Our ceremony

I.                    GATHERING WORDS
Welcome! Good afternoon, family and friends
We have come here today to celebrate as
Kendi and Leigh declare their commitment before those closest to them.

On behalf of Kendi and Leigh, I thank you for joining us.
They are delighted that you have chosen to spend this special day with them.

By your presence, you celebrate with them and show your support for their decision to commit themselves to a lifelong relationship.

Those of you who have known Leigh and Kendi for a long time will know that they have been together now for over nine years. You may be wondering why they did not conduct this ceremony sooner.

The truth is: they’ve been waiting. Waiting for the day when legislation would catch up with community sentiment and allow them the legal union that is available to most of you here today.

But time marches on, and eventually they decided to stop waiting. They still believe the day will come when they will be legally wed, but in the meantime, they have decided not to let a small impediment like a lack of legal recognition stop them from having the wedding they want and declaring their commitment publicly.

If you have not already done so, please put on the white knot you were handed by Hunter on arriving here today. The white knot symbolises the fight for marriage equality. By wearing the white knot you are declaring your support for this cause – the right for everyone to marry the person of their choosing.

While the union you bear witness to today will not carry the legal weight of marriage, I know you all understand that it reflects a true and abiding commitment. By making this public declaration of that commitment today, Leigh and Kendi’s relationship
will become stronger, better, and deeper.

Today, Kendi and Leigh demonstrate their devotion to each other
By dedicating themselves to a life together
And they show their respect for each other
By setting forth to honour the vows they have created
Today, their lives, which began on separate paths, will be joined as one

II. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF FAMILY & FRIENDS

Leigh and Kendi would like to acknowledge their families.
They offer their profound gratitude
For their unconditional gifts of love and support.

They are fortunate to share this day with their families, and with their friends from near and far.

They ask that you open your hearts and minds
to the love we are here to share through this ceremony

 

111. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF CHILDREN

Kendi and Leigh also acknowledge their beautiful children, Hunter and Hugo, whose presence in their lives fills them with the kind of love that the parents among you know is impossible to capture in words.

One of Leigh and Kendi’s greatest shared hopes is to be the best parents they can possibly be, and as they commit to each other today, so too Kendi and Leigh commit to their children.

Parenting together, they aim to raise children who are mindful, kind and responsible. Who understand the value of human relationships, the beauty of nature and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Their dreams for their children are big – they believe they can be whatever they want to be. And yet their dreams are simple, too. Whatever brings their children happiness is all their parents wish for them.

Hunter and Hugo, thank you for being such an important part of your mummies’ day. And for being so cute!

 

IV. COMMITMENT ADDRESS
Deep abiding affection,
the magical and compelling shared impulse
that makes us seek each other’s company,
is among the greatest gifts of the human experience.

Any of us who has been fortunate enough to find and express
the kind of loving devotion that we are celebrating here today
knows that it is an awesome and beautiful thing.

This understanding brings me to the first of three suggestions
I will offer to you, Leigh and Kendi:
be constantly grateful for the presence of this precious person
who has chosen to make a life with you.

My second suggestion is this:
Make each other the recipient of daily kindness.
The world can be a tough place
and any of us can be subject to rough handling.
Be generous with compliments.
Be attentive and helpful.
Each of you can, by your tenderness toward each other,
kind words and thoughtful actions,
make your partnership and your home an uplifting refuge.

Last, but perhaps most importantly:
make truth the unfailing bedrock of your lives together.
A solid relationship is built on a foundation of trust and respect.
That trust and respect can only be sustained
if you are both deeply committed to being open and truthful
in every exchange no matter how small.

My hope for you is this:
that you have many long years to delight in each other’s company,
to feel gratitude for your great good fortune
in having found and loved each other,
to a make home together that is at once sheltering and welcoming,
to each do meaningful, productive work at home and in the world
and to love and be loved by the friends and family
who have come here today to support you

V. GROUP DECLARATION OF SUPPORT
Now, I ask you, friends and family of Kendi and Leigh, to acknowledge them, as they acknowledge you

As family and friends,
You form a community of support
That surrounds Kendi and Leigh

Each of you, by your presence here today
Is being called upon
To uphold them in loving each other

Always stand beside them, never between them
Offer them your love and your support
Not your judgment

Encourage them when encouragement is needed
And listen to them when they ask for advice

In these ways, you can honor this union
Into which they have come to be joined today

Do you offer your love and support
To strengthen their union and honour their family?

Please answer by saying : WE DO

[Guests: WE DO]

Thank you.

I call now on Kendi’s sister, Shannon, to share a reading with you.

 

SHANNON: It was difficult to select a reading that felt appropriate for this occasion. Something that reflected the seriousness and solemnity of the event. I scoured the works of the classic poets, pored through the volumes of timeless literature and consulted learned friends. And, eventually, I settled on this piece by one of the greatest writers of our times – Dr Seuss.

(reading: Oh, the places you’ll go)

 

Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the ones who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,

As you already know.

