The structure of this ceremony was created by the couple, and I wrote all the text. Rachel and Mitch are go-getters. Your custom ceremony doesn’t have to be this extravagant. But it’s totally fun to read!
Rachel Carter and Mitch Pauley
Welcome, welcome, welcome! Greetings to all of you: family, friends, neighbors, groupies, hangers-on, and polydimensional cheerleaders from the Astral planes! Welcome to Vermont. Welcome to Sleepy Hollow. Welcome to this gorgeous summer! Welcome to the long-awaited, much-anticipated, never-to-be replicated 2011 MitchaRachia Cosmic Love Bomb-a-Palooza!
Astronomers will tell you that our gorgeous little planet is located in some remote, dirt road, backwater region of an Outer Spiral Arm of the Milky Way. You can imagine us, barely there, clinging to the edge of the galaxy by our fingernails. But today, due to the intense gravitational power of this remarkable community, time and space have been bent and transformed. Planet Earth is now at the center of the galaxy, nay, the center of the universe! All the forces of love, peace, nature, mountains, and complete and total Awesomeness have come together here in Huntington, and now conspire to join Rachel Carter and Mitch Pauley in holy wedded matrimonial bliss!
In other words, all these beings, all this galactic love mojo, and all of you, you’re all holding sacred space for something universal and profound: two people – travelers, playmates, and soul-partners – publicly declaring their commitment to enhancing each others’ happiness, their pledge to help each other grow, and their complete dedication to serving both each other, and their beloved community, as they develop into their full potential as beings of compassion, courage, and love.
Now, along with holding sacred space, we’re going to ask you to hold something else. But don’t worry, it’s easy. These are the rings that Mitch and Rachel will be giving to each other. But before they do, we’re going to pass them around to you, and ask you to imbue them with any love and good wishes you have to offer.
Zora Neale Hurston once said that “love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place,” and how un-hidden from each other Rachel and Mitch are. Anyone who knows them knows how clearly they complete each other, how they make each other profoundly happy, how much unfettered fun they have together. They are each wonderful people unto themselves, but together, they’re a powerful team, an unstoppable force.
And of course, Mitch, Rachel, you know it, too. You feel in your bones that this life isn’t the first time you’ve been together. You know you have arrived together now partly by magic (and Mitch’s persistent cyber-stalking), but also by Destiny. Getting married is a Big Deal. It’s no small feat to bind one life to another. But in this case, it’s also an act of utter grace, simplicity, and ease.
Getting married is also an act of gratitude; gratitude to one’s beloved for their intense care and commitment, and to Life itself for bestowing upon us the gifts of passion, devotion, and partnership. As an expression of their gratitude, Rachel, Mitch, and their family have some elemental offerings of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and – of course – Rock. Because they’re rock stars.
Mitch, Rachel, and Family Make Offerings
Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, Mitch and Rachel are kind of fond of nature. And nobody has ever expressed a knowing rapture about the natural world quite the way John Muir did. So, with a rapturous Muir reading, please welcome Rachel’s brother Dave
“Nature’s literature is written in mountain ranges along the sky, rising to heaven in triumphant songs in long ridge and dome and clustering peaks. When we dwell with mountains, see them face to face, every day, they seem as creatures with a sort of life – friends subject to moods, now talking, now taciturn, with whom we converse. They wear many spiritual robes, at times an aureole, something like the glory…the old painters put around the heads of saints… Happy the beings to whom every tree is a friend – who loves them, sympathizes with them in their lives in mountain and plain, in their brave struggles on barren rocks and windswept ridges, and in joyous, triumphant exuberance in fertile ravines and valleys sheltered, waving their friendly branches, while we, fondling their shining plumage, rejoice with and feel the beauty and strength of their every attitude and gesture, the swirling surging of their lifeblood in every vein and cell. Great as they are and widespread their forests over the earth’s continents and islands, we may love them all and carry them about with us in our hearts. And so with the smaller flower people that dwell beneath and around them, looking up with admiring faces, or down in thoughtful poise, making all the land or garden instinct with God.”
Rachel, Mitch, and Attendants Sing “Waste”
For those of you not familiar with the etymology of MitchaRachia – the collective moniker for this dynamic duo here – it springs from the origins of their relationship, and echos a magical kingdom in the book The Bridge to Terabithia. Terabithia, it turns out, echos the Narnian island of Terebinthia in Price Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Point being, all great partnerships are, in their own way, a magical kingdom. Or queendom. Or, perhaps, just a magical realm.
Now, while their relationship is definitely a magical realm, Rachel and Mitch feel doubly blessed to live within the magical realm of their beloved community – all of you – and triply blessed to live within the magical realm of Vermont. And they imagine the arc of their love, the arc of your love, and the arc of the beauty and wonder of this mountainous place as the buttresses of a luminous cathedral. You can see them, soaring above our heads, surrounding and protecting, and supporting this gathering. And it is cradled within the holy, shining arms of this cathedral of love that Mitch and Rachel will exchange their vows
Mitch vow vow vow…
Rachel vow vow vow…
And have the rings come back around? You know, most wedding ceremonies spend some time talking about how the ring is a symbol of wedlock, a symbol of a perfect circle of love – a love with no beginning and no end, a symbol of the unbroken union of the souls united here today.
But rings are also tangible things which do have a beginning. They start as rock, mined from the earth. The metal is separated from the rock, heated, molded, cooled, shaped, and polished. It’s the hard raw labor of the miner and the detailed craftsmanship of the jeweler – and everyone else along the great chain of work – which has brought these rings to adorn the fingers of these two people.
True, long-term love is like that; something born of searching, of digging, of designing and crafting – and of some good group effort. Rachel and Mitch, your love is a process, and, unlike these rings, will be ever-evolving, ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-seeking.
Still, rings are powerful, visible, visceral tokens of commitment, and of the hope and heart and humor which binds you two together. And if there’s anything that a ring really likes, it’s to be given to another in a moment of deep and abiding love.
So, Mitch, please place your ring on Rachel’s finger, and repeat after me:
Rachel, with this ring, I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you and to comfort you. We will walk together through life as partners and best friends. I promise that I shall always do my best to love and accept you exactly the way you are. With this ring, I give you your freedom and my trust in you. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you and always respect you. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life – my heart is yours until the end of time.
Now, Rachel, please place your ring on Mitch’s finger and repeat after me:
Mitch, with this ring, I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you and to comfort you. We will walk together through life as partners and best friends. I promise that I shall always do my best to love and accept you exactly the way you are. With this ring, I give you your freedom and my trust in you. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you and always respect you. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life – my heart is yours until the end of time.
And now just one final blessing:
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May your days together be good and long
upon the earth.
Rachel and Mitch, you have pledged your love, exchanged vows and rings, and been thoroughly surrounded by love and blessings of your friends and family. There is nothing more which can, should, or need be done. So with great joy and best wishes, I pronounce you –
Mitch jumps in, dips Rachel, and kisses her.
– I pronounce you United in Marriage. You may now rock out!
Wedding party produces blow-up guitars and sunglasses and rocks out.
Assistants drop blow-up instruments from the rafters and EVERYONE rocks out.