Civil Ceremony


Welcome! We are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join together Michelle and Brian in the sacred union of Marriage. We, their families and friends, form a community of love that together we may support and encourage them with our abundance of prayers and blessings on this day and for all of their lives.


At this time I ask that you all join me in a wish and blessing for Michelle and Brian as they begin the journey on their path of togetherness.

Our hope and wish for Michelle and Brian is a long and loving lifetime of joy, peace and happiness. May their unconditional love, compassion and caring for each other continue to be the strength that they will hold fast to for all their days together.

We would also like to honor all those that could not be here with us today in body, but we know that they are here in spirit with us, to shower their blessings upon Bride and Groom today and for all the of their days together.

1st Reading

Love is the reason why this day was chosen by you both to begin your lives together and love is the reason why you both will give with all hearts for the good of each other. Love is the reason that together you will become one; one in hope; one in believing in life; one in sharing the coming years.


We come here today in a celebration and expression of love! Love is perhaps the greatest gift that life offers us. It is the one thing that all human being need to survive and grow. Love drives us and gives us hope. Love is our greatest teacher, for through love we can learn the deepest levels of ourselves. Love helps us grow, and allow us to move forward in this life with security, safety, and nurturing.

Michelle and Brian have found the gift of love in each other, they have found in each other that special person who provides them with peace, love and comfort and who will support each other and share all of life. They come here today before all of you who are their families and friends; you who hold their memories, their history, their pasts, their present, and now again they ask you to share and bear witness to a new chapter of their lives, as they share with you this gift of love they have found and the brilliant future that it holds for them.
Michelle and Brian wish to express and honor the important role that their families play in their lives today and everyday. They would like to send out their heartfelt thanks to their families and friends for their continued love, support, and encouragement throughout their lives.

Michelle and Brian have created a love that is simple, effortless, and real, a love which allows them to truly be themselves; they accept all parts of each other with unconditional love and understanding. Their relationship which has become a constant source of comfort, support, and love has evolved through the joys, changes and challenges of life into this beautiful loving partnership that you see here today as they stand before you so very much in love and ready to join their hearts together as one.

Michelle and Brian share many of the same traits that they endeared in other. Their kindness and consideration for their partner, their attentiveness to each other’s needs, their admiration for each other’s strength and independence, and the ease with which they can communicate. Together they are best friends, and they complement each other perfectly! They share generous and caring spirits, a strong sense of family values, a mutual respect, love and commitment to each other that is immeasurable, and of course equally important, their shared sense of humor and the ability to always make each other laugh!

Michelle and Brian come here at this moment to share with you the celebration, joy, and happiness that is in their hearts today as they take their relationship to a deeper level of commitment, by making this passage into marriage, and I am reminded of a passage from “Union” by Robert Fulghum, that I would like to share with you.

(optional) “You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife”


Marriage is the most sacred and intimate of human experiences. It is the joining of body, mind, spirit and lives. It is a foundation that is based on honesty, love, commitment and communication. This is not something that should be entered into without much thought and consideration. Into this most sacred union these two people come to be joined.

Today Michelle and Brian you going to make promises and commitments to each other that you will carry with you throughout your lives together. Through the day to day challenges and celebrations of life these vows that you will now exchange will be the values that you will cling to everyday. If you keep your vows close to your hearts and honor the commitment you have made to each other to share life , to love, to listen, to learn and to grow together, your life will be all that you dream of . For this is my wish and prayer for you!

Expression of Intent

In the presence of family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.
Michelle and Brian have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives? respond: I will.


Traditional vows:

Do you Brian take Michelle to be your wife. Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.Do you promise to love her and honor her all the days of your life.
response : I Do

Do you Brian take Michelle to be your husband. Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.Do you promise to love him and honor him all the days of your life.
response: I Do


Contemporary vows:

Do you Brian take Michelle to be you wife, your partner, your love and your best friend. Do you promise this day to share your life with her, to respect her, honor her, support her and love her, through life’s challenges and celebrations will you stand by her side from this day and for all the days of your life?
Response: I Do

Repeat for spouse


These rings that you will now exchange are a symbol of all that you shared in your hearts today. All the promises that you will hold tightly to throughout your lives. When you look to these rings you will remember these promises. The circle of these rings which is constant and continuing, with no beginning and no end, an unbroken circle which represents the returning always to these promises, that will carry you through your life together. I bless these rings that the wearers will forever remember this gift of love that they share and that there life will be filled with grace and love.

Exchanging of rings

Groom: Michelle, I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.
Bride: Brian, I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

Hand Ceremony

Michelle please face Brian, and hold his hands, palms up so you may see the gift that they are to you.These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding your hands on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. 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 comfort you in times of challenge or doubt, and hold you when you are sad. These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes: eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Michelle please hold Brian’s hands, palms up where you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding your hands on your wedding day, as she pledges her love and commitment to you all the days of her life.

These are the hands that will hold you tight, as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will comfort and console you when life brings you challenges.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams. Together as a team everything you wish for can be realized.

May all of life bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on through storms of unrest and stress. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in grace, rich in caring and respect. Remind them often what brought them together and that tenderness, gentleness and compassion with each other, are of the utmost precedence. When frustrations and challenges arise help them to remember to focus on the good things. And allow Michelle and Brian to each take responsibility for the quality of their life together, so that it will be marked by abundance and delight.


Now that you Brian, and you, Michelle, have promised to give yourselves to one another and to love each other through your sacred vows and through the giving and receiving of these rings, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

The Kiss

You may now begin your life together with a kiss

Sara Shonfeld - Rabbi & Interfaith Officiant, WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award Winner 2017

Sara Shonfeld - Rabbi & Interfaith Officiant