On Sept 30, 2017, I married my longtime partner Kiely Holden. We were so grateful to have so much of our JNR family take part in the event, including most notably, our officiant, Tim Kinsella.
Tim provided the most honestly heartfelt ceremony we could have imagined. In talking with people in the days after the wedding, it was clear that his words really touched everyone who was in attendance. So with Tim's blessing, we decided to post his officiant script here on the JNR site.
xo Karl & Kiely
Hello and Welcome Everyone; family, friends, loved ones. As you are all well aware, we are gathered here today to celebrate the wedding of Kiely and Karl. We are all here from near and far to share and witness this formal commitment they make to one another, to offer our love and support to this union, and to help Kiely and Karl start their married life together surrounded by the people dearest and most important to them.
My name is Tim and it is of course a great honor to’ve been asked to officiate this ceremony. Full-disclosure I am 42-years old and I still feel like a little kid playing dress up in my dad’s closet anytime I put on a suit. And I have no religiosity about me beyond my constant amazement at the wolrd, a particular sense of precision of thought and expression, and a deep dedication not to what I imagine God might expect of us, but what we have all rightly come to expect of each other.
So I perform this service here today not as the representative of any denominational or political authority, but simply on behalf of my own best qualities that I aspire to and struggle daily to sharpen and retain and demonstrate: awareness, wonder, compassion, all traits that the great masters in any creative discipline strive to cultivate, whether it’s poetry or painting or drum programming, and traits that all the great spiritual teachers fundamentally had in common, whether it was Jesus or The Buddha or Martin Luther King Jr.
So welcome. Kiely and Karl thank you for your presence, and ask for your blessing, encouragement, and support, for their decision to be wed.
Who presents this woman to be married to this man?
Phil: “Her mother and I.”
DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE / COMMUNITY
Well I’ve been in love before and let me tell you, it is the toughest thing in the world.
Love changes you. Maybe more than anything else, that’s how we know when it’s happening to us, all kinds of things that we’d usually think are not like us, are suddenly how we are. We have trouble recognizing ourselves and it’s not even just some urgent command we feel compelled to listen to, it’s more powerful than that even: it overtakes you. It’s terrifying. All the feelings of “that’s not me” and “what am I doing?”
And that’s why it’s no stretch to think of love as a deepening. Your own experience of who you are and who you know yourself to be is literally expanding and deepening. So all this confusion it creates is really about discovering these chambers within yourself. And that is the power of reciprocity, when someone else, your ultimate someone, the someone that means so much to you as to provoke this change in you, also then validates this change, and appreciates it, well of course then that becomes a feedback loop or an ouroboros. The trust that blooms is all about accepting these deepest parts in the other and in yourself.
And as a relationship binds the two individuals closer and closer, you can’t help but get deeper and deeper into the truth. And that’s terrifying, the truth in yourself and the truth in the other: bad breath, clumsiness, tempers, and the struggle is to stay in it and work at it, continuously opening yourself and deepening the trust.
No ceremony can create a marriage; only you two can do that – through love and patience; through dedication and perseverance; through talking and listening, helping and supporting and believing in each other; through tenderness and laughter; through learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and by learning to make the important things matter, and to let go of the rest.
Two people in love do develop their own private language in countless small ways, their shared modes of mumblings and the glances that only the other knows how to decode. But they do not live in isolation. In bringing out the best in each other, their love becomes a source of strength with which they may nourish not only each other but also the world around them. And in turn, we, their community of friends and family, have a responsibility to them. With our steadfast care, respect, and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are creating today.
Officiant: In tribute to the importance of strong friendships and community to a marriage’s meaning and success, Kiely and Karl have asked two family members to share readings that resonate with them.
To represent their new beginning Kiely and Karl have chosen to plant a tree together. Like couples, trees are common and appear familiar to all of us when our awareness is lazy, but upon closer inspection each is truly singular and unique. When they re-plant this white chiffon tree in their yard, by the simplest instincts of nature and with the simplest nourishment of sunshine and water, it will continue to grow in its own way: raising taller toward the sky as its branches spread and expand, while its roots grip down and strengthen beneath the ground. And the return of its flowers each year seasonally will remind them of their ever-renewing commitment to each other.
(THEY PLANT THE TREE)
Officiant: We've come to the point of your ceremony where you're going to say your vows to one another. But before you do that, I ask you to remember that love – which is rooted in total trust and acceptance - will be the foundation of an abiding and ever-deepening relationship. No other ties are more tender and no other vows more sacred than those which you two now assume.
Abiding by these vows, vows deeper than any religious or civic laws could dictate, vows motivated by the drive to love and be loved fully, without limitations, will grant your lives joy and establish your home as the primary space in which you both will always find growth and freedom.
Officiant: Kiely and Karl have prepared vows for one another which they will share at this time.
(vows read by Kiely and Karl)
DECLARATION OF INTENT
Officiant: May I have the rings, please?
Officiant: Do you, Karl, take this woman to be your wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live?
Groom: I do.
Officiant: Do you, Kiely, take this man to be your wedded husband, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live?
Bride: I do.
Officiant: By the power of your love and commitment, and the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride!