If you've gotten a sense of my feelings on this from previous blog entries, you know I favor short and sweet. This is a ritual that doesn't convey much action. The couple are facing one another holding hands while the officiant speaks and that's it. I did have one bride who insisted on choosing a rather lengthy version. She gave me a hug after the ceremony and whispered in my ear, "you were right, that hand blessing did feel like an eternity." Since they were standing up there staring into each others eyes for such a long time they got the giggles. Which probably means nobody heard a word I said by that point, but it was still cute.
There are many different versions of the ritual floating around the internet. I once wrote an entirely new version for a couple with a unique circumstance because of the groom's service in Afghanistan. I also customize the ritual for each couple, even if it's a matter of simply changing a few words or rearranging some sentences. For example, some couples want words included about their future children while others don't want to go anywhere near that subject. There are numerous ways to conclude the blessing and transition to the ring exchange. So rather than show all of the possible options in a blog entry, I recommend an internet search or a peek at the More Rituals document on my Creating the Ceremony page for some more options. I'll just provide a very basic example here.
Officiant: (Bride and Groom), please hold your hands with the palms facing up and see the gifts they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend on the day you pledge to uphold one another in the coming days, months and years. These hands will work together as you build your future, giving you strength, and supporting and encouraging you in all your endeavors. These are the cherished hands helping you express your love, compassion and desire.They will always be there to wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy. They will cradle your children in their loving embrace, helping keep your family warm and secure. May these hands we see before us this day be blessed and forever hold on to one another, remaining tender and gentle. May these hands help create a relationship founded in love, rich in caring and devoted to one another. May these hands that will hold your rings, forever be ready to reach out to one another in love as healer, protector, shelter and guide.
Photo Attribute: Don Eggert Photography