Wedding Vows

Two friends of mine recently asked me to officiate their wedding outside of Tucson. I wanted to write something uniquely for them and their marriage, and this is what I came up with. I’ve taken out their full names for hopefully obvious reasons.

I couldn’t find a picture of the engagement ring that K- had made for L-, but it had a repeating spiral pattern on it created by a mathematical equation he came up with. It’s somewhat fractal-like. K and L are both computer programmers, and generally agnostic, so talking about God and Jesus didn’t make much sense for them.

Hello everyone, and welcome. Thank you all for coming, and special thanks to K-’s grandmother, D-, for performing the organ music that opened the ceremony.

We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words which shall unite L- and K- in marriage.

I’ve been told that mathematical equations are not things within themselves, but descriptors of patterns, of an action in the world, a way to make the invisible visible. This ceremony today is not the creation of a marriage or of love, but a descriptor, a symbol of the love that already exists between K- and L-. It is a manifestation of the fact that, whatever patterns have existed in L- and K-’s lives before today, from now on, they’ll make a single pattern—complex and complicated and sometimes unseeable, but always there.

Most of you have probably seen L-’s ring. It’s a set of spirals defined by a Mobius transformation written by K-. K- tells me that a Mobius transformation will always preserve a circle, and that each circle helps define the next one. I can think of no better symbol for K- and L-’s lives together: a pattern sometimes too large to be perceived, but each loop, each event, helping to define what comes next. No equation will ever exist that will be able to define L- and K-’s love for and trust in each other, but it’s there, the pattern on which they will stand for the rest of their lives.

Marriage takes love, of course. It takes trust, and respect for each other, and faith in each other. All of us have observed, in ways big and small, the love and respect that K- and L- have for each other. We have observed how good they are together, and how good they are to each other. And so this marriage involves all of us as well. We are witnesses. We can remind them, in times of hardship or confusion or sadness of their partnership and their love. We can remind them that Mobius transformations preserve circles. And we can support them when they need it.

But first. L- and K-, will you please join hands.

(Note from the future: K- and L- wrote their own vows. They had additional remarks to what I have here but sadly I didn’t save the text.)

Do you, L-, offer yourself wholly and joyfully, and do you choose K- as the person with whom you will share your life, in laughter and tears, in conflict and tranquility, for the rest of your days?

Do you, K-, offer yourself wholly and joyfully, and do you choose L- as the person with whom you will share your life, in laughter and tears, in conflict and tranquility, for the rest of your days?

You have promised before your family and friends to love and support each other, and you have exchanged rings as a token of that promise. By the authority of the state of Arizona, I pronounce that K- and L-, by the promises that they have made today, have made themselves one in matrimony.

You may now kiss each other.