You’ll get mixed up

With many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step

Step with care and great tact

And remember that Life’s

A Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dextrous and deft.

And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed)

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So….get on your way!

 

VI. STATEMENT OF INTENT

Leigh and Kendi, do you, with family and friends as your witnesses,
Present yourselves willingly and of your own accord?

[K&L: WE DO]

Will you promise to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life,
Come what may,
And to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?

[K&L: WE WILL]

Then please turn to each other and share the vows you have written.

VII. VOWS

[Leigh’s vows:]

Kendi, I love you because you are my friend. You support me to achieve the things that are important to me. Like when I was studying to become a teacher you tried to help me write my essay. In the end you got frustrated and just wrote it yourself.

I love you because are my companion. You never pressure me to go clubbing. Instead you would rather spend the evening at home with me with a roast and The Bill.

I love you because you are a caring and patient mother to our children. Like the day when you discovered Hugo had done a poo in the corner of the room at playgroup. You were still able to laugh about it with me at the end of the day.

I love you because you have the most beautiful pale blue Dowdell eyes.

I love you because you aren’t happy to compromise. You challenge what I think. You make me consider viewpoints that aren’t the status quo. You make me face up to life’s realities.

I love you because we make a good team. We have bought and sold houses together. Studied degrees together. Against the odds we have two children.

 

Kendi, because I love you I promise to treat you with the respect you deserve. I promise to build trust in our relationship with what I do and say. I will do my best to support you to achieve the things in life that bring you happiness. When life challenges us I will focus on the fact that what we have together is special and enduring.

Because  I love you, today I promise you that though the world may change and though we may change with it, I will always love you, treasure you and share my life and all that I am with you.

[Kendi’s Vows:]

 

Leigh, I love you because you make me a better person. You have so much faith in my abilities, and you don’t let me just take the easy way out, like the time I wanted to drop a uni subject but instead you packed me off to the library every afternoon till my assignment was finished.

 

I love you because are brave. You accept whatever the universe throws at you and you never make excuses. You focus on today and never give in to fear of tomorrow. You are determined to pursue your dreams and live your life, whatever challenges fall your way.

 

I love you because you are an amazing parent. Our children are learning so much from you that they would never learn from me. Like what different plants are and how to fix things. And how to cook and clean.

 

I love you because you are dedicated. You never do anything by halves and when you set your mind to something, you simply make it happen.

 

I love you because you’ve seen me at my worst, and you like me anyway. I know that

you’re on my side, no matter what.

 

 

Leigh, because I love you, I promise to stand beside you all the rest of my days. I

promise to always look for ways to build our relationship, strengthen our bond and continue to grow together. I promise to show you love, respect and compassion, and to pursue your happiness with as much vigour as much as I pursue my own.

Because I love you, today I promise you that though the world may change and though we may change with it, I will always love you, treasure you and share my life and all that I am with you.

 

VIII. RING EXCHANGE
For thousands of years,
Lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows
Let these rings be a sign that love has a past, a present, and a future
Through you and within you

Hugo, may we please have the rings?

Leigh, take Kendi’s ring and place it on her finger and repeat after me:

I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you
To be my lover, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days
Wear it, think of me, and know that I love you

Kendi, take Leigh’s ring and place it on her finger and repeat after me:

I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you
To be my lover, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days
Wear it, think of me, and know that I love you

 

IX. SECULAR HANDFASTING
Kendi, now take Leigh’s hands palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you:

These are the hands of your best friend, strong and vibrant with love,
that are holding yours on this day,
as she promises to love you all the days of her life.

Now Leigh, please take Kendi’s hands, palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you:

These are the hands of your best friend, steady and constant with love,
that are holding yours on this day,
as she promises to love you all the days of her life.

Now, please join hands so that they may be fasted in the ways of old.
Remember then as your hands are fasted, these are not the ties that bind…

[Cords are held aloft]

The love already shared by your hearts
Has been strengthened by the vows you have taken
You will be bound by your love as you are bound by your clasped hands
From now until the end of your days

[As the following is recited, the couple’s hands are wrapped with cords]

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

These are the hands that will hold you whenever illness, fear, or grief may find you.

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

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children

These are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours

[Binding is finished and cords are knotted]
May they always reach out with love, gentleness, and respect.
May they build a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime.
May they always be held by one another.

If you follow these words and heed this binding,
your hands will heal, protect, shelter, and guide.

Now, I will remove the cords,
but remember the knot as a lasting symbol of your binding commitment

[Cords are removed stowed]

X. PRONOUNCEMENT
Leigh and Kendi, we have heard your promise to share your lives.
We recognise and respect the vows you have made here this day
Before each one of us as a witness.

In the honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today,
It is my honour and delight to declare you unlawfully wed!

You may seal your vows with a kiss

XI. BENEDICTION
Now, may the love that has brought you together
Continue to grow and enrich your lives
May you meet with courage the problems that arise to challenge you
And may your relationship always be one of love and trust.

May the happiness you share today be with you always
And may every word you have pledged here be a living truth in your lives.

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