a wedding

GREETING

Grace and peace. Faith, hope, and love from God our Father and the Lord Jesus be with you all!

My name’s Nick, and I’m a pastor at Chad’s home church, St. Stephen’s Lutheran in Monona. And I get to offer that churchy welcome though we’re not gathered at church but out in this beautiful spot, or especially here, I get to offer that greeting for this day. This is the perfect place to be right now. Thank you all for being here.

It is a good place to be, not only as we’re enjoying what’s probably some of the last gorgeous bit of a beautiful autumn. Even more, it’s good to be here for a special moment, a good focal point of life, as Chad and Kari join themselves together and make promises for the rest of life in their wedding vows.

It’s an extra special and exciting thing because it’s not just these two. They’re very excited for Sylis, Isabel, Ava, and Kenzie to be up here with them, celebrating and also joining together in a new way. This day, this wedding, isn’t just about the love of Kari and Chad, but also about the love and commitment that makes family, and so it’s not just appropriate but awesome that their kids are right here for it.

Beyond that, it also involves all of you. You’ve all got history with Chad and Kari. You’ve been important in their lives, from bringing them up and teaching them how to live and love, through all the ups and downs. And you’ll continue to be important to them going forward, so it’s good that all of you broader family and friends are here, too.

Plus, as we gather, we also gather with a greater love that surrounds us for now and for eternity. We gather in an official wedding service because we believe that God’s love is a guide for us, a reminder of how we should live, not selfishly, but dedicating ourselves and sacrificing ourselves for each other. Even more than what we do, we remember God’s love as the blessing that has sustained us through every heartbeat, that fills us with love to share, and that keeps us in a firm embrace never ever to let us go.

With that reminder to start by expecting and listening for God’s presence in our lives and God’s love in our relationships, let us pray.

Gracious God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ into the world to reveal your love to all people. Enrich Kari and Chad with every good gift, that their life together may show forth your love; and grant that at the last we may all celebrate with Christ the marriage feast that has no end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

READING (Beth)

Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.

You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself.

Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all.

A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.

You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life. ~ by Bob Marley

EXCHANGE OF VOWS

Probably among us only Chad would’ve expected such lovely words from Bob Marley, so fitting for what marriage is, in commitment and in benefit. And so that you may officially enter that together, I invite you to hold hands and exchange the promises of love in your wedding vows.

In the name of God,

I [Name] take you [Name]

to be my wife/husband,

to have and to hold

from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

until we are parted by death.

This is my solemn vow.

RINGS

I give you this ring

as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

Kari and Chad, by their promises before God and in the presence of this assembly, have joined themselves to one another as wife and husband. Amen. Thanks be to God!

FAMILY PROMISE

As we said to start, it is not just these two who are coming together, who are joined in this marriage. We also celebrate that for their children.

Chad and Kari, let’s start with you.

Will you strive to the best of your ability to be faithful and caring parents to all four of these children,

supporting and nurturing them, encouraging and guiding them as they grow and throughout their lives?

I will and I ask God to help me.

Kenzie, Ava, Isabell, and Sylis, it’s your turn for some wedding vows, now, too!

To the four of you,

do you promise to join in this family with care and respect,

for fun and for serious support,

for hard times and good,

as best you can? I do!

Here’s a prayer of blessing for all six of you, family together:
Faithful God, like a compassionate father you give your children all we need; like a loving mother you gather us into your embrace and hold us in your household. We give thanks for these children who come together and for these parents taking them to be their own. By the power of your Holy Spirit, unite them, fill them with trust, understanding, and affection; bless them as you bless us all through the abiding presence of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

group hug!

DECLARATION OF INTENTION

Again, we broaden the circle. This days isn’t just Kari and Chad. It’s also their kids. But even more than that, it is all of you who have guided them to be the people they are, who have cared for them so far in their lives, and who will abide with them in love. They are grateful for you.

To give you a chance to voice your ongoing support and declare your intention to help them in whatever way possible, I now ask:

Families, friends,

and all those gathered here

with Chad and Kari,

will you support and care for them,

sustain and pray for them

in times of trouble,

give thanks with them

in times of joy

honor the bonds of their covenant,

and affirm the love of God

reflected in their life together?

We will and we ask God to help us.

PRAYERS   For our prayers, each petition will end “Gracious and faithful God,” and your response will be “Hear our prayer” We will conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.                   Let us pray.

We praise you, O God, for the joy that Kari and Chad have found in each other, and pray that they may reflect your gracious love and enrich all of us.

Gracious and faithful God…

We are grateful for our shared lives, and for your abiding presence. Use us as family and friends to support Chad and Kari in their lives together. We pray for Sylis, Isabel, Ava, and Mackenzie, as well.

Gracious and faithful God…

Continue to give this family gentleness and patience, readiness to trust one another, the grace to comfort and to listen, to acknowledge faults and to give and receive forgiveness.

Gracious and faithful God…

We pray for places where love is lacking, where love’s healing presence is needed. We pray for all who suffer in any way, for victims of disasters, violence, and oppression.

Gracious and faithful God…

We ask for your blessing on all who are joined by bonds of love. We pray for those separated from us or who couldn’t be here today. We give thanks for the loving example of those who have gone before us, remembering Michael, Laverne, Josephine, Karen, Eileen, Mark, Marjorie, Rose, Verna, Mike, Jim, Jeni, Kristi, and others in our hearts.

Gracious and faithful God…

Creator of all, you make us in your image and likeness and fill us with hope of everlasting life through your Son’s love. Hear the prayers of your people and grant to Kari and Chad grace to live in unity and joy all the days of their lives until they breathe the promise of everlasting life through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen

Our Father, who art…

It is my pleasure and honor and joy to introduce to you Mr. Chad & Mrs. Kari Zebell!

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