"May you always find water and shade"
May 16, 2012 4:22 PM   Subscribe

What are some non-generic blessings our officiant-friend can end our wedding ceremony with? Difficulty: no mention of God, please.

We are having a completely secular wedding but would like to end the ceremony on a thoughtful, upbeat note. We already have a poem reading as well as a carl sagan quote within the ceremony, but would love to end it with some sort of cultural or historic blessing/wish/happy thought.

(Nothing from the Bible please, even if it doesn't mention god outright-- we come from two separate religions and are trying to avoid pissing off either side of the family.)

posted by np312 to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
And now may your love of one another be revealed in this world, so that those whom love is a stranger will find in you generous friends.
posted by 4ster at 4:28 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

"May everyone be healthy, happy, peaceful, and free from affliction." I suppose, technically, this is Buddhist, but it would work in a secular context as well.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:42 PM on May 16, 2012

May you have great success in your life together.
posted by reenum at 4:43 PM on May 16, 2012

Do not deceive, do not despise each other anywhere. Do not be angry nor bear secret resentments; for as a mother will risk her life and watches over her child, so boundless be your love to all, so tender, kind and mild.

Cherish good will right and left, early and late, and without hindrance, without stint, be free of hate and envy, while standing and walking and sitting down, what ever you have in mind, the rule of life that is always best is to be loving-kind.
-- The Buddha’s Sermon at Rajagaha, Verses 19-22

Or possible some other Buddhist wedding readings might work?
posted by scody at 4:43 PM on May 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Super-secular and very good update of the Jewish seven blessings. So secular that no one will know it has its origins in Jewish tradition.
posted by Dasein at 4:44 PM on May 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

From a service by my (now late) MIL:

"May [name] and [name] find happiness in their union. May they live together faithfully, performing the vow and covenant they have made between them; and may they ever remain in sympathy and understanding, that their years may be rich in the joys of life and their days good and long upon the earth. Amen."

Congratulations to you both!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:48 PM on May 16, 2012

Best answer: Our wedding was completely secular and we were very fortunate to have an officiant that understood that. Here's what she said at the end of our wedding.

May you always have a special sense of your mission in life together, and may you never tire of the endless possibilities of exploring your shared existence.

And long, long years from now, may you look at one another and be able to say,
“With you, I have lived the life I always wanted to live.
With you, I have become the person I always longed to be.”

It worked for us very well.

posted by teleri025 at 5:05 PM on May 16, 2012 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Edward Abbey: "Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls."
posted by rosa at 5:05 PM on May 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

May the Force be with you. Glad shes not your sister, and I know she loves you.
posted by Jacen at 5:14 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Live Long and Prosper - the traditional Vulcan greeting is wonderfully short and apt.
posted by theobserver at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2012

Best answer: This isn't in the right tense (mode? I are not a grammarian) for a "may you ____" blessing, but we included this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson in our ceremony:
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — this is to have succeeded."
Congratulations! May you have strength, patience, good humor, peace, love, and joy in your life together.
posted by Lexica at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

James Dillet Freeman: 'May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.' [...] May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. [...] May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another's presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.'
posted by travelwithcats at 5:23 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: maybe a little bob dylan -

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
posted by facetious at 6:04 PM on May 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

My wife and I had a secular service as well (officiated by her gay sister, natch) and we closed with an admittedly nerdy reference couched in a Celtic blessing:
The peace of the running water to you,
The peace of the flowing air to you,
The peace of the quiet earth to you,
The peace of the shining star to you,
And the love and care of all us to you.

Guests respond:
So say we all.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:36 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

And they did!
posted by joe lisboa at 6:37 PM on May 16, 2012

Best answer: Can't beat Bill and Ted: "Be excellent to one another."
posted by elizeh at 7:30 PM on May 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm a JP and end my standard, you-didn't-ask-for-anything-specific ceremony with:

You came to me as two individuals and you will now leave as a joined couple, united to each other in matrimony. But what is most important is the love that you share. A love that transcends language, law and ritual. You must remember to cherish this most wonderful of gifts for the rest of your lives. The best of good fortune to you both, you may now kiss.
posted by teishu at 9:06 PM on May 16, 2012

+1 for the Dylan lyric. Better read than sung, but that is just me.
posted by GeeEmm at 10:25 PM on May 16, 2012

The good doctor and I had Oh, The Places You'll Go! as our benediction.
posted by evoque at 11:09 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
-- The Velveteen Rabbit
posted by thanotopsis at 6:01 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are great-- thank you so much!!
posted by np312 at 9:29 AM on May 17, 2012

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