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Taoist Wedding Ceremony Script

This detailed script will help you plan and celebrate a Taoist Wedding Ceremony. It includes Taoist readings from Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi), an Elemental Ceremony with candle lighting, joint 'we do' wedding vows, a love poem, and more inspired by the ancient philosophy of Taoism.

PROCESSIONAL

  • Guests are seated in a circle. The partners enter and are seated in the center of the circle, facing each other. Between them is a symbol of the Tao, such as the Yin-Yang, or the Bagua (8 Trigrams), or something else which the couple chooses to represent this.

INVOCATION

Officiant to reception

Welcome everyone, and thank you for being here to witness the harmonious, loving union of [PARTNER A] and [PARTNER B]

Now, let us give thanks to the ancestors of this couple, who are here with us now as sacred witnesses, now eternally joined together in harmony by this marriage. Additionally, let us give thanks to the universe, to the five elements, and to the movement of the eternal, mysterious Tao within all things. 

This eternal movement of the Way has brought this couple together, so that their lives have become beautifully and mutually entangled, like the Yin and the Yang, or the light and the dark, interdependent opposites which cannot be separated from each other. This unity of opposites, this harmony, shall become the source of your strength to endure life’s hardships, cherish its joys, and fulfill your duties to each other and to your family.

Master Chuang Tzu once wrote:

“Life, death, preservation, loss, failure, success, poverty, riches, worthiness, unworthiness, slander, fame, hunger, thirst, cold, heat - these are the alternations of the world, the workings of fate. Day and night they change place before us, and wisdom cannot spy out their source.

Therefore, they should not be enough to destroy your harmony; they should not be allowed to enter the storehouse of the spirit. If you can harmonize and delight in them, master them and never be at a loss for joy; if you can do this day and night without break and make it be spring with everything, mingling with all and creating the moment within your own mind - this is what I call being whole in power.”

Love is that which holds and makes whole all of life and death. May we now celebrate and witness this love, and ourselves be made whole by it.

Elemental Ceremony:

  • Both partners light eight candles surrounding their seats. Partner A holds a clay urn containing a lit candle. Partner B holds a clay urn containing water. 
  • Note: This ceremony can be performed by mixing together any opposite elements the couple finds appropriate.

Officiant to couple

[PARTNER A] and [PARTNER B], just like the dark and the light, and the yin and the yang, your union joins the male and the female in harmony.

By your marriage, you join your families and your ancestors in eternal joy. Through your children, you will unite the past with the future, here, in the present, which is the still, empty point upon which the entire world turns. 

[Partner A], you hold an urn containing a candle flame, which represents the fire element. Fire is aligned with the Yang, bright, warm, strong, but at times it may burn too brightly, or too hot. Without its counterpart, water, it may become unbalanced, and burn itself out. May your partnership bring balance, comfort, ease, and wisdom to your life.

[Partner B], you hold an urn containing water. Water is aligned with the Yin. It is cool, dark, and deep, but without its opposite energy to stir it into activity, it may become stagnant and lose its vitality. May your counterpart, fire, clarify, renew, invigorate you and transform you, so that you may live to your fullest capacity. May the dynamic unity of your elements give birth to a new life which is greater than the sum of its parts. 

  • [Partner B] places the water urn on top of the urn containing the candle. Make sure to leave a gap for air so the candle doesn’t get extinguished.

With the union of these elements, fire and water, fire gives energy to the water, and water gives form to the flame. Together, they form a new whole, in the form of steam, which rises and pervades the space we all share.

This is an expression of the great Tao of nature. This Tao cannot be named, it can only be experienced. May your marriage be a source of great wisdom for you both. May you together live in eternal harmony.

Declaration of Intent 

Officiant to couple

With each other, your friends and family, and your ancestors as witness, are you ready to marry each other?

Couple, together

Yes, we are ready!

Officiant to couple

Then we may begin.

Exchange of Vows and Rings


OFFICIANT to Couple

Do you promise to honor each other, to respect each other, to support each other, to love each other, and be faithful to each other, in sickness and health, youth and age, prosperity and hardship, for the rest of your lives?

Couple, together 

We do.


Officiant to couple

You may now exchange rings, representing the sacred bond you share.

  • Couple exchanges rings

PRONOUNCEMENT

OFFICIANT TO THE COUPLE

By the wisdom vested in me by the beauty of life, eternity, nameless Tao, the state of [WEDDING STATE], and American Marriage Ministries, I pronounce you married! 

  • The couple may wish to be pronounced another way, such as "Husband and Wife," "Wife and Wife," or "Partners in Life." Ask what they prefer! 

You may now kiss


Optional poetry reading 

  • This poem can be read at any point during the ceremony, or following the pronouncement. 
  • The couple can take turns reading verses to each other, or ask a friend or family member read it.


Married Love

You and I
Have so much love
That it
Burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay

Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.

Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.

I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.

In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one bed.

  • Poem written by Kuan Tao-Sheng (1262-1319) Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung)

RECESSIONAL

  • End of the Wedding Ceremony. Time for the banquet!

 

For more love poem examples to include in a bilinqual English-Chinese ceremony head here.



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