child, and pray for Life’s greatest blessings upon this child, that he may grow from the beautiful, innocent, sweet, perfect baby boy he is….into a kind, wonderful, loving man….. In the second place, we are to make a solemn promise as parents and as a community that, relying on the goodness of the Universe and working together for the good of this child’s personal and spiritual growth, we will endeavor to provide guidance for him in the things of the spirit.

________ & ________(parents)…..You brought ________ (baby) here today for this service because you have realized that you are his custodians and that you have the privilege and responsibility to care for him in body, mind and spirit, as he grows into the person he is meant to be. You are ready and willing to take on the task of molding a young heart, creating not just a life, but a living, breathing, person, with thoughts, dreams, fears, and a future……And so, in presenting your child here today, do you promise to teach him the values of truth and love, to set a moral example before him, to bring him up to believe and trust in God and the Divine wisdom within him, and to help him find his own
place and role in this life, offering him the guidance he needs, while still allowing him the freedom to follow his own heart?
(Parents answer): “We do.”

And will you do your best in word and deed to bring him up with a solid spiritual foundation….teaching him through your example to live in truth and love?
(Parents answer): “We will.”

Then I ask that as you hold your son, and just as you vowed your love to one another not so long ago, please repeat after me your promises to ________(baby).

Because we recognize you as a miracle and a precious gift….
We thank God for you.
Because we have been entrusted with your care,
We promise to raise you with love and understanding,
To set a good example for you—
Of what love is….
Of what a home and family should be.
We promise to protect you and guide you,
And to provide for your needs
To the best of our ability
We will give our all each day
To ensure your health, safety, and happiness…
Now and as long as we live.

GODPARENTS’ PROMISE

_______ & _______ (parents)—-to whom have you chosen to give the honor and responsibility of being Godparents to _______(baby)?   (______ & _____ (parents) answer): “_______ & ______ (god parents)”

_______ (god father), as ________’s (baby) Godfather, I would like to ask that you hold him now, and _______(god mother), please place your hands on him as you make your promises to care for him, mind, body and spirit.

______ & _______(god parents), please repeat after me these vows to Ashton:

We love you, _______(baby), and always will
And so we promise we will always be there for you,
To help your Mommy and Daddy take care of you,
To protect you and teach you,
And of course, to play with you.
We each promise
To love and care for you as our own.
Now and always.

AFFIRMATION OF COMMUNITY

_______’s (baby) parents have brought him here to be blessed and received into the family of God and of mankind. Their wish for ______(baby) is that he be dedicated in a spirit of community, and that all of you gathered here will play a role in his development as a person who will contribute to and make better this community as a whole. We ask now that all of you gathered here join his parents in making a pledge to him today: Do you all give now your pledge to endeavor earnestly to teach and inspire this little one in a positive way, to be a part of his extended family, and to let your examples and influence guide him to live his life in an upright and honorable way? Do you also promise to do whatever you can to offer support to his parents in raising him, and keeping him safe, secure, and happy?…….If so, please answer: “We do.”    (Loved Ones answer): “We do.”

BAPTISM/WATER CEREMONY

Baptism can mean different things to different people in various religious or spiritual sects or denominations. Today, the baptism of this child is about a promise. A promise from _______’s(baby) parents, God-parents, and loved ones—a promise to nurture his spirit….but also a promise made on behalf of ______(baby) by his parents—-a promise to practice reciprocity, a promise to repay the gifts they have been blessed with in welcoming ______(baby) into this world, a promise to do their best to raise him to be a man who makes this world a better place….in little ways, in big ways, it doesn’t matter….. Everyone here already knows that his or her world is a better place with this child in it.

Water has long been considered by many as the source of life….Water is in and around all of us, and is also a symbol of the human spirit—always in motion, never ceasing, only taking new forms…..  Every element of God’s creation needs water to grow and thrive, to even survive. The trees and flowers, the fish and the birds, and all of us…….. Water nourishes us, cleanses us, comforts us, renews us.

