A Ceremony of Promise

My friend Gerrie Douglas-Scott hasn’t been twiddling her thumbs during this coronacrisis. She’s devised a ceremony for couples whose weddings should be taking place today, and on every other day for as long as the lockdown lasts.

It’s such a lovely idea and I hope you’ll share it. Today I should be marring Bekka & Arry at the Houstoun House Hotel but obviously we can’t do that so I dedicate this first iteration of the ceremony to them.

Name and Name, today should have been the day of your wedding.  
You, of all the couples i am marrying this year, know that the time has to be absolutely right.  You know that together you have great love, resolve, commitment, joy, sharing – and so much more.

You have your past, your present and your future together.  

In your time together you have made so many memories.  Memories of happy times and sad times, laughter and tears, moments of deep connection and unconditional love.  You have pictures and images of the times and places that you have visited together, and the people whom you love and will always hold close.  

On the day that you were engaged you made a promise and had the intention to marry to seal that promise.  That moment has not quite arrived yet but it will soon – and it will arrive when the time is right.  

Never has this been clearer – that our presence is the most precious gift of all.  

Those you love will hold you up and hold you close, knowing that this – this – is right.  What there is between you is what gives your life meaning and purpose and value simply because you love each other.

I ask you now to hold each others hands as you speak these words by Daniel L. Harris

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Now it’s time to make your promises to one another

“I, Name, promise you, Name, to be here for your in this moment now.  I give to you my heart, my love, my support.  I will cherish you and appreciate all that we share. 
I promise to be there on our wedding day to fulfil all that we have vowed to each other already. 
I give you my hand, my heart and all of me to be with you always.”

Holding hands is a promise to one another that, for just a moment, the two of you don’t have to face the world alone.  You are together as you wait for another moment of promise:  The day of your marriage.  And your family and friends will cheer and know that this – this – is right.

Before we go, I’d like to offer a last reading. It’s by by Cheryl. J Barclay and it’s called The One
When the one whose hand you’re holding

Is the one who holds your heart,

When the one whose eyes you gaze into

Gives your hopes and dreams their start,

When the one you think of first and last

Is the one who holds you tight,

And the things you plan together

Make the whole world seem just right,

When the one whom you believe in

Puts their faith and trust in you,

You’ve found the one and only love

You’ll share your whole life through.

Gerrie and Susan are the founders of Celebrate People. Susan was awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, and Gerrie was recently appointed as the first paid Humanist Chaplain in the NHS in Scotland

  1. […] sister Kate and Anne-Laure’s Godmother Barbara gave us “the blessing of the hands”. You can find the words of the poem here if you don’t know […]

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