Unity Cross for Your Wedding

Unity Cross

Something new that you may want to consider for you wedding, a “Unity Cross”. Many people have a Unity Candle, Unity Knot, or Unity Sand at their Ceremony, here is something that has more of a Christian theme to your wedding Ceremony.

The Unity Cross is a multi-piece sculpture that is assembled during the Unity Service of your Wedding Ceremony representing how the -Two become One. You may see a video on how the Unity Cross is assembled during the wedding ceremony and you can also check out the Web Page showing various Unity Crosses you may purchase.

This is another way to make your wedding ceremony unique and give it more meaning. I like it because afterward you have something you can bring home and remind you of the commitment you have made to each other.

Adding a Little Humor to Your Wedding Ceremony

img_6206Adding a little humor to your Wedding ceremony can make it a much more enjoyable ceremony. There is always going to be the serious parts of the ceremony, ie. the Vows, Ring exchange etc. but by inserting some lighter moments, it tends to put everyone at ease, makes people feel more comfortable, and they enjoy the ceremony much more. There are a few ways to make this happen, one way is to tell the story of how the couple met, what their first impressions of each other were, their first date, first kiss, how he proposed,  etc. There is usually something in all that, that will bring a few laughs. Another way is to talk about the small things that they can do for each other that makes them feel loved and appreciated. Example. Please watch “Dancing with the Stars” with me, or support my Dallas Cowboys. It is enough humor to break the ice but still respect the moment. It should be a serious time, but with some fun.

Wedding Vows (#3)

s2-006503_2I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Pima County Marriage License

Signing the Marriage License


Pima County Marriage LicenseThe Marriage license is to be obtained prior to the wedding ceremony. It requires two witnesses who are usually chosen from the wedding party to be a part in the signing of the license. Normally the Best man and the Maid of Honor sign as witnesses but not necessarily. Anyone who witnesses the wedding and is at least 18 years old can sign as a witness. The Bride will sign this document in her maiden name, as one of the last times she signs a legal document in her maiden name. The pastor or officiant will sign the license also. The bottom portion is mailed back to the County Recorder’s office and the larger top portion is for the Bride and Groom’s possession, and will be used to change the Bride last name.

Additional information – Marriage License, Pima County

To obtain your marriage license both the bride and groom must go downtown to the Court House at 110 West Congress, 85701, Phone: 520- 740-3210. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 9:00 PM) (click here) You will go to the 1st floor Pima County Clerks – Recorders office. You must produce a valid photo ID and pay $50. The license is valid to up to one year time. No blood tests are required and there is no waiting period. The minimum age to obtain a license is 18 years of age, those under age must be accompanied by both parents or legal guardians. Those under age 16 must obtain a court order to marry. There are no residency requirements for obtaining a marriage license and it is valid for ceremonies throughout the state of Arizona.

  • No blood test is required to obtain a marriage license. Copies of previous divorce decrees are not required.
  • You may be required to provide proof of age to obtain a marriage license.
  • You will receive your marriage license at the time you apply for it; so, you can be married on the same day.
  • The marriage license is valid for one year, and it can only be used within the State of Arizona.

Origin of the “Benediction of the Apaches”

Benediction of the Apache
Benediction of the Apache

One of the more used readings or benedictions is the Benediction of the Apache. I use this sometimes when people want a Civil ceremony or a ceremony without any prayers but they want something that has a spiritual tone to it.

It has an interesting history that has less to do about Apaches and more to do about modern day fiction. Elizabeth Oakes in the Phoenix examiner writes the following account of the origin of this Benediction. Her web site can be found at (click here) and the following is what she writes about it.

“The original text of the “Apache Wedding Prayer” derives from Elliott Arnold’s 1947 novel Blood Brother, which was adapted into a screenplay for the 1950 Jimmy Stewart/Jeff Chandler film Broken Arrow. The book and film are fictionalized accounts of the historically-documented friendship betweem Tom Jeffords and the Apache leader Cochise during the Apache Wars.

