I Married My Uncle

dancing into the distance

Dancing into the Distance

Frequent Photo

Last year I married my cousin. This year I married my uncle….I performed the ceremony that is.  My Uncle Jim asked me to marry him and his beautiful lady in Tahoe this September.  I wrote the vows and have included them below the fold.

Uncle Jim — Margret, we’ve come here together to be with you as you make your wedding vows.  You are joining not just hands, not just hearts but two grown families and we are here to celebrate this expanding relationship with you.

There can never be too many people to love or too many people to love you.

As your families link, creating new bonds with each other and with you, there may be difficulties –In fact, I can almost promise there will–but if you use kind words and build opportunities to laugh with each other, you will assemble a new family. One that doesn’t replace the old but rather embraces the past and includes what was into what will be.

Cherish the memories of your individual histories for they were good, too, but also revel in creating new experiences and memories in your life together–bringing the wisdom you have learned with you and creating something fresh and beautiful now.

Do you, James Kemp and Margaret McLaren, pledge to reach out to all your family, both new and old, and create bonds built on shared laughter and kind words?

[We do]

And do you, sons and daughters and grandchildren of James Kemp and Margaret McLaren pledge to do the same?

[We do]

Margaret, once you quoted something to me. You said,
“Friends never cheat each other, or take advantage, or lie.  Friends do not spy on one another, yet they have no secrets.  Friends glory in each other’s successes and are downcast by the failures.  Friends minister to each other, nurse each other.  Friends give to each other, worry about each other, and stand always ready to help.  Perfect friendship is rarely achieved, but at its height it is an ecstasy.”

Then Margaret, you told me,

On September 19, I will marry my best friend……….Jim Kemp.

Watching the way Uncle Jim looks at you, I know he feels the same way.

Do you promise to remain friends—friends who treat each other kindly and support each other and laugh with each other?

[We do]

Margaret McLaren, James Kemp. Strong friendship will carry you through the inevitable hardships of life.  You already know that. Remember though that friendship as well as love needs nurturing. The small things that you give each other—kind words, shared laughter, soft touches—will build a storehouse of strength for those days when light is dim and you seem strangers to each other.

Everyone who knows you sees that kindness and laughter fill a generous portion of your lives. Remember though, even when times are tough to share that kindness and laughter with each other abundantly and don’t be afraid to take joyously from each other either. For there are times, as you know, when one will give and the other will take.  And then suddenly, the parts can be reversed and the taker will be the one who now gives.

Your sons and daughters and grandchildren surround you.  Here in front of them, the people who know you best and love you deeply, do you promise to speak kindly and laugh often and touch softly and give generously to each other?

[We do]

If you do these things, I promise that the even the darkest times will find you side by side working together.

Do you Margaret McLaren take James Kemp to be your Husband to have and to hold from this day forward ‘til death do you part?

[I do]

Do you James Kemp take Margaret McLaren to be your Wife to have and to hold from this day forward ‘til death do you part?

[I do]

Now take the rings in your hand, warm them with the love you have for each other.  Let the rings symbolize the large things you will give each other—kind words, soft touches and shared laughter. For kindness, and gentleness and laughter may seem small things but there are no larger things than these—in marriages and in friendships and in families …Uncle Jim, Will you place your ring on Margaret’s finger?

(I will)

{exchange ring}

Margaret, Will you place your ring on Jim’s finger?

(I Will)

{exchange ring}

Here with your daughters, your sons, and grandchildren, by the power you have entrusted in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for here and forever. For now, for always, may our love surround your love. May your love always last. May your laughter echo in your great grandchildren’s ears. May life treat you gently .

With kind words, soft touches and shared laughter, reach out, hold each other.  And Kiss. [kissing ensues]

James and Margaret Kemp, Let your new life together begin.



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