When my daughter asked me to perform her February 22, 2022 wedding last December, I felt honored yet woefully unprepared and inadequate to perform such a life altering ceremony. I hadn’t attended seminary or done divinity school studies, however I’d lived with a lifetime of spiritual searching. The request sparked my curiosity so I researched what I’d need to do.
There are several sites on the internet that offer ordination. The first thing I learned was it’s important to check with the state you’ll be officiating in because rules vary from state to state. Turns out Florida, where my daughter and her fiancee were planning their wedding, has no special requirements about who performs the ceremony. After reading through different state, local, and organization websites, ordination seemed like the right thing to do. I selected Universal Life Church, then purchased a wedding ceremony kit with scripts and certificates.
The scripts were wonderful, but less personal than we wanted in a ceremony. I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I sent the soon-to-be newlyweds some samples and asked them to share ideas how they wanted their ceremony to feel. The next time I saw them, I asked them specific questions:
> How did you meet?
> What initially drew you together?
> What was your proposal like?
> What do you like most about each other?
> What’s the best adventure you’ve had together?
They also expressed to me how awesome it would be to be pronounced husband and wife at 2:22 PM. I laughed, thinking I’d be lucky if I even got close.
The hard part was putting together a ceremony that we all would be proud of while performing it in front of my partner, the groom’s family, my ex, and his wife. That thought resulted in writer’s block and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write a ceremony worthy of the occasion. The day before our flight to Florida, I put butt in seat and pen to paper. I reviewed how my daughter and her fiancee had met, fallen in love, and the love I’d witnessed between them and it dawned on me…echo their words to each other to tell the story of their love.
I practiced the ceremony with my partner to get an idea of length, then the night before the wedding we rehearsed and fine-tuned the timing. I knew if we started the ceremony around 2:10 PM, as long as I kept myself together and spoke at a moderate pace, we could do it.
Then it was time for my ex and I to walk our baby girl down the aisle to her love.
The rest of the ceremony is a blur in my mind, but I pulled it off…and pronounced them husband and wife at 2:22 PM with my poem:
Long have you waited for this special day
To gather us together and for each of you to say
You’re my person, I Love You, I’m yours to the end
So as your parents and family, this advice we send
Stay open and honest, transparent and true
There’s nothing more important in marriage to do
Be thrifty, work hard and obey all the laws
Be kind, be faithful, and love each other’s flaws.
We’ve loved and supported each of you since a babe
Now it’s your time with a daughter, a family you’ve made
So with joy in our hearts and a tear in our eyes
I make this pronouncement to those far and wide
By the power invested in me by the state
You’re now husband and wife, it’s legal, you’re life mates.
Now is the time to seal this love with a kiss
Your first of many in legal wedded bliss!
Wishing you a lifetime of love & laughter, Love you much❣️