To keep the fictionalized Tom Jeffords company, Arnold invented a beautiful young Apache maiden named Sonseeahray as a love interest and, as Arnold concedes in the book’s preface, he also invented the wedding rite depicted in the book. No such Apache ritual exists, according to historians John E. O’Connor and Angela Aleiss; Arnold’s wording of the “ceremony of love” is significantly different from the version we know today:”

“Now for you there is no rain,
For one is shelter to the other.
Now for you there is no sun,
For one is shelter to the other.
Now for you nothing is hard or bad,
For the hardness and the badness is taken by one for the other….”

Here is the version that is used most often. ”

Benediction of the Apaches

“Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you.
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one Life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth”

Getting a Marriage License

Signing the Marriage License

 

Pima County Marriage License
Pima County Marriage License

The Marriage license is to be obtained prior to the wedding ceremony. It requires two witnesses who are usually chosen from the wedding party to be a part in the signing of the license. Normally the Best man and the Maid of Honor sign as witnesses but not necessarily. Anyone who witnesses the wedding and is at least 18 years old can sign as a witness. The Bride will sign this document in her maiden name, as one of the last times she signs a legal document in her maiden name. The pastor or officiant will sign the license also. The bottom portion is mailed back to the County Recorder’s office and the larger top portion is for the Bride and Groom’s possession, and will be used to change the Bride last name.

Additional information – Marriage License, Pima County

To obtain your marriage license both the bride and groom must go downtown to the Court House at 110 West Congress, 85701, Phone: 520- 740-3210. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 9:00 PM) You will go to the 1st floor Pima County Clerks – Recorders office. You must produce a valid photo ID and pay $50. The license is valid to up to one year time. No blood tests are required and there is no waiting period. The minimum age to obtain a license is 18 years of age, those under age must be accompanied by both parents or legal guardians. Those under age 16 must obtain a court order to marry. There are no residency requirements for obtaining a marriage license and it is valid for ceremonies throughout the state of Arizona.

  • No blood test is required to obtain a marriage license. Copies of previous divorce decrees are not required.
  • You may be required to provide proof of age to obtain a marriage license.
  • You will receive your marriage license at the time you apply for it; so, you can be married on the same day.
  • The marriage license is valid for one year, and it can only be used within the State of Arizona.

Preferred Wedding Vows

The vows that are most preferred by the couples that I marry are shown below. They do not use the words death or obey, and have a more modern way of stating the traditional values.

The first part of the vows, the officiant is confirming the Bride and Groom commitment. The repeater vows follow, with the bride and groom repeating the vows to each other. 

The Vows            

 

Wedding Vows
Wedding Vows

____________ will you take this women/man to be your wedded wife/husband? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor her/him and keep her in sickness and in health, and leaving all others keep yourself only unto her/him so long as you both shall live?
If so respond by saying “I Do.”

Will you join hands at this time, and face each other.

Vows

  • I _________ Promise, 
  • From this day Onward,
  • That You _______________
  • Will be my precious & Loving Husband/wife,
  • And I promise to stand with you,
  • in sickness, Or in Health,
  • In times of Joy or in Sorrow
  • And I pledge to you Today,
  • Before God, Our Family & Our Friends,
  • My Respect,
  • My Honor,
  • My Patience & understanding,
  • I pledge my friendship,
  • My Loyalty,
  • My protection, and my care,
  • and all of my love,
  • for all of my life.

Are there Really fake Ministers? by Phillip Waring

 

Father Facus
Father Facus

Couples cannot wait for the officiant to say, “I do, by virtue of the authority vested in me, pronounce you, husband and wife.”

 

What if that officiant’s only virtue of ordination was to take money?

Mainstream Christian denominations, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim sects all have ministers, pastors, cantors, deacons, rabbis, mullahs and imams that will gladly officiate or perform a wedding ceremony. Most couples already involved in some religion usually have a connection or personal relationship with the person that will perform the wedding ceremony.

Couples that do not have a personal connection to a ceremony “officiant,” often turn to friends, wedding related periodicals, resort vendor lists and wedding planners for guidance. At this point, a couple usually believes they just need someone with some personality and speaking ability to oversee the ceremony and get the legal requirements completed for a legal marriage.

