A DIY Ceremony

October 15, 2015 by NJPainter

I’ve got one more wedding-related post in me – and that’s our DIY ceremony.

Writing the ceremony ourselves and having someone we knew to officiate it was important to us from the very beginning. We wanted it to be personal, informal and most of all; thoughtful. We did a lot of online research, asked a lot of friends and ended up with something half original, half stolen.


We asked our friend Scott to perform the ceremony. Scott was technically Barry’s friend first but has become another check mark on the long list of good people I have claimed as my own. He was so supportive and considerate of what we were looking for throughout the planning process. The ceremony was never something we worried about or stressed over with Scott at the helm. Plus he does improv and we knew he’d be good in front of a crowd.

See how he steps away so people can grab photos of the big kiss?

B&L-792 B&L-794 B&L-796

Here’s the ceremony script:

Friends, we gather here today to share in the union of Barry and Laurén. Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things.

Barry & Laurén have asked you here today to witness them enter the next stage of their lives.

Such a love requires that you be totally honest with yourself and your mate, that you ask for what you want, take action even though you are afraid, share your feelings and listen, but leave your partner free to be who they really are. It is important to remember that ‘relationships are something that must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place.’

Now, I think it’s important to give the story of how today came to be and tell you a little bit about the origins of Barry & Laurén. They met at work in 2007, where for the first year, they barely spoke to each other. Eventually, they became friends and confidants, sharing in their similar tastes in music, styles of furniture and crossword puzzles. They became close and would often illicit relationship advice from the other via AOL Instant Messenger conversations that would last all day. I think it’s important to note that they only sat 10 ft from each other.

Eventually, they’d come up with all sorts of excuses to hang out with one another – concerts, exhibits, Barry would always inexplicably have “an extra ticket with no one to go with” to an event he knew she’d like – they really started utilizing the city they lived in, but truly just so they could spend time with together.

They’ve asked me not to get too specific, but I’ve heard their stories and to sum it up: Work trips to Los Angeles, a powerful psychic medium, who is here today, who changed their lives forever, some experimental theatre and a ride in the back of 70’s limo, all lead to their first kiss. And as they say, the rest was history.

They never looked back. In speaking with them, I can only describe it as diving in head first. They never had the “what are we?” conversation, they just plowed forward, both having doubts in life but not about each other.

Barry & Laurén have written their own vows…

(Laurén to Barry) —

I vow to love you without reservation and to demonstrate that love in action, as well as word.
I vow to passionately pursue you, empower you and save the best of myself for you and for our home.
I vow to turn to you and not on you in uneasy waters and to weather any storms that head our way with patience, understanding, humor and love.
I vow to practice honest and thoughtful communication, especially when it is difficult to do so.

I vow to take ownership of my health and to care for yours.
I vow to challenge and inspire you – and to openly welcome the same.
I vow to grow along with you and be flexible as we develop individually and as a couple.

I vow to keep it at the center of my mind that we stood here today and chose each other.
I choose you as my point of center.
I choose you as my husband.
It is important for me to recognize how different our lives could have turned out had we not made some conscious choices.

Because I am so proud to be here. In this city. Surrounded by these people. Standing across from you.

It is with clear eyes and a very full heart that I vow to spend the rest of this life contributing and being present in this special, unique partnership.

I know that this is a once in a lifetime chance – and I vow to treat it like one.

(Barry to Laurén) —

Someone once told us we lived many past lives together.
But this one has been my favorite. I knew I loved you before you even knew it.
I knew I’d marry you before we were even together.
And as sure as I’ve been about us since we’ve met,
I’m even more sure today.Today is a simple foregone conclusion to something I’ve always known.
That’d I’d find the perfect person. My person.

And I promise to keep being your person.
And I promise to hold on to this feeling.
To keep it in the forefront at all times, no matter what life brings us.

That I will always love you and put you first.
And that I will love you every day just as I do now and just as I always have.

(Exchange rings)
Your rings are circles, and a circle is a symbol of the sun, the earth, the universe, of wholeness, perfection, peace and unity. Like circles, your rings have no beginning and no end.
Barry, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows.
Laurén, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows.

(Group Vow)
And will you, closest friends and family of Barry and Laurén, continue to support and encourage them for years to come as they unite in marriage?
We will!

May you have many joys and be the light of each other’s days. May all that you are, always be in love; and may all that is love, always be in you. May you always see and encourage the best in each other. May the challenges that life brings your way make your marriage grow strong. May you always be each other’s best friend and greatest love.

The Hebrew tradition of stomping on the glass has many interpretations, one of which is: ‘the glass is broken to protect this marriage with the implied prayer; As this glass shatters, so may your marriage never break.’

When Barry stomps on the glass, we ask you to shout “Mazel Tov!” in response, which translates to; Congratulations and Good Luck!

Next, the second line is a New Orleans tradition that was brought to the city in the 1800s. The ‘first line’ is the brass band as well as the bride & groom. And you, the exuberant dancers, strutting paraders, hanky-waving celebrators, are the ‘second line.’

By the power invested by me by the state of Louisiana, I now pronounce Barry & Laurén as husband and wife. You may now kiss.

(Barry stomps on glass)
Mazel Tov!