The Vows

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The Vows were written and officiated by Mary XO. For photos and a chronicling of the day, visit The Wedding.

Following is the transcription in Mary’s own words.

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November 7, 2009, (prior to leaving the cabin this morning I picked up a hand full of pebbles for use in the ceremony, I, Mary, had my Navy SEAL sweatshirt wrapped around my waist, I had the challenge pin from Anne Elizabeth’s and Carl’s wedding on board, a line or two from the vows came from Morning Glory by L. Spenser. The word “Honor” in the ceremony was influenced by T. Rancich, which when I did a light overview of what I would be covering with Jack he also made clear to me the importance of the word “Respect” and it being as prominent as honor in the promises to be made, additional meanings and traditions were researched and referenced to show respect for Mic and Jack, their families and heritage. I notate those meanings or heritages below as follows )—water is VERY important to Mic and Jack—thus the ceremony on the boat, Jack prepared dinner Friday night and made Pork Loin; significant, in Vietnam the groom-to-be brings a grilled pig to his mother-in-law-to-be as part of the betrothal, Jack also ordered a beautiful white rose bud head wreath for Mic to wear to represent a bouquet, the first evening back at their cabin after the wedding Jack tricked Mic to come outside then scooped her up and carried her over the threshold to their new home as man and wife—the Bride and Groom both wore dark pants and light cream/tan colored long sleeved shirts—the Bride wore a wreath of white rose buds in her hair—I asked the couple if they dressed to match on purpose, it seemed they only just noticed the coincidence. It was a bright sunny day, high 60’s low 70’s, seals, pelicans and other sea birds dipped, dived and played along our cruise out and during the time in the harbor, smiles abounded on board, as did wine, beer and Jack’s handmade picnic….. and then champagne!!

On a 31 foot Catalina, called “Isabelle 2” – Larry’s – Moored to two buoy’s in the harbor off the coast of Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, California – approximately 1:50 p.m. PST.

•••

THE WEDDING OF MICHELLE AND JACK

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1st Poem
The Passionate Shepherd To His Love
By Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods or steepy mountains yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


2nd Poem
By Roy Croft

I love you, not only for what you are,
but for what I am when I am with you.
I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself,
but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
and passing over all the foolish things you can’t help dimly seeing there
and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings
that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life not a tavern,
but a temple: out of the works of my every day not a reproach, but a song….
You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.

•••

The vows

There is no more wonderful ceremony in the world than a wedding.  It’s above all an unequivocal commitment to hope and love.  It is a pure act of trust and faith in the future.  It unites us all together in this one moment in time when all who’ve been lucky enough to share in your pasts—those living and those who have passed—witness the beginning of your future.  You become our hope.  You give us faith.  You remind us of our own love, the promises we’ve made.  I guarantee you that everyone who is aware of what is happening here today and as others learn of it—prayers are being made that each and every one of your dreams comes true.

It is by purpose and design significant to you both and fitting that we are on the water, here off Angel Island.  (Water plays a central role in many religions and beliefs around the world; Source of life, it represents birth, (re)birth.  Water cleans the body, and by extension purifies it, and these two main qualities confer a highly symbolic—even sacred—status to water.  Water is therefore a key element in ceremonies and religious rites.) Water is Life!  We are here to celebrate your new life as husband and wife.

New Life – you two represent this new life as a culmination through the ages of your ancestors and of man.  (A Vietnamese tradition, by your meal containing pork last night, is a symbol and show of respect to Michelle’s heritage, pre-ceremony.  After you are married, post-ceremony, the groom carries his bride over the threshold to their home, a Scot’s tradition, a proof of protection and to ward off evil.) Maybe as an acknowledgment of part of Jack’s Scottish heritage you’ll do this?  Perhaps?  Oh, I will be inserting tidbits of meanings and traditions relevant to each of your families and heritage throughout…

Love – it brings us here today.  First, you must remember to love yourself/yourselves.  By doing so, you can then love your partner/each other.

Jack, Do you love Michelle?

(Jack answered – I do)

Michelle, Do you love Jack? 

