Welcome, family, friends and loved ones. Today, we celebrate the best of what it means to live and love. Maria-Jane and Joshua thank you for your presence here today, and ask for your encouragement and lifelong support in their decision to become a family. To those of you who have travelled a long distance to be here, we thank you. And we pause to think of those people who couldn't be here today.
Later in the ceremony, Josh and MJ will exchange rings. These rings are visible signs of their commitment to one another. Throughout the ceremony, they ask you to take part in the warming of the rings. As each of you receives the rings, please take a moment to wish them health, happiness, and a meaningful life together before passing them on to the next person. When the rings come back to them, they will hold your love, hope, and best wishes.
We are here, because Josh and MJ can not and do not live in isolation. The experience of their love touches all of us, and it is fitting that we should celebrate their happiness. This ceremony gives public recognition to the private experience of their love. We rejoice for them, and we support them. Today, MJ and Josh stand in front of you, the people they love, and say, this is the person I want to share my life with, forever. As well as a celebration of their life with each other, today is a way to bring all of you together. The world is small, and for the rest of your lives, you will share this moment. No more awkward meetings at airports, you'll have "we met at Josh and MJ's wedding".
MJ and Josh, today you embark on perhaps the greatest and most challenging of all human relationships. I am very clever, but nothing I say here today creates your marriage—you do that, through your love, dedication and support for each other. Real love in marriage is something beyond the warmth of romance, the excitement of infatuation. It is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner as you do your own. Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them. It makes joy more intense because you share it. Today you make a commitment to love, consideration and respect, to a willingness to face tensions and anxieties together, and to share each other's strength and triumphs. Respect and celebrate each other, not only for the things you have in common, but for the all the ways you are different.
Pollyanne Pena will now read a poem, Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt.
If starship travel from our
Earth to some far
star and back again
at velocities approaching the speed
of light made you younger than me
due to the relativistic effects
of time dilation,
I'd show up on your doorstep hoping
you'd developed a thing for older men,
and I'd ask you to show me everything you
learned to pass the time
out there in the endless void
If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn't even pick up my
I'd just let you take a bite
out of me, because I'd rather be
than alive alone
If I had a time machine, I'd go back
to the days of your youth
to see how you became the someone
I love so much today, and then
I'd return to the moment we first met
just so I could see my own face
when I saw your face
for the first time,
I'd probably travel to the time
when we were a young couple
and try to get a three-way
going. I never understood
why more time travelers don't do
that sort of thing.
If the alien invaders come
and hover in stern judgment
over our cities, trying to decide
whether to invite us to the Galactic
Federation of Confederated
Galaxies or if instead
a little genocide is called for,
I think our love could be a powerful
argument for the continued preservation
of humanity in general, or at least,
of you and me
If we were captives together
in an alien zoo, I'd try to make
the best of it, cultivate a streak
waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes
about breeding in captivity.
If I became lost in
the multiverse, exploring
infinite parallel dimensions, my
only criterion for settling
down somewhere would be
whether or not I could find you:
and once I did, I'd stay there even
if it was a world ruled by giant spider-
priests, or one where killer
robots won the Civil War, or even
a world where sandwiches
were never invented, because
you'd make it the best
of all possible worlds anyway,
we could get rich
off inventing sandwiches.
If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I'd still spend at least 1021 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
for the real thing.
Your love story is maybe more suited to that poem than to Shakespeare, or John Donne. Not for you, "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds", but an internet love story. One that begins with three days drinking, an errant workmate, and a Whitney Houston tribute. It was whirlwind for a time, illustrated by Josh meeting MJ's mother on the second date. 1500 texts in 5 days, moving in together after 6 weeks, being engaged after 4 months, and then, 19 months later, here we are. Josh, you want to keep her cute face around for as long as you can. You have All Of The Fun with her, and you want to keep doing that, which is as good a reason to get married as I've ever heard. MJ, you think he's perfect, and you still want to see him every day. You get to clown around at home with him, whether that home is here in Wellington, or on the private island your incredibly successful, yet to be finalised, business will finance. And his cute butt doesn't hurt.
From that first message, with a mix up over whether Black Books was based on a fantasy novel, you have known each other from then to this point of commitment. You started talking about marriage, and realised that while it hasn’t always been, it's now a synonym for the phrase "I promise to keep you forever". You bought a ring, Josh taunted MJ with it, until one night, rolling it over and "applying the ring box to MJ's face". And from that moment of yes to this you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or on Twitter—all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will"—those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"—and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.
There's a Spanish phrase that describes your true love: "mi media naranja". It translates to "my orange half". In the same way that there are no two snowflakes alike, when you cut an orange in two, those two halves will never match to any other orange half. In English, we call it soulmates. In every language, you are mine and I am yours. I find myself constantly amazed by you; by how seamlessly you slipped into my life, and by how you constantly prove yourself to be over and above everything I always wanted.
So with that...
I promise to trust you, and be worthy of your trust.
I promise to laugh with you, and never go to bed angry.
I promise to ask for help when I need it, and offer help to you always.
I promise that if a strange man in a blue Police Box tries to take me away, I will insist that you tag along.
I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone.
I promise to always walk beside you, even if there are lots of hills and I'm wearing stupid shoes.
I promise to do my best to always be the person that you believe me to be.
I promise to grow old disgracefully with you, and find you just as beautiful when we're wrinkly and disgusting as I do today.
But most of all, I promise to love you, under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, through sunshine and snowstorms, for the rest of our days, and to always turn on the light in the darkest of times.
I, Maria-Jane Brodie, take you, Joshua Franklin, as my lawfully wedded husband, my best friend, and my Companion until the stars go out.
Maria-Jane, I love you, and I promise to tell you that every... time it occurs to me and is practical to communicate to you.
I, Joshua Franklin, take you, Maria-Jane Brodie, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health, love, cherish... all of that good stuff.
I'll be ready to tag in when you get tired of arguing with idiots on the internet.
I promise to be there to help you with tattoo aftercare, even though it's entirely your own doing.
I'll be ready to act as tech support, even if you don't ask me to dismantle our electronics to make them better, stronger, faster...
And when I forget how to put them back together, I won't leave the pieces on the living room floor for TOO long.
These things I promise you because I'm romantic as all get out.
I love you, Maria-Jane. Let's just be together, okay? Okay. You and me. Time and space. You watch us run.
As the great Beyoncé, the patron saint of marriage said, if you like it, put a ring on it. These rings are the physical symbols you take away from the ceremony that signify that something significant and meaningful has taken place. Wear your rings with pride and let them remind you of the happiness you feel on this day and of your vows and commitment to each other.
This ring I give to you. It is my personal gift, my promise of love and trust, and pride that you are my husband/wife.
SIGNING OF THE REGISTER
Ladies and Gentlemen. With these vows, and exchanging these rings, MJ and Josh have declared their commitment to live together in marriage. It is my very great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife. You can squabble amongst yourselves over which is which.
Before we get to the good bit, we have some paperwork to fill out. If I can ask Shane Scannell, MJ's dad, and Laura Franklin, Josh's mum, to come forward, and if anyone would like to take photos, feel free.
UNITY SAND CEREMONY
MJ and Josh, you have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other. We have witnessed your giving and receiving of rings and the exchange of vows. I now invite you each to take your vessels of sand—which symbolize your lives from birth to this day when you vowed to join your separate lives into a life together. Please pour your individual sand together into the vase, which represents the beginning of your lives together as husband and wife. And just as these grains of sand become inseparable, may it be the same for you.
A wise man once said that every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And you two have definitely added to each other's pile of good things. Josh... you may kiss your bride. And make it a good one.