Our Wedding Ceremony

As I’ve mentioned before, Brighton and I are not a “traditional” couple, but we wanted our wedding ceremony to be just as ceremonial as any other wedding, but with our flair. I was quite the Weddit lurker on Reddit, and I found a script that someone wrote for their ceremony. Their’s seemed to fit our beliefs with the right tone we were looking for. I edited it and changed the readings to fit us a little better, and I added our sand ceremony.


This is an outline of our entire ceremony, including readings. The script is from the Reverend speaking, unless otherwise noted