Wedding Ceremony Script

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The Wedding of Andrea Leticia Feinberg & Julian Conor Birtill Reid
The Oxford Union, Frewin Court, Oxford | OX1 3JB
30 June 2018

 

Bride and Groom to stand throughout ceremony.

12:25: Music to begin playing over PA system

12:56: Music (Por una Cabeza) – Registrar asks guests to stand at the conclusion of this piece of music.

13:00: Music (The Beatitudes) – Bride begins a slow walk after one minute

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Welcome/Introduction

Registrar: If I might ask you all to please turn off your mobile phones. You are more than welcome to take photographs during the ceremony but please take care not to disrupt the work of the official photographer.

Dear friends and family,

On behalf of Andrea and Jules, welcome and thank you for being here. They are thrilled that you are here today to share in their joy during this wonderful moment in their lives. The greatest happiness of life is knowing that we are loved, loved for who we are. If there is anything better than being loved, it is in loving another. This afternoon we are here to celebrate such love. And we celebrate that love within the context of marriage.

At a family celebration, it is important to remember the close ties and relationships within the family and how these strengthen and support us as we grow and develop. Today we honour the relationship between a father and his daughter as I now ask:

Guillermo – do you give Andrea into the care and security of Jules for the rest of her life?

I do.

(Guillermo sits)

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. 

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

A very special thank you to all those guests who have travelled long distances to be with them here today: Argentina, Australia, Israel, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, the United States of America, London, Liverpool, those of you who live in Oxford: all of you, no matter the distance you have travelled, play an important part in Jules and Andrea’s lives. You have been chosen as their friends and loved ones to be here on this day as witnesses to their marriage and each of you have enriched their lives in some way and so hold a very unique place in their hearts.

On this, their wedding day the bride and bridegroom face each other, make their promises and receive God’s blessing. You are witnesses of the marriage and express your support by your presence and your prayers. Your support does not end today: the couple will value continued encouragement in the days and years ahead of them.

Their love unites two different lives, cities, countries, families, and faiths. Feinberg – Reid. Buenos Aires – Liverpool. Judaism – Catholicism. This ceremony is a tribute to the couple’s creativity and mutual respect. It joins their cultural traditions and memories and symbolizes their wonderful commitment to honouring their very different roots. It testifies to their eagerness to share with one another the wealth of their individual heritages and, at the same time, to build together a unique partnership based on sharing, on joy, on learning, and on celebration.

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The Oxford Union

If I may please draw your attention to our beautiful surroundings, the Oxford Union debating chamber. Over the past two centuries, the Oxford Union has played host to some of the world’s greatest politicians and celebrities, and has frequently found itself under the media spotlight. It would be impossible to name all the famous and influential figures who have passed through the doors of The Oxford Union: Albert Einstein, Orson Welles, Mother Theresa, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama and Michael Jackson – all have contributed to the building’s fascinating history. And as Jules likes to say, with a smile on his face, the debating chamber is the perfect venue for a strong-willed couple to prepare for marriage. 

Jules and Andrea

Thanks to Match.com, Jules and Andrea had their first date on July 18th 2016 at Branca in Jericho, close to the Oxford University Press where Jules was working at the time. It left neither Jules nor Andrea with a particularly positive impression of one another! Fortunately, they decided to give each other a second chance and the second date, which took place at The Magdalen Arms on Iffley Road, was a great success.  On the 22nd April 2017 Jules proposed to Andrea at Blenheim Palace, by the temple of Diana where Winston Churchill had proposed to his Clementine. The couple had visited Buenos Aires the previous week and Jules had asked Andrea’s parents for permission to marry their eldest daughter.

Today, as Jules and Andrea make their wedding vows to each other, they warmly remember their departed loved ones who are fondly in their memories. In particular we remember Jules’s father Dr. Patrick Charles Reid, his friend Philip Pattullo, and a great friend of the Reid Family, Peter Robinson. We also remember Andrea’s grandparents Cata & Bernardo Feinberg and Estela Schvartzman.  They will always be in Jules and Andrea’s hearts, and as they celebrate their marriage they wish everybody to think of these special people who cannot be here today – and dedicate a special reading to them.

