Erik Hoffman     

Old Time Music and Dance

Officiate Alternative Weddings

Since I've become a Universal Life Church Minister, I've helped a number of couples custom tailor their wedding to their tastes.

My beliefs are that whatever it is that we're doing here on earth, there is much going on beyond what we know. Weddings are a way to publicly state a commitment to a relationship, and not only ask for witnesses, acknowledge support for the marrying couple. Here is an example:

We are gathered here to acknowledge and honor the marriage of S and W.

By your presence, you are participating in the transition of the relationship of two individuals. These two people are complete human beings, with separate lives and separate identities. They have found ways to respect each other's differences and to cherish those in common. W and S have chosen to continue their lives together in marriage. By this act, those of us present, in body and spirit, are also going through a transition, a change in perception, where we now think of W and S as husband and wife, in addition to all the ways we thought of them before this day.

Marriage means honesty. To honor a mate requires that one be honest. This is a worthy and challenging commitment, as the people closest to us see our shadow sides as well. Meeting this challenge of openness and honesty bears the fruit of deepening understanding and ever growing love. We are the spirit and the spirit is us, flow like a river, and the river flows through us.

One of the acts we commit today is to bless the marriage of W and S. It's here where marriage is made. It is through our act of understanding and support that we create marriage. It is through our collective vision, through our agreement as a community of family and friends to see these two people in a new light, that transforms them into husband and wife.

This does not mean that we stop seeing W and S as two individuals, but our presence here today does mean that we actively support them in their vision as a couple joined in marriage: we actively support the commitment they are bringing to each other.

We too, take responsibility for this wedding, for honoring the transition that W and S, and we, their community of family and friends, are undertaking this day, the event of their joining together in marriage.

Vows (each in turn)
Marriage is a word that people have created to define a way of being and a commitment that is beyond words. Just as W and S are to share vows, these vows are simply a reflection of an understanding and love that is beyond speaking. Listen to these words as they are ripples in the ocean of our being that send a wave of change to the depths of our indescribable spirit.

I commit myself to you S,
To stand by you always,
To respect, honor, love, and cherish you,
All the days of my life.

I commit myself to you W,
To stand by you always,
To respect, honor, love, and cherish you,
All the days of my life.
Presentation of rings

Rings are used as a symbol of marriage, a symbol of many things - A ring is a circle - a symbol of the sun, the giver of light, the giver of life. A ring has no beginning and no end, it's a symbol of never-ending love.

Pronouncement of Marriage - It is by the empowerment of those of us present in body and spirit, that we pronounce you husband and wife.

Old Time Music
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