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::en musubi ::

Devil's Lake State Park

The Ceremony and Reception were held on the south shore of Devil's Lake. Ceremony began at 12 o'clock noon, outside the Red Oak shelter. Following the ceremony, a celebratory brunch was provided.

Ceremony Explanations:

Ritual Circle:
Rather than having our guests sit in rows, we asked that they form a circle to view our ceremony.

The unbroken circle is a symbol of spirit, of protection and of connectedness. It represents unity, the unbroken ecological cycle of Life-Death-Rebirth and the Wheel of the Year, and restates our interconnection to the world around us.

We felt it was more inclusive for our guests, and projected their positive energy and wishes inward upon each other and upon us.

Handfasting:
Handfasting is related to an old Celtic ceremony of unityand represents the intent of the people involved to make their lives together and ideally to love and cherish one another.

Couples often still exchange rings during handfastings - a ring symbolises the couple's desire to be faithful to each other and their desire to share the rest of their lives together.

During the ceremony the couples hands are tied together with a cord (hence the phrase "tying the knot,") wound around the wrists over the top of one and under and around the other, thus creating the infinity symbol. The cord which is used is often kept by the couple as a reminder of their vows.

The cords chosen for our ceremony were garnet red, to represent the passion and strength in our relationship; olive green to represent growth and nurturing; and silver, to represent creativity, inspration, vision, and protection.

Vows:

Jeffrey: I, Jeffrey, join my life to yours, Alyssa, not merely as your partner, but as your friend, your lover, and your confidant.

I promise to give you the best of myself, keep your secrets and share your burdens.

I promise to stand by your side no matter what challenges we face.

I promise to trust you and believe in you, and I promise that I will love and cherish you today and for all our tomorrows.

Alyska: I join my life to yours, Jeffrey, not merely as your partner, but as your friend, your lover, and your confidant.

Everything I need today is standing right in front of me.

I promise to support you through bad times and good.

I promise to trust you and believe in you, and I promise that I will love and cherish you today and for all our tomorrows.

I give you my heart.

Eric (officiant): (to guests) Will all of you, present here and witnessing these vows, assist and support these (two) people in their union?

Guests: We will.

Rings:
The symbolism of the circular rings was explained by the great Native American leader, Black Elk, who said:

“Everything the Power of the Worlds does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are the stars. The wind in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in circles ... The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always coming back again to where they were. The life of a man or a woman is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”

Jeff & Alyssa: I commit myself to the bond and unique relationship that exists between us, and pledge to keep it alive. As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.

Stone Ritual:
Our ritual is a modification of an older one. When a wedding is outside and near water, Blessing or Wishing stones are either gathered at the site or provided by the couple not only for themselves but for the wedding party and guests as well.

We chose rough garnets as our blessing stone. Throughout history, garnets have been a symbol of protection, believed guard one from poisons and cure other sicknesses. They were believed to have the powers to smooth discord and to prevent bloodshed, and considered the gem of faith and truth.

In the original ritual, after the ceremony the guests follow the bride and groom's recessional to the water, make a wish or blessing for them and cast their stone into the water.

Rather than toss our stones into the water, we decided to collect them and keep them in a stained glass box as a reminder of celebrating our wedding day with all of you.