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    Seven Wedding Blessings

    reverendAs an Interfaith minister, I close most weddings with a blessing of some sort, whatever religious traditions the brides and grooms follow. It is one of the traditional elements in most weddings across cultures and faith traditions worldwide. These include the following:

    • Welcome
    • Homily, or short message about marriage
    • Statement of intention (the “I do!” part)
    • Vows
    • Exchanging of rings
    • Blessing or prayer
    • Pronouncement
    • Kiss
    • Introduction of the new couple

    All of these elements are important, of course. Each has its place in the ceremony, and most couples favor some more than others. And many couples add other rituals: handfasting, unity candles, water rituals, tea ceremonies, honoring the parents, and often poetry and music.

    But me? My favorite part is the blessing! We bless the couple on the next phase of their life’s journey, marriage, and when we bless the couple, everyone else is blessed too. Giving a blessing is also receiving one! (Blessings are like hugs that way.)

    Recently, I participated with the San Francisco Bay Times in the Pride Parade, and it was absolutely thrilling to experience all of that joy, celebration, gratitude, regeneration of spirit that were in the air everywhere! It was truly a perfect synchronicity: the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right—the same month as Pride is celebrated all over the nation—and on the Friday of San Francisco’s fabulous Pride weekend!

    So, in honor of Pride, in honor of “Love Wins,” in honor of marriage being totally available to every citizen, and in honor of every couple, married or not, I offer one of my favorite blessings:

    Seven Wedding Blessings

    In Jewish tradition, the couple are bestowed with seven wedding blessings. Seven is considered a mystical number. In Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, it is believed there are seven spheres of the soul and seven heavens. As we recite these blessings, we pray that you will enter into each other’s souls, and thus, experience the heaven of these blessings!

    May you be blessed with love. May understanding between you bring a deep and abiding peace into your lives. May this love between you be strong and enduring.

    May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continue to learn from one another and the world.

    May you be blessed with community. May you remember always your essential part in the circle of family and friends.

    May you be aware always of the mutual love, trust, support and respect of your community.

    May you be blessed with friendship. May your knowledge of one another, and the mutual sharing of your deepest truths and discoveries bring you closer over all the years of your life together, and you become better together than either of you is apart.

    May you be blessed with good health. May life bestow upon you wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. May you live long, so that you may share many more joyous, loving years together.

    May you be blessed by nature in all her magnificence. May you commune with nature and through it, experience a sense of transcendence.

    May you experience peace in the center of this marriage.

    Reverend Elizabeth River is an ordained Interfaith Minister based in the North Bay. For more information, please visit