One of the most precious things of being a celebrant is learning a lot about the richness of rituals and ceremonies from all over the world. As an independent celebrant, I deliver ceremonies for people from all kinds of backgrounds: secular, religious and interfaith. My starting point is always with the people I meet and their unique story. If any beliefs or rituals are part of that story, I help them in incorporating these meaningful elements into the ceremony.
I recently delivered a wedding ceremony for a couple of which the groom had a Jewish background. Although he is not practising the religion, the groom and bride wanted to honour these roots and the underlying values that are still meaningful to them.
We decided to incorporate a modern interpretation of the Seven Blessings. The Seven Blessings are traditionally shared at Jewish wedding ceremonies. The blessings are adapted from ancient rabbinic teachings, beginning with the blessing over the wine and ending with a communal expression of joy. The blessings are about the creation of the world, the creation of humankind, the unity of loving people and the joy of marriage.
The traditional Hebrew transliteration, as well as some modern English variations on the blessings, can be found here.
The couple chose an interpretation of which the source in unknown. We found it at a forum of a US wedding planning website. For each of the blessings, we highlighted the central theme: love, a loving home, humor and play, wisdom, health, art and community.
We asked seven family members to read a blessing each, and to add a personal text. Some family members took a humorous approach, whereas others preferred a more serious angle. This resulted in seven beautiful, very personal and moving blessings, bringing emotional tears to the eyes of the bride and groom.
May you be blessed with love. May your admiration, appreciation and understanding of each other foster a love that is passionate, tranquil and real. May this love between you be strong and enduring, and bring peace into your lives.
2. A loving home
May you be blessed with a loving home filled with warmth, humour and compassion. May you create a family together that honours traditions old and new. May you teach your children to have equal respect for themselves and others, and instil in them the value of learning and tikkun olam (making the world a better place).
3. Humour and play
May you be best friends and work together to build a relationship of substance and quality. May your sense of humour and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship. May you respect each other’s individual personality and perspective, and give each other room to grow in fulfilling your dreams.
May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continually learn from one another and from the world. Together, may you grow, deepening your knowledge and understanding of each other and of your journey through life.
May you be blessed with health. May life bring you wholeness of mind, body and spirit. May you keep each other well-balanced and grounded, and live long that you may share many happy years together.
6. Art, beauty, creativity
May your life be blessed with the art and beauty of this world. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression, inspire you and bring you joy and fulfilment. May you find happiness together in adventures big and small, and something to celebrate each day of your lives.
May you be blessed with community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group love, trust, support and laughter, and may there be many future occasions for rejoicing in their company.