(Michelle answered – I do)

Good.  This is important—at times in your future you will be at cross purposes or adversity will test you.  When that happens, I exhort you to recall this day and what your feelings were for each other as you made your pledges, your vows of fidelity, respect, love and honor to each other.

Please join hands.

•••

The contract of marriage is most solemn and is not to be taken into lightly, however thoughtfully and seriously, and with a deep realization of its obligations and responsibilities.

Do you Jack, take this woman, Michelle, to be your lawful wedded wife?

(Jack answered – I do)

Do you promise to love and comfort her, to respect and honor her and keep her, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, and forsaking all other, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live?

(Jack answered – I do)

Do you Michelle take this man, Jack, to be your lawful wedded husband?

(Michelle answered – I do)

Do you promise to love and comfort him, to respect and honor him and keep him, in sickness  and in health, in prosperity and adversity, and forsaking all other, be faithful to him so long as you both shall live?

(Michelle answered – I do)

Jack, please repeat after me.

I, Jack, take thee Michelle, to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, respect, honor and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.

Michelle, please repeat after me.

(Mic said to me here—only if you go slower than you did with Jack—we all laughed)

I, Michelle, take thee Jack, to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish, and to respect and honor, as long as we both shall live.

(Yes, I rearranged the words a little—I was paranoid from Mic’s comments earlier, nah—I was nervous and messed up a smidge)

•••

The Ring Ceremony

From the earliest times, the circle has been a symbol of completeness, a symbol of committed love, an unbroken and never ending circle symbolizing a commitment of love that is also never ending.  As often as either of you looks at this symbol, I hope that you will be reminded of the commitment to love each other, which you have made today.  An Irish Wedding Tradition: A significant element of Jack’s heritage and his loved ones is the bride’s ring.  The ring features a unique design and is known as a Claddagh ring.  The ring is like a heart held by two hands with a crown to top it.  This very structure is significant as the hands represent faith, the crown signifies honor and the heart signifies love.

Exchange of rings

Jack:  Place and hold the ring on the finger of Michelle’s left hand and repeat after me.

“This ring I thee give, in token and pledge of my constant faith and enduring love.  With this ring I thee wed.”

Michelle:  Place and hold the ring on the finger of Jack’s left hand and repeat after me.

“This ring I thee give, in token and pledge of my constant faith and enduring love.  With this ring I thee wed.”

Now before we go further I need to pass out pebbles to each of us —I put one in each of the bride and grooms’ hands and gave Larry a couple and I kept a few in my hand—these are important and I will refer to them in a little bit.

•••

A Native American Wedding Blessing

Now we feel no rain, for each of us will be a shelter to the other.
Now we feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness, for each of us will be a companion to the other.
We are two bodies, but there is one life before us and one home.
When evening falls, I’ll look up and there you will be.
I’ll take your hand; you’ll take mine and we’ll turn together
to look at the road we traveled to reach this: the hour of our happiness.
It stretches behind us, even as the future lies ahead.
A long and winding road, whose every turning means discovery.
Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears.
The adventure has just begun.

•••

A Welsh Wedding Tradition: to honor Michelle’s father and heritage.  As a part of Welsh Wedding traditions, the guests present at the function are provided with small pebbles to throw in water as a mark of wishing the new couple.  The ripples which arise with the dropping of the pebbles are seen as signs of completion of the marriage.  The ripples are also seen as symbols of good wishes for the couple.  I think we’ll know when to throw the pebbles in the water.

By the virtue of the authority vested in me as Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages, for the county of San Mateo, I now pronounce you married as husband and wife under the law of the State of California.

You may now seal your vows with a kiss.  (Larry and I throw our pebbles into the water.)

Oh, Jack and Mic you can throw your pebbles into the water and add to the ripples.  It is my distinct pleasure and honor to be the first to Congratulate, Mr. and Mrs. Jack McFarland  HOO YAH!!

And we gave hugs and kisses to the Bride and Groom and Larry suggested we toast them and celebrate with Champagne.  And we did!

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