Adventures, Family, Friends, Non-Fiction, Personal, Writing|

Editor’s Note: I wrote this ceremony to express my love for my now-wife. It was performed by Patricia Pettersen, a family friend of James since 2003. She owns the Pleasant Hope Academy of Tae Kwon Do, LLC.


Family, Friends, Neighbors:

We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Elgin Wilson and James Cordrey. On behalf of the bride and groom, I want to thank you for sharing in this day, and for everything all of you have done to ensure their success. Today, we join them in matrimony, and rejoice for the love they share.

Fun fact: their first date was on December 26th because they couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over before they met. They went to a bookstore for coffee. Elgin, of course, refused to let him buy her a cup of coffee or a book. She has since allowed him to make her many books richer.

Elgin, James, this marriage will be built on trust, strength, compassion, and kindness. As you grow together, so too will your relationship blossom. Like all gardens, you must tend to your relationship. Today, you commit to working together to grow your love, provide nourishment for your souls, and let joy be the light that feeds your life together.

On Love

As you take the next step in your journey together, I want you to remember the words of Robert Heinlein:

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own”.

Robert Heinlein

Today, you promise to put the other first whenever you can. To be there, in support of one another. To always seek the smile, and not the fight. 

Love knows not of hubris, nor pride, nor arrogance, nor presumption. Love knows only happiness, kindness, tenderness, and peace. Knowing you as I have, I feel confident that love is the defining feature of your lives. 

Anais Nin said, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” 

Anais Nin

Replenish your love together, in commonality, in activities and purposefulness. Be bold together, and refuse to keep score. Mistakes will be made: Forgive! Live not just for yourself, but each other, and always seek out joy so that you may burnish your love together. 


Today, you vow to always put your relationship above others. To be the light that guides the other home. To lend strength, comfort, trust, and understanding when possible. Today you vow that you will walk beside one another, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live.

Do you so promise, Elgin?

Do you so promise, James?

The Rings

The ring symbolizes a bond of trust. All parts act as equals. So to will it be in your relationship. Elgin, take this ring, place it on James’ left ring finger, and repeat after me:

With this ring, I thee wed.

We use rings to symbolize the bond between man and woman. Today you shield yourselves from the outside world. James, take this ring, place it on Elgin’s left ring finger, and repeat after me: 

With this ring, I thee wed.


In the words of William Purkey, I hope the two of you:

”Always Dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s Heaven on Earth.”

William Purkey

If everyone would please rise, it is with great pride that I pronounce you Husband and Wife. Elgin, you may kiss your husband.

On behalf of the Bride and Groom, I would like to invite all of you to join us inside for dinner, dancing, and refreshments! Thank you!

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