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The poet, essayist and author Jorge Luis Borges was born in Andrea’s hometown, Buenos Aires, in 1899. Andrea’s bridesmaids, her sister Paula and her friend Misha will now read a Borges poem in both Spanish and English, in memory of absent friends and family.

Shinto

Cuando nos anonada la desdicha, durante un segundo nos salvan
las aventuras ínfimas de la atención o de la memoria:
el sabor de una fruta, el sabor del agua, esa cara que un sueño nos devuelve,
los primeros jazmines de noviembre, el anhelo infinito de la brújula,
un libro que creíamos perdido, el pulso de un hexámetro,
la breve llave que nos abre una casa, el olor de una biblioteca o del sándalo,
el nombre antiguo de una calle, los colores de un mapa,
una etimología imprevista, la lisura de la uña limada,
la fecha que buscábamos, contar las doce campanadas oscuras,
un brusco dolor físico.

Ocho millones son las divinidades del Shinto
que viajan por la tierra, secretas.
Esos modestos númenes nos tocan,
nos tocan y nos dejan.

When sorrow lays us low for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls of the mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water, that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November, the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost, the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us, the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street, the colours of a map,
an unforeseen etymology, the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for, the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us – touch us and move on.

Marriage

You are here today to witness the celebration of the marriage of Julian Reid and Andrea Feinberg.

Marriage is deeper than a commitment. It is a covenant between two people and with God. It is a covenant that says: I love you. I trust you. I will be here for you regardless of the circumstances. I will not leave. It is a sanctuary safe enough to risk loving, to risk living, and risk giving yourself completely to another.

Marriage is a conscious act of will. To remain in marriage we must continually renew our will to be married. Marital partners accept the challenges that living together in love offer. They decide that they will face the fears that are a necessary part of establishing and nurturing an intimate relationship. Marriage consists of entrusting our deepest selves into the loving care of another.

It is a public and legal act, to be sure. It is also an emotional and spiritual act.

The spiritual aspect of marriage must be embraced openly, seriously, and completely for the marriage to endure. The bride and groom commit themselves today to each other in sacred trust.

They promise to embrace conflict as well as peace; to work as well as play; to struggle as well as coast; to give as well as receive; and to be with, stay with, and move toward one another.

The following reading is from the prophet by Khalil Gibran:

On Marriage

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. 
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. 
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. 
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, 
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love: 
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. 
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf 
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, 
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. 
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. 
And stand together yet not too near together: 
For the pillars of the temple stand apart, 
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Marriage is where each partner cares for the other and supports them in all that they do. It demands courage – the courage to grow and change and the courage to sort out together the tasks and challenges of everyday life. It is in this spirit that Jules and Andrea are now before us. In each other’s company they have found happiness, fulfilment and love. They now wish to affirm their relationship and to offer to each other the security that comes from binding vows sincerely made and faithfully kept.

Neil McQuillian one of Jules’ oldest friends and his sponsor at his confirmation will now read from The Bible: Colossians 3:12 – 17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Before you are joined in matrimony here I have to remind you both of the solemn and binding character of the vows you are about to make. Marriage in this country, means the union of two people, voluntarily entered into for life, to the exclusion of all others.

 I am now going to ask each of you in turn to declare that you do not know of any legal reason why you should not be joined in marriage to each other.

Groom please repeat after me

Are you Julian Reid free to marry Andrea Feinberg ?

I AM

Are you Andrea Feinberg free to marry Julian Reid?

I AM

And now the solemn moment has come for Jules and Andrea to commit their future lives to each other

Jules – Do you take Andrea to be your wedded wife – will you share your life with her – love, support and care for her through all that the future may hold?

I Do

I Julian, take you Andrea, to be my lawfully wedded wife
to have and to hold from this day forward;
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to honour,
till death us do part,

Andrea – Do you take Jules to be your wedded husband – will you share your life with him – love, support and care for him through all that the future may hold?

