Pastoral Director Tim Gorski officiating at the wedding of NTCOF members Curtis and Sue Severns
We offer officiation for life's passages! Naming ceremonies, marriages and funeral/memorial services, while not "sacraments," are important observances. Have the experience you prefer and that honors your Freethinking values! Let us know how we can help you mark a milestone, create a memorable event or reach some degree of "closure" after a loss.
Marriage ceremonies are our most popular officiation. We can legally solemnize your wedding ceremony under the laws of the great state of Texas. Just as importantly, we can help give your ceremony the meaning that you and your intended want, free of any references to superstition or supernatural dogma. Again, just let us know what you have in mind.
For many of the couples who have married with our officiation, the following text has been the basis of their ceremony. Use it as is, make whatever changes or insertions that seem to fit best, or show us something else you'd like to do in addition or instead.
A Sample Freethought Marriage Ceremony
It was said by Aristotle more than 2300 years ago that, "It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world." The same can be said of the extraordinary combination of thought, feeling, and inexpressible spirit shared by [BRIDE] and [GROOM] that brings us all together today.
For it is as new and fresh as the spring and as old as humankind.
Today is the first day of many that will follow that [BRIDE] and [GROOM] have chosen to formally recognize and celebrate their union in marriage. Strangely, although it is a union, the mutual respect, love, and affection in which it is rooted also grow out of and give rise to the rapturous delight that comes from two separate and unique individuals finding themselves in each other.
[HERE IS A GOOD POINT FOR A READING; SOME COUPLES SELECT A SUITABLE/NONPROSELYTIZING PORTION OF 1ST CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 13: for example:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a sounding trumpet or a crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foresight and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to others and surrender myself completely, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And where there is foresight it will be unavailing; where there is speech, it will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we look to the future imperfectly. But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put childish ways behind me. For now we see as through a glass, darkly. But in a time to come, we see more clearly. Now we know in part; then we shall know more fully. And so there is faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.?]
From this day forward, [BRIDE] and [GROOM], you are agreeing to accept the responsibilities that you owe to yourselves through each other. Your tools are your own honesty, sincerity, and devotion to what binds you together: the common cause of what you both, in your hearts, in your minds, and in your souls know is most important to you. For the only way to have a good husband or wife is to be a good wife or husband. And this consists not so much in giving to each other but in helping one another to discover what you already have. For it is your faith, your trust, and your unconditional reliance on each other, even when the circumstances of the moment tempt you to lose hope, that will sustain you in your shared undertaking of a life together.
[GROOM], do you take [BRIDE] to be your wedded wife; to love and cherish her, to sustain and comfort her, to honor her and forsake all others for her, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for so long as you both shall live?
[GROOM]: I do.
[BRIDE], do you take [GROOM] to be your wedded husband; to love and cherish him, to sustain and comfort him, to honor him and forsake all others for him, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for so long as you both shall live?
[BRIDE]: I do.
Please join hands and repeat after me.
[GROOM]: I, [GROOM], take you, [BRIDE], to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.
[BRIDE]: I, [BRIDE], take you, [GROOM], to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
Today is a day that is full of intoxicating feelings, of the best of intentions and of fine words. But there will be many tomorrows that will bring worries, uncertainty, and all the other mundane and difficult ingredients of a life together. You must find the courage, and the will, and the strength to endure and even to learn and grow from all of these things. For you will come to know one another in ways that you do not know yourselves. And it is a joy of life that should not be missed to learn to love not only for what is best in the other, but despite, and sometimes even because of, what is less than perfect. When you disagree - as you will certainly do at times - let it be with humility, honesty, and trust in a love that can honor both intellect and instinct. For strength lined with tenderness will make you invincible.
Is there a ring for the bride? Please place the ring on [BRIDE]'s finger and say: "With this ring, I thee wed."
[GROOM]: With this ring, I thee wed.
Is there a ring for the groom? Please place the ring on [GROOM]'s finger and say: "With this ring I thee wed."
[BRIDE]: With this ring, I thee wed.
Let these rings be given and received as a token of the bond of your love for one another. But always remember that your marriage, symbolized by these rings, is no single band, chain, or knot. Rather, a good marriage, over time, will stitch you together with countless tiny and subtle threads that are a part of your very being.
Forasmuch as [BRIDE] and [GROOM] have consented together to be married and have witnessed the same before the family and friends gathered here, and have given and pledged their vows to each other, and have declared the same by joining hands and exchanging rings, by the authority vested in me by the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife.