Small Home Ceremony


(note: this wedding is approximately 22 minutes in length)

Guests stand on both sides, making an aisle: brides enter room through two separate paths, stopping to collect a flower from their mothers at the front.  They place these flowers in a vase before photos of their grannies.

We have gathered here today to witness and celebrate the wedding of Janet and Kate.

We rejoice with Kate and Janet that out of all the world they have found each other, and that they will henceforth find the deeper meaning and richness of human life in sharing it with each other.  Thank you all for coming to celebrate their wedding, and their commitment to each other.

My name is Mary Beaty, and I am licensed by the Province of Ontario and certified by the Ontario Humanist Society to officiate at weddings.  Humanism is an ethical philosophy of life, stating that all people are equal in all ways, and that we all have the ability and the responsibility to lead ethical lives to service to each other and to the world we share.

Ring Warming

Mary invites Sonya to come forward with the rings, and explain we will pass the rings among the guests, who are asked to ‘warm them with their love’ for Janet and Kate.  (rings are tied together with ribbon). She asks that the last person put the rings into the box held by Jacob.

While the ring passing is begun, Sonya reads the following poem:

To Love is Not to Possess by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moons own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide

Couple’s Story

A fact known only to a few, is that Janet and Kate spent 48 hours together on their first date, and half way through that time (in the parking lot), Janet turned and looked at Kate and told her their lives would never be the same again. She always knew from that moment they would be together forever, and here they are three years later getting married!

Witness Support

Janet and Kate are thankful you have made the journey with them today to witness and celebrate this public declaration of the private commitment they have already made to one another. You know the happiness that this couple has found together, and you are witnesses to the pledges they will make to each other for the mutual service of their common life. They will need your love and support in the future, as well as on this happy day.

Do you now offer your blessing and support for this couple, and wish them the best of lives together?  If so, please let them know by saying ‘WE DO’.

We thank the two legal witnesses for their presence, and their willingness to be official witnesses for this couple today.


Here are some readings on love, chosen in honour of this wedding today.

(invite readers to come forward)

Classical Chinese Poem

I want to be your friend forever and ever
When the hills are all flat
and the rivers run dry
When the trees blossom in winter
and the snow falls in summer,
when heaven and earth mix –
not till then will I part from you.

Old German poem

I am yours. You are mine.
Of this we are certain.
You are lodged in my heart, the small key is lost.
You must stay there forever.

A Good Wedding Cake, Author Unknown (sent by Aunt Jane)

4lbs of love
1 lb butter of youth
1/2 lb of good looks
1 lb sweet temper
1 lb of blindness for faults
1 lb of self forgetfulness
1 lb of pounded wit
1 lb of good humour
2 tablespoons of sweet argument
1 pint of rippling laughter
1 wine glass of common sense
1 ounce modesty

Put the love, good looks, and sweet temper into a well furnished home and mix well together with the blindness of faults. Stir the  wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling laughter and common sense. Work the whole together until everything is well mixed, and bake gently for ever.

Intention to Marry

Janet and Kate, please face each other.

Janet/Kate, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Kate/Janet, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?  Each: I am.

Please repeat after me:
I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I [Kate/Janet] may not be joined in matrimony to [Janet/Kate].


Will you please join your hands?

Kate and Janet, the pledges you will now repeat are a statement of your present intent and commitment. They cannot endure unless you make them endure, with the resources you will draw each day from deep within yourselves.

The hand offered by each of you is an extension of your self, just as is your mutual love. Cherish the touch, for you are holding not only your own, but another life in your hands.

Life in its entirety is incomplete without you
I see my life in your eyes
When our lives intertwined I knew I loved you
So now with marriage we take the next step
We become a family, the family I’ve always known we were.
I love you.

Kate, You are my timeless romance, my sweetest dream,
the laughter in my life,
No matter the distance, no matter the time,
I shall cherish you and hold you close to my heart,
I promise to share in all the joys and concerns the world offers us,
and to love and support you for as long as I live

Mary: Please Repeat after me:

I call upon these persons here present to witness
That I [Kate/Janet] do take you [Janet/Kate] to my lawful wedded wife
to have and to hold from this day forward,
For better or worse, for richer or poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
until we are parted by death,
and with my earnest and complete devotion,
I give you my love.

Ring Ceremony

(receiving the rings from Jacob)

These rings, round like the sun, and the earth beneath us, are a symbol of perfection and peace, and a sign of the commitment which binds these two together They are an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts.  They have been ‘warmed’ by the love of your friends and family.  I now ask you to offer this gift to each other.

Janet, what gift do you offer to Kate that you will perform your vows?

Kate, do you receive this ring in pledge of the same?
Kate: I do.

Janet places ring on Kate’s finger

I give you this ring, that you may wear it, as a symbol of the vows we have made this day. I pledge you my love, and respect, my laughter and my tears. With all that I am, I honour you.

Kate, what gift do you offer to Janet that you will perform your vows?

Janet, do you receive this ring in pledge of the same?

Janet: I do.

Kate places ring on Janet’s finger

I give you this ring, that you may wear it, as a symbol of the vows we have made this day. I pledge you my love, and respect, my laughter and my tears. With all that I am, I honour you.

Mary: Now say together, holding hands:

Today, tomorrow, forever, my love surrounds you. May this ring remind you of my constant heart. A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lives in hope and eternally made new.


May every blessing and grace be yours,
as your lives are now bound in each other’s keeping

Closing Blessing

Irish Blessing

You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
Your are the report of every land,

No Evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen.
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea,
Nor on shore, in skies above,
Nor in the depths.

You are the kernel of my heart,
You are the face of my sun,
You are the harp of my music,
You are the crown of my company.


Kate and Janet:
You have spoken your promises. You have exchanged the signs of your commitment each to each. It is thus with great pleasure that I, Mary Beaty, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Marriage Act, do hereby pronounce you Janet and Kate to be married.



I now have the great honour to present to you the new couple: Janet and Kate! Please welcome them warmly.

Signing of marriage licence follows