Arizona Revised Statues, Article 25-124 is where one can find the definition of persons authorized to perform a legal marriage ceremony. It reads…

The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons who are authorized to marry: Duly licensed or ordained clergymen, Judges of courts of record, Municipal court judges, Justices of the peace, Justices of the United States supreme court, Judges of courts of appeals, district courts and courts that are created by an act of Congress if the judges are entitled to hold office during good behavior, Bankruptcy court and tax court judges, United States magistrate judges, Judges of the Arizona court of military appeals.

For the purposes of this section, “licensed or ordained clergymen” includes ministers, elders or other persons who by the customs, rules and regulations of a religious society or sect are authorized or permitted to solemnize marriages or to officiate at marriage ceremonies.

Since marriage is a legally binding agreement or covenant between two people and can only be dissolved by death or legal divorce, the government has placed a high degree of importance and sacred trust on the persons allowed to perform marriages: only clergy and judges.

Judges are regulated by the government, and are elected or appointed by someone with authority. Separation of church and state laws in America give a great deal of flexibility and freedom to “clergy.” Clergy are created and regulated in historical traditions and are ordained on the basis of a personal relationship steeped in faith, education and trust.

In Christian denominations, ordination is highly personal and includes the historical “laying on of hands” of the successors of the Apostles. It is similar to the Jewish Semincha and the Buddhist Sangha historical traditions. It is real virtue.

What then about internet and mail-order ordinations and licenses? In many jurisdictions, they are legal. However, mail-order or online certificates are not recognized by any other faith or denomination and do not qualify individuals for any United States military chaplaincies, which raises justifiable questions about sincerity and motive of people who ordain themselves this way. Too many times it is the path of least resistance to the real goal, getting someone else’s money.

People spend a lot of money on weddings, and sadly, getting wedding money is often the only motive for the internet-ordained minister. Couples without a religious connection find these “reverends” in magazines and hotel vendor lists, not at churches or temples.

For instance, The Universal Life Church of Modesto, California has ordained 20 million individuals since 1959, without any personal relationship. The church became famous during the Vietnam war when being a minister was a valid deferment from being drafted into the military. It ordains dogs and terrorists without qualification or virtue.

It was reported in U.S. News & World Report that more than 1500 such “Reverends” feed off of the Las Vegas wedding industry. While many lawmakers realize this charade exists and is spreading our way, the Arizona Legislature has yet to successfully confront this moral dilemma.

“Minister” is a function. The term “minister” was never meant to be worn as a title. There is only one “Reverend” in the Bible, and He is God. Any “minister” throwing around the term “Reverend,” is an individual looking for special attention, and maybe wedding dollars, too.

On-line “ordination” turns a solemn ceremony of personal consecration to the sacred work of representing one’s Master, into a personal money machine. If a person is not genuine at this level, how genuine can he or she be at any level?

It’s probably O.K. to have your best friend or cousin ordain themselves on the internet to officiate your personal ceremony, but why pay some stranger $100’s of dollars, only purporting and pretending that he or she is a real minister of a real faith in a real church or temple?

Why not visit a friendly local church or temple and get some information about how much God loves you and has a plan for your life and marriage? Listen carefully and you can find a voice of truth and integrity, and perhaps the right person to perform your wedding.

Questions You May Want to Ask a Minister

1) Are you Jewish, Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu or non-sectarian? (Note: Nondenominational means Christian, but not of any specific Christian denomination, i.e., Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, etc.)
2) What training provided you with preparation for this career, and what related university degrees have you earned?
3) How long have you been a duly ordained/licensed minister in Arizona?
4) What church or institution ordained or licensed you and what is its phone number?
5) May I have the name and phone number of the key leader/moderator of the church or temple to which you belong?
6) May I have the names and phone numbers of three local clergy that know you?
7) To what professional wedding related or ministerial associations do you belong?
8) What training have you received to perform premarital counseling and are you state certified?

Celtic Wedding Blessing


Here is a Blessing you may include in your ceremony.

Celtic Wedding Blessing

Celtic Wedding BlessingMay your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. 
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase. 
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past. 
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship 
And your hearts joined forever in love. 
Your lives are very special, 
God has touched you in many ways. 
May his blessings rest upon you 
and fill all your coming days.