So…..Because we believe and know in our hearts that ______(baby) made his way onto this earth as a pure, innocent, and perfect soul, this ceremony is not intended to cleanse him from sin—It is instead to signify our intentions to nourish his heart, his mind, his body, and his spirit…. to allow his life to flow in the direction he chooses each day, with our love and guidance to help him find his way.

The water I am about to sprinkle on the head of this child need not be blessed—-for who among us is qualified to bless it, when it has already been created by the hands of God, and is blessed each time it returns to the sky, and again each time it falls to the earth below….. And so, ______(baby), our prayer is that the love that surrounds you today will wash over you like rain every day of your life, as this water rains on you now—–The love of God–(officiant sprinkles water over _____(baby)’s head) –the love of your parents–(officiant sprinkles water over Ashton’s head) –and the love of family, friends, and loved ones, whether near or far–(officiant sprinkles water over ______’s(baby) head). May love be all you know from this day forward.

CHRISTENING & DEDICATION

What name have you given this child?
(Father takes the child, holds him, and answers): ____ ____ ____(baby full name)

____________ (baby full name), today we not only officially give you your name, but more importantly, we celebrate and honor your birth and your life. We need not receive you into the Kingdom of God, because we know that is from whence you came….. Indeed, you came into this world with God in your heart, and all around you, in His creation. We welcome you into this world with open arms, knowing that it is a better place with you in it. We are all here to support you and your parents in acknowledging the miracle that you are, and asking God to bless your young life, guiding you towards your true purpose on this earth. We hereby dedicate your spirit to God, to love, to all that is good in the Universe…..Your parents have many dreams for you and your future, and the greatest one is that your life continue according to this beginning, surrounded by love and friendship, held by a strong support system, and watched over by many loving eyes.

BLESSING

_____________(baby full name), May you be blessed by God…..May you be touched by angels…. May you live your life in happiness, health…. May you love, and be loved, without conditions…. And May the hopes and dreams of your parents—and the well-wishes of all those gathered here—come true for you, that your life may be filled with friendship, laughter, and peace………..  May God be with you always…..

Sample Baby Blessing

Introduction/Greeting

Opening

MOTHER: We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, sweet and beautiful child. We pray that your life is filled with continued health and joyfulness. May you find strength in knowing how much you are loved, and by so many people.       , we wish for you a life of family, community, education and love. And we promise, as you make your way in the world, we will always be there for you. We love and respect you, now and forever.

OFFICIANTS: We ask you their family and friends to give your support in thought, word and deed. You can be examples of lives well lived and commit to supporting         and         in their journey of parenthood. It takes a village to raise a child–and they want you to be part of        ‘s life, offering him love and guidance throughout his life. Now we can all join hands as         and         offer final blessings to        . After each please join us saying Amen.

PARENTS: May you have kindness and respect for both friends and strangers, for those that are similar to you and those that are different. Amen.

May you be generous–able to give and receive. Amen.

May you understand that the journey of life is as important as each step along the way. Amen

An ancient Irish pagan blessing

May the blessing of light be with you always,

Light without and light within.

May the sun shine upon you and warm your heart

Until it glows like a great fire

So that others may feel the warmth of it.

And may the light of your eyes

Shine like two candle lights

In a window at night bidding the wanderer

To come in out of the dark and the cold.

And may the blessings of the rain be upon you,

The sweet and tender rain,

May it fall upon your spirit

As when flowers spring up and fragrance fills the air.

And may the blessings of the great rain

Wash you clean and fair,

And may the storms always leave you stronger

And more beautiful.

And when the rains are over

may there be clear pools of water.

Sample Structure of Funeral Service

Sample Structure of the Ceremony

The ceremonial structure can be guided by these elements. It can be expanded on or condensed to suit the wishes of your relative.

Prelude Music Welcome Poetry or Reading or Music Eulogy Family Readers Poetry or Reading or Music Blessing or Silence or Prayer Announcement Post Ceremonial Music

Sample Elements of a Ceremony

The following are sample elements of a funeral/bereavement service:

Religious or Secular Ceremony: religious or non religious service; spiritual, but not religious; a mix of religious and spiritual; or, civil service with no mention of a higher power. Rituals: candle lighting; ringing of bells or chimes; floral offerings; or, sharing of wine/bread/food. Narrations: eulogy; poetry; scriptures; stories; or, prayers. Visual: DVD rresentation; pictures; or, Memory Book.

