The Wording of our Ceremony
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Planning your civil partnership ceremony
The wording of our ceremony
Music by Helen Jeffes while people arrive
Helen plays Debussy's Children's Corner Suite, Dr Gradus Parnassum, while registrar, Lorraine, makes a short announcement.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Nicola and Laura's civil partnership ceremony. They will be coming in very shortly - for the photographers among you that should be a good photo opportunity but if you don't mind, after that, could you stay in your seats during the ceremony up until the signing of the register. There is an official photographer, Paul and Nicola's cousin, Philip, who will be videoing it.
Now the paparazzi moment is over, we are here today to witness the joining in civil partnership of Laura and Nicola who would like to thank you all for coming to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in their life together as they become civil partners. Family and friends have travelled a long way to be with them today, and it means a great deal to Nicola and Laura that you can be here to share in their happiness and witness their civil partnership vows.
To set the scene and get us in the mood, we are now going to hear a few quotes about love from friends and family who represent different parts of Nicola and Laura's lives. Debbie would you like to start.
Debbie - a friend from volunteering days and another keen camper
'All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon the sand.'
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Anna - Laura's niece and goddaughter
Once in a lifetime you find someone
who touches not only your heart, by also your soul.
Once in a lifetime you discover someone
Who stands beside you, not over you.
You find someone who loves you for who you are and not for who you could be.
Once in a lifetime, you find someone as you have found each other.
Sarah - Nicola's oldest school friend
'To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.'
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Juan - a friend and former student of Laura's from Spain
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.
Sophocles (496-406 BC)
Stephanie - Nicola's step aunt
At sunset you breathe the scent of lemon trees
on the shores of the bay. At night, together on the terrace
of your villa, with fingers intertwined,
you gaze up at the stars and make plans for the future.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) from Madame Bovary.
Cath - a friend from Laura's first job in publishing
The ideal story is that of two people who go into love step by step, with a fluttered consciousness, like a pair of children venturing together into a dark room.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)
Jane - Laura's friend since school days
The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched
They must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller (1880-1968)
Sue Reay-Smith, Nicola's aunt and godmother
Love is something eternal - the aspect may change,
but not the essence.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
Linda and Miles - Nicola's friend from her first charity job and Nicola's 'godson' - all the way from France
'The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it
was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.'
Alan - a friend of Nicola and Laura's and fellow camper
'Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a
way as to complete and fulfil them,
For it alone takes them and joins them by what is
Deepest in themselves.'
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
Tovi - Nicola's friend from university, all the way from Israel
'Love has taught us that love does not
consist in gazing at each other, but in
looking outwards together in the same direction.'
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)
Sue Weller - a friend who shared a flat with Laura for nine years
'We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place in ourselves for those who love us.'
St Bernard of Clairvaux
Nicola and Laura, the purpose of a civil partnership is that you may always love, care for and support each other through all the joys of your life and cope with the sorrows. Entering a civil partnership means making a commitment to life and loving each other, to developing and maintaining co-operation, friendship and mutual respect. It calls for trust, understanding and encouragement.
Would Nicola's mother, Mim, who has travelled all the way from France to be here today, please give her reading.
Love is the most incredible of all the experiences that touch our lives.
It creates for us the world that we want to live in.
From the beginning of our lives, we know that love is the power that comforts and protects us;
It is the one feeling that we can depend upon to help us through life's ups and downs.
Love is the understanding and security that never changes;
It allows us to be ourselves and feel self-confident.
Today, as the two of you join together and commit your love to each other, remember the lessons of love that you have always known.
Let your love comfort, support and encourage you.
Let your love be the best part of your lives; always know that it will make everything better and it will make your world a place of happiness.
Thank you Mim. Ladies and gentlemen, Laura and Nicola have found in each other happiness, fulfilment and love. They now wish to read a poem to each other.
I promise to give you the best of myself
And ask of you no more than you can give.
I promise to respect you as your own person
And to realise that your interests, desires and
Needs are no less important than my own.
I promise to share with you my time and my
And to bring joy, strength and imagination to
I promise to keep myself open to you
To let you see through the windows of my
World into my innermost fears
And feelings, secrets and dreams.
I promise to grow old along with you,
To be willing to face changes in order to keep
Our relationship alive and exciting.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
With all I have to give and all that I feel
Inside in the only way I know how.
Completely and forever.
by Dorothy R Colgan
I belong in your arms
I have found a place
And securely with no doubts,
This place is filled
With happiness and laughter,
Yet it is spacious enough
To allow me
The freedom to move around,
To live my life
And be myself.
This wonderful place,
Which I never believed
I have found
In your arms,
Inside your heart,
Inside your love.
by Deborah Brideau
Laura and Nicola now wish to affirm their relationship and to offer to each other the security which comes from vows, sincerely made and faithfully kept.
However, if any person here present knows of any lawful impediment to this civil partnership then he or she should declare it now.
Repeat after me
Nicola, I pledge to share my life openly with you. I promise to cherish and tenderly care for you, to honour and encourage you. I will respect you as an individual and be true to you through all the good times and bad.
Laura, I pledge to share my life openly with you. I promise to cherish and tenderly care for you, to honour and encourage you. I will respect you as an individual and be true to you through all the good times and bad.
We now come to the exchange of rings, which is the traditional way of sealing the vows that you have just made. A ring is an unbroken circle symbolising unending and everlasting love and is the outward sign of the lifelong promise you have just made to each other.
John and James could you please present the rings.
John and James to bear rings
Repeat after me
Nicola, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, passion, affection and respect, now and always.
Laura, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, passion, affection and respect, now and always.
Anne, a very dear friend of Laura and Nicola and make-up artist extraordinaire, please step forward to give your reading.
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
You are two bodies,
but there are three lives before you:
(pointing to each of us) your life, your life and your life together.
When evening falls,
you will look up and be there for each other. You will take each other's hand and turn together to look at the road you have
travelled to reach this the hour of your happiness.
It stretches behind you as the future lies ahead,
a long and winding road whose every turning means
Old hopes, new laughter and shared tears.
The adventure has just begun.
Adapted from an American Indian Ceremony
Signing of the Civil Partnership
Music by Helen - Bach Prelude no. 1
Thank you Anne. Now the moment has come for Nicola and Laura to sign the register, which will bind them together in law in the presence of you, their witnesses and guests. Laura and Nicola would you please step forward to sign the civil partnership along with Nicky and Jo, your sisters and witnesses.
(each partner to repeat the following in turn)
I declare that I know of no legal reason why we may not register as each other's civil partner. I understand that on signing this document we will be forming a civil partnership with each other.
Now that the ceremony is over and the experience of living day by day as legal partners is about to begin, go and enjoy each other and the love you share.
Laura and Nicola, you are now partners in law and I have great pleasure in congratulating you. You may now both kiss the bride!
Music by Helen as people leave - Debussy 1st Arabesque
Friends and family to line the bottom flight of stairs for photos.