THE MARRIAGE VESSEL AND THE ROSE CEREMONY

 

 ONE DAY A WANDERER FOUND

A VESSEL OF CLAY

SO ENVELOPED WITH PERFUME

ITS FRAGRANCE SCENTED ALL THE ROOM.

 
“WHAT ART THOU?” WAS THE QUICK DEMAND.

“SOME MAGICAL VESSEL OF ANCIENT SAND,

A GEMSTONE RARE IN RICH DISGUISE

OR OTHER COSTLY MERCHANDISE?”

  “NAY, I AM BUT A PIECE OF CLAY.”

 
“THEN WHENCE THIS WONDROUS SWEETNESS, SAY?”

  “FRIEND, IF MY SECRET WERE DISCLOSED,
I HAVE BEEN DWELLING WITH THE ROSE.”

 

 Adapted from an ancient fable.

  

ABOUT THE CEREMONY

“From One, comes two, comes one, comes new.”

-   Roger Coleman

 

The vessel and the rose are contemporary symbols for celebrating marriage and the beauty of human relationships.

Traditionally, the rose represents joy, even love itself. At the same time, there is a temporal quality to the rose’s beauty. The vessel represents greater permanence. It is utilitarian- created to hold something. The miracle of the vessel is that it not only protects but it is also enriched by that which it holds.

Both the vessel and the rose are individually unique. Yet, when combined, they create an even greater potential. This mixture of beauty and strength, of individuality and togetherness, offers a significant symbol for celebrating marriage.

The Marriage Vessel and the Rose ceremony is usually included in the wedding service after the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife. This sharing of gifts between the bride and the groom provides an opportunity to talk about the future by presenting marriage as a “growing in love” rather than a “falling in love.” Marriage is recognized as a life-long relationship “always in the making.”

A major contribution of The Vessel and the Rose ceremony is that it creates a tradition that can be continued by the couple to reinforce their marriage vows. By placing an additional rose in the vessel on each anniversary, couples can establish their own unique renewal celebration.

The spiritual roots of The Marriage Vessel and the Rose grow out of an understanding of God as creator and sustainer of life. God is that life-giving, life-sustaining force that calls us to seek and to find fulfillment through just and loving relationships.               

           – Roger Coleman            

 

THE MARRIAGE VESSEL AND THE ROSE CEREMONY

A Ceremony for Celebrating Marriages, Anniversaries and Renewals of Vows

 

INTRODUCTION

 (To be spoken by the officiant, if used during the wedding service, following the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife.)

Marriage is a commitment to learning to care for one another.  It is not a one time promise but a promise to be continually reaffirmed and repeated. Marriage is a relationship always in the making.

To symbolize this commitment, __________ and __________ have chosen to share two gifts, a marriage vessel and a rose.

(The marriage vessel and the rose may be placed on the altar or table near the officiant prior to the ceremony. It may also be brought forward by friends, mothers or other family members. A natural rose, of any color, may be substituted for the silk rose if preferred.)

 

THE MEANING OF THE GIFTS

(The officiant holds the marriage vessel and the rose and repeats the following:)

The vessel and the rose are symbols for God as Creator and Sustainer of Life  the One who invites us to overcome separateness and to find fulfillment in the sharing of one life with another. 

THE VESSEL

 "The Lord formed the human from the clay of the ground..." (Genesis 2:7). This vessel of clay, lovingly shaped, is a symbol of love's strength and endurance. The miracle of the vessel is that it not only protects but is also enriched by that which it holds.

 THE ROSE

 This rose, born of the tiniest of seeds, is a symbol of the potential and beauty contained in love's promises. In the words of the prophet, where relationships create love and compassion, even “the desert shall ... bloom, like the rose” (Isaiah 35: 1).

With the merging of the marriage vessel and the rose we proclaim a new relationship ‑ one that love has unfolded and is unfolding before our very eyes. May we ever respect the sanctity of this gift.

 

THE GIVING

(Officiant hands the rose to the groom who then repeats after the officiant:)

GROOM: __________, may this rose represent my gratitude

                            for the person you are

                            and the person I am becoming. (Bride takes the rose.)

 

(Alternative: __________, take this rose, as a symbol of the beauty you bring into my life.)

(Officiant hands the marriage vessel to the bride who then repeats after the officiant:)

 

BRIDE: __________,    may this vessel represent my gratitude

                   for all you have given me

                   and all we will share together. (Groom takes the marriage vessel.)

 

(Alternative: __________, take this vessel, as a symbol of the strength you give to me.)

(Bride and groom may also write their own words of commitment.)

THE SHARING

 (Bride places her rose in the marriage vessel which the bride and groom then hold together. The officiant then says the following:)

As  your gifts bring beauty and life to each other, may your love continue to blossom, enriching and strengthening one another.

MUSIC (OPTIONAL)

 (Suggestions include “The Rose,” "Evergreen" and "Household of Faith." A more classical selection is "A Rose Has Blossomed" (Brahms). “The Lord’s Prayer” or “Ave Maria” may also be used along with any instrumental music.)

  GROWING TOGETHER

__________ and __________, as you share each passing day and as your days become years, may you remember this tradition you have created.

Let the mariage vessel and rose continue to be a symbol of the beauty and strength you give to each other. And, on your wedding anniversary, may you add an additional rose in this vessel in

affirmation of your ever-growing love for one another.

(Couple hands marriage vessel and rose to the officiant:)

READING (OPTIONAL)

(Optional readings of scripture or poetry by friends, family members or the officiant may be included. Below is one selection.)

 

You and I have so much love

That it burns like a fire

In which we bake a lump of clay

Molded into a figure of you

And a figure of me.

Then we take both of them

And break them into pieces

And mix the pieces with water

And mold again a figure of you,

And a figure of me.

I am in your clay.

You are in my clay...

 

Kaun Tao Sheng, 13th Century A.D.

 

RECOGNITION OF FAMILY (OPTIONAL)

 (Couple may choose to present roses to family members or other significant persons to acknowledge their importance. If so, the officiant may say:)

__________ and __________ would like to present these roses to (their family, their mothers, etc.) in appreciation for the love and support that has brought them to this day.

 

A BLESSING

Now go forth joined together by the love of God. Go forth with hope and joy and a heart full of dreams; for the old things have passed away and a new heaven and a new earth are now your dwelling place. Go in peace. Amen.

 

“The Marriage Vessel and the Rose” ceremony was developed by Roger Coleman, a clergyman and founder of Clergy Services, Inc. Dr. Coleman also developed The Family Medallion®, a resource for including children in the wedding service when parents marry.

 

Other wedding ceremonies available from Clergy Services include “Our Wedding Celebration,” a complete wedding service for couples writing their own wedding ceremony and “The Blessing of Light,” ceremonies for lighting a unity candle.

 

 Clergy Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 32333
Kansas City, MO 64171
1-800-237-1922
 

ÓClergy Services, Inc.