Jane Austen Ceremony
A wedding ceremony isn't supposed to be a piece of theatre (although stage management is very important!) so “theme” weddings is a term I use advisedly: the theme is really just an alternative slant that you might want to give to your wedding. Usually the theme is expressed through dress (you might want your friends to dress a certain way) and the type of language you choose.
In this “Jane Austen” wedding, dress, language and symbols were used to create a theme. Not to mention the location and venue! The ceremony took place at the Victoria and Albert Guest house - circa 1914 – perfect! This wonderful property is in Mt Victoria in the upper mountains and the season was winter … so cold, and yes, the ceremony was outside and finished just before it started to snow lightly. You couldn't really imagine a ceremony like this anywhere but in the mountains.
Here are some excerpts of this unique ceremony:
We began with a blessing:
“Today you begin your journey of life shared, bound together by the vows of this ceremony. Your marriage is a partnership founded on the strong bonds of friendship and love. Many are the years you will share and countless the moons you will watch together. This wedding is a symbol, a celebration, a public recognition of what already exists in the silent places of your hearts. If you keep your vows, your sacred trust, happy will be many of your days.”
And some stage directions:
Both mothers walk forward as representatives of each family, and light a single candle each, then return to their places.
“In this ceremony today we celebrate love, and I begin by offering homage to the eternal flame of sacred love that burns within every loving heart. May the love you have received from your families guide you as you make this commitment to bind your hearts together as one forever.”
Celebrant lights incense.
“Let your love be as incense to the breeze, let it create an ever-growing circle that spreads love and may your union be a thing of beauty to all who behold it. May the fires of love kindle in your passion for each other throughout the years.”
Celebrant rings a bell three times.
“Above are the stars, below are the stones. Remember, like a star should your love be constant, like the earth should your love be firm. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience, for storms may come and go. Be free always in giving of affection and warmth.”
The Asking, Vows and rings continued in this style:
“Do you desire to have this man/woman as your husband/wife, forsaking all others?”
“…, you are the awakener of my spirit, my joy, my love. Today I take you as my wife/husband and promise to dedicate my life to you, to live with you and share my happiness with you. I promise to love you and support you in times of plenty and times of pain for all the years to come. When you need me, I will be there, and when your strength fails you, may mine always be there for you. By the witness of our friends and family, I give my heart to you and only you, from this day forth.”
“Accept and wear this ring as a pledge of my love, and as a symbol of all we share. Gra dilseacht cairdeas. (Love, Loyalty, Friendship – pronounced
“graw deal-shocked car-dass”).
And a Handfasting Ceremony was incorporated:
Celebrant rings bell 3 times, and binds cloth loosely around the couple’s wrists, tying it 3 times in the centre.
“May this cord, symbol of the coming together of man and woman, bind the feminine powers of creation with the masculine in the fruition of life. Through the warmth of the sun and the magic of the moon, these bonds symbolise the eternal unity of your love.”
Celebrant removes the cloth without untying the knot and rings bell 3 times.
“Before all those gathered here let it be known you are husband and wife, and henceforth shall be as one. “