I DO

I Andrea, take you Julian, to be my lawfully wedded husband
to have and to hold from this day forward;
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to honour,
till death us do part,

Best Man (Tim Jones) with Rings – 

 Ring Blessing

The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond,

As you give these rings to each other, our prayer is that your love will be the same; pure and eternal. St. Augustine once said, “The nature of God is like a circle whose centre is everywhere and circumference cannot be found.” May these rings symbolize the nature of the infinite and the eternal in both your lives and your life together.

Ask best man to pass Andrea’s ring to Jules. Jules places ring on Andrea’s finger and repeats the following:

With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, till death do us part. 

Ask best man to pass Jules’s ring to Andrea. Andrea places ring on Jules’s finger and repeats the following:

With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, till death do us part. 

Please wear your rings as a symbol of your marriage and of the love that you both share.

May this union between Andrea and Jules provide the love and support for each of them to be the persons that God intended. As they now begin their journey together, we pray that God will continually guide their path both individually, and as a couple. Amen.

We will now have the signing of the register. I ask you to sit for a couple of minutes before our final reading. (Music plays)

And now a reading from Andrea’s father, Guillermo Feinberg:

The Jewish faith has always given high importance to the construction of sacred buildings. Its bricks being the most important moments lived by its people. Today, you become the builders of a new sacred space.

The building that you are starting to construct will hold your own family’s story. You are the only ones that can design it. And sacred spaces are built exactly as ordinary buildings: one brick at a time, in the right order, without rushing, ensuring that the bottom layer is firm enough before a new layer is added. You can’t skip layers or steps. One brick incorrectly fitted could risk the integrity of the project. This way they grow strong and beautiful.

Same as the building, marriage grows thanks to patience and tolerance.

Jewish weddings are traditionally celebrated under a “Jupa”, which symbolises the roof of the new home: beautiful but fragile. Beautiful, not due to the walls that hold it, but for the intensity of the love that builds it, with doors and windows opened so the new home has space for children and all those loved ones that want to share with the new couple the treasure of life.

Under this Jupa, bride and groom express their wish to start a new shared life. As old King Salomon – author of The Song of Songs – once said: Aní le Dodí….Ve Dodí Li : which means “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”. This underlines the compromise we have with whom we love the most.

I would now like to mention a personal family anecdote. My aunt was a lady that held the Jewish traditions to heart. She had, of course, always imagined her kids would marry within their same faith. However, her 2 sons married people outside of our religion, which was hard for her to accept. With time, however, she realised that her son’s partners were very good people who made them very happy. She understood that happiness is not only found in religion, but also in the human qualities of other people.

In our case, my wife and I have always tried our best for our daughters to grow up surrounded by values that would make them good human beings. We have given them the opportunity to get to know the traditions of their own religion, but we have also taught them to be open-minded to discover new cultures and customs.

Parenthood is a self-taught discipline. We believe it is easier to be students and professionals than to be “good parents”. It is a constant learning process.

Our biggest wish was for our own children to be healthy and that they would one day find a partner that would make them happy so they could re-start this cycle forming their own family.

Welcome to the family, Jules. We know that you will protect Andrea and you will have a beautiful family. 

I would like to conclude with another Jewish tradition.

A Crystal glass represents the fragility of marriage. It can crack with a simple step. Once broken, it is very difficult to repair it and reseal its pieces. This bears resemblance to a couple. Tradition reminds bride and groom that they should look after their marriage as if it was a crystal glass.

In my name and my families’ name, I would like to thank everyone here today for sharing this special moment with us and I invite you to give your blessing to the couple, for a life full of happiness.

We will now all wish them “Mazal Tov”/ Good luck!

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Dear friends and family, it is now my personal privilege and great joy to be the first one to introduce to you for the first time, as husband and wife, Mr Julian Reid and Mrs Andrea Feinberg-Reid

Please join the happy couple and Guillermo, Graciela and Mary in the courtyard for drinks and photographs.

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