Bill and Jacqueline's Excellent Adventure
Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
April 1, 2000
Wedding Home Page

The Text of the Ceremony

This ceremony was presided over by the Rev. Dr. Richard W. Smith of the United Methodist Church of Boulder City, Nevada. He is deserving of any and all credit for these words. We had nothing to do with any of them (except to repeat them where he told us to).


Let your presence be welcomed, and let your hearts be glad. For everything there is a season, a time and a purpose for every matter. And this is the time and this is the place to celebrate the marriage of Bill and Jacqueline.

We've come to do all of those things both old and new that are appropriate to just such an occasion. To say solemn words, to confirm a covenant, to recognize in this event the place of family, friends, and the larger human community. To laugh and to cry, to sing and to feast and to dance but above all to celebrate love and all of its possibilities.

And you all have been called here to witness this wedding because of your special relationship to Bill or Jacqueline or their families. And so I ask if you affirm this marriage and give it your blessing. {The guests reply "We do."}

And who presents Jacqueline to be married to Bill? {Jim replies, "Her mother and I."}

Jacqueline and Bill, come now and really be together to make your vows. You've known each other for some time now, and through the first glance of acquaintance through this moment of commitment, at some moment along the way you decided to marry. From that moment of "yes" through this moment of "yes", indeed, you've already been making promises in an informal way. All those conversations that you held riding in a car, or over a meal, or on a long walk, all those sentences that began "When we're married," and continued with "I will if you will" and "we will." Those late-night talks that included words like "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe." Now, all those promises, and still all the unspoken promises of your hearts, those are the real things of a marriage and a wedding. The vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all of those things we hoped and dreamed? Well, I meant it. Every word."

So, Bill, Jacqueline, I'm going to have you turn and face one another now and look at one another. Remember this moment in time. Before this moment you've been many things to each other. You've been acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, even teacher. For you've already learned much from each other. Now you will say a few words that will carry you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you two. For after these vows, Bill, you will say to the world, "This is Jacqueline, my wife." Jacqueline, you will say, "This is Bill, my husband."

Bill, I would like you to carefully repeat after me these words:

    I, Bill, take you, Jacqueline, to be the wife of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life. We shall bear together what trouble and sorrow life may lay upon us. And we shall share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring us. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you, and bind my life to yours.

And, Jacqueline, will you also carefully repeat after me:

    I, Jacqueline, take you Bill, to be the husband of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life. We shall bear together whatever trouble and sorrow life may lay upon us. And we shall share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring us. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you, and bind my life to yours.

For several thousand years men and women have exchanged rings as a token and symbol of their wedding vows. Bill and Jacqueline, these simple rings are not of great value in and of themselves, but what they come to mean today and what they will come to mean over time will be beyond price. The circle of life itself is contained in these symbols that you will now wear on your fingers.

And Bill, holding her hand in yours, would you repeat after me:

    Jacqueline, I place this ring on your finger as a seal on the covenant I have made with you.
And Jacqueline, repeating after me:
    Bill, I place this ring on your finger as a seal on the covenant I have made with you.

Now, Bill and Jacqueline light the unity candle, symbolizing that in marriage they are no longer two people: they are becoming one flesh.

Now I ask all of you who are gathered here today to join me in this pronouncement:

    We your family and friends now pronounce you married.

Bill and Jacqueline, you have made vows and exchanged rings, so now on behalf of the state of Nevada and the larger human community, I say that what you have desired has come to pass.

So, come let us celebrate. If a wedding is supposed to be joyful, I believe we've accomplished that, and more. Bill and Jacqueline, the spirit of joy here is one blessing among many. Another blessing is this gathering of families standing close to you. Another blessing is all these friends who have come here to witness this wedding on behalf of the larger human community.

But more than this, Bill and Jacqueline, may the sun of many days and years shine upon you both. May the love that you have for one another today continue to grow over time and hold you close. May the good true light within you guide you on your journey together, and may every one of your dreams come true. But when they don't, may new dreams arise in their place. So long long years from now you may be able to look at one another as you do today and be able to say, "Because of you I lived the life I always wanted to live. Because of you I became the person I always wanted to be."

You may kiss the bride.


What Do You Want To See Next?
The Ceremony    |    The Reception    |    Wedding Home Page







Jacqueline's Home Page       |       Bill's Home Page