Preparing a Eulogy

A typical eulogy is about 5 to 10 minutes in length. It is recommended to leave the emotional elements for the end of the eulogy. Any additional tributes given by family or friends should be limited in length to keep the service from going too long. Young children and family members may want to write down a few sentences to be read aloud by Reverend Bennett or the person giving the eulogy.

Whether or not you are giving the eulogy, it is helpful to have certain facts and information available. Here is a sample eulogy outline to aid you in preparing the necessary information.

Sample Outline of a Eulogy

The following are suggestions for inclusion in a eulogy:

Give a brief history including birth date, place of birth, parents, grandparents, siblings. Where did they grow up? What was their childhood like? Where did they go to school? Professional and career accomplishments? Who did they marry? When and where? Children and grandchildren. How long were they married? Significant life accomplishments. Personal interests, hobbies, achievements. Character qualities, Christian service, and how they affected other lives.

Length of Service

The entire length of the service often depends on the number of guests. Time should be allowed either before or after the service to greet your guests and give them a moment to say their good byes to the deceased. It is recommended to keep the actual service length anywhere between 30-60 minutes.

Chocolate and Wine Ceremony

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The Chocolate Wine Ceremony

This ceremony represents that life has both bitter and sweet moments. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Placement: This ceremony enhancement can be place anywhere in the ceremony but many couples elect to put it just before their vows

Spoken by the Officiant

_____ and _____,  life can filled with days of great sweetness, and days of bitter sorrow.  There are celebrations, and there are tears.  There are triumphs, and there are tragedies.  Life holds indescribable happiness for you both and unavoidable pain.  And so to symbolize your acceptance of this reality, today you will share the bitter and the sweet together, just as you have shared them in the past and will share them in the years to come together.

Both of you take and eat this bitter, dark chocolate. Taste in it the dark days which that have and will rock your marriage and test its strength. It represents disappointment, illness, grief. Know that these hard times will come, and with them, the opportunity to deepen your bond. Now, take and drink this sweet red wine.  Taste in it the sweetness and light that fills your marriage with joy. Savor the fruits of this wine, just as you savor every happiness that your beloved brings you.  It represents shared laughter, your children’s successes, and your anniversary.  Delight in it, as you delight in each other. Combined these items are representational of what you experience in life, and just like today, you will share them and experience them together for all the days to come.

The Mother’s Rose Wedding Ceremony

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The Mothers’ Rose Ceremony, which is also known as The Rose Presentation,   occurs near the beginning of the ceremony, and is especially sweet and touching when it’s a surprise for the Moms! The couple places two roses with a ribbon tied around them and laid on the ceremonial table in the front. You can use any flower, however the Rose  is a universal symbol of love and can be pressed really easily in a book for a keepsake. (Moms love to do this!)

Usually the Rose Ceremony Honoring Mothers comes  just after the officiant’s welcome,  blessing and presentation of the bride and the couple will present the moms with the rose. The Officiant then tells the mothers how important they have been in the lives of their children etc…  It also can be done right after a unity candle ceremony.

You may also write notes of love and gratitude, rolled up like scrolls, and attached to the roses with a ribbon. In these letters you can tell your mothers how much they mean to you, tell them how much they have contributed to your lives, and thank them.

The Rose Ceremony Honoring Mothers really sets the stage for a wonderfully emotional and powerful ceremony. And the public affirmation of their importance make moms cry every time. It is important that your minister or officiant knows the importance of the words here. They should be really touching and powerful.

The Rose Ceremony Honor Your Mothers and can also be incorporated as a Remembrance too! Sometimes, I have also had brides place a rose on a chair for their Mother or for the Groom’s Mother if they have passed away and even though this is difficult, it is a perfect way to honor your Mother.

You can alter this if you are not having a religious wedding ceremony.

Officiant:

We gather here today, in the presence of God and friends to join Groom and Bride in matrimony. We celebrate the coming together in love of this woman and this man. We remember that marriage is a time when growing love is made public, when two people share mutual promises before God and before us. We join in our support of them as they offer themselves to each other. We celebrate their joy, their love and their expectations.

Groom and Bride would like to thank each one of you for sharing this happiest of days with them. They would also like to acknowledge those who are here in spirit today, especially _____and ____, whose love and support will be felt by Groom and Bride always.

Invocation (this is the beginning prayer to “invoke” or ask God to be present and bless this service, if desired)

Officiant:

Let us pray

God, for the joy of this occasion we thank you. For the meaning of this wedding day we thank you. For this important moment in an ever growing relationship we thank you. For your presence here and now and for your presence at all times, we thank you.

Groom and Bride, today you stand before us ready to share the rest of your lives together as a married couple. 

But long before today your parents provided you with a foundation of love and caring which has brought you to this point.

At this time Groom and Bride would like to acknowledge the love and sacrifice that each mother has made to make their children who they are today….a man and a woman who are ready to be committed, in a loving marriage of their own… They honor their mothers with the symbolic gift of beauty, the giving of a rose. 

(Bride and groom each present a rose to their mother-then return in front of officiant)

Or you may decide to give the rose as your first gift to each other.

Officiant:

After the exchanging of rings, your first gift to each other, as husband and wife, is a single rose. The rose is a symbol of love so it is appropriate that it is your first gift.

Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. (GROOM GIVES A ROSE TO BRIDE.)
(Repeat after officiant these words)
GROOM: (Bride’s name) I give you this rose as a symbol of my love. It began as a tiny, tightly closed bud and blossomed into this perfect rose that opened with the warmth of the sun, just as my love for you has grown in the warmth of your soul.

(BRIDE GIVES A ROSE TO GROOM.)

BRIDE: (Groom’s name) I give you this rose as a symbol of my love. It began as a tiny, tightly closed bud and blossomed into this perfect rose that opened with the warmth of the sun, just as my love for you has grown in the warmth of your soul.

Officiant:

GROOM and BRIDE, in remembrance of this day, as a reaffirmation of your love and of the vows you have spoken here today please give each other a single red rose each year on your anniversary. In the best of marriages there are difficult times. There are times of hurtful words, times of neglect, times when we must wait patiently to be together again. Those may be times when the words you really need to speak are difficult. I ask that you remember this moment and that when words fail you, that you place a single rose on your spouse’s pillow as a way to say, “I remember our vow,” and “I love you”. Let this exchanging of roses be the beginning of a lifelong tradition of unspoken love.

Jumping the Broom Ceremony

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Interfaith Clergy Services has several lovely and romantic Wedding Ceremony Add Ons (cost extra) for you to choose from. Today, lets start with one of my personal favorites; Jumping the Broom.

Jumping the broom is about incorporating your past, and giving it a place of honor in your new life. Therefore combine it with your personality and style. It should be an uplifting and spiritual addition to any ceremony.

Today’s wedding brooms, however, are a far cry from those first used in jumping the broom ceremonies. They’re still made with a wooden handle and natural bristles, but they’re kept as treasured keepsakes and probably never actually used to sweep the floor.

Some brides prefer to create their own brooms, while others purchase ornately decorated brooms ready-made. Far from ordinary, these brooms are outfitted beautifully with silk ribbons, fresh or silk flowers, bows, beads and more.

During the ceremony, broom jumping can be paired with a prayer, song, poem or simple explanation of the tradition. One song, “At an Ole Virginia Wedding,” was frequently used in the U.S. in the early 1900s as an accompanying tune. The passage’s sentiment warns others to respect the couple’s union and encourages the couple to cherish each other. Today, many brides attach the verse to their wedding brooms.

The broom can even be used to include guests in the ceremony: A couple can have guests write their names on pieces of decorative paper attached to ribbons, and then the ribbons are tied to the broom before it is jumped. This symbolizes that the guests — and their associated well wishes — go into the marriage with the couple.

After the initial wedding ceremony the couple turns and jumps over the broom as the officiant may say;

Today, Bride and Groom will jump the broom to seal their covenant as husband and wife!

Congratulations, you may kiss your Bride .

I present to you Mrs. Bride and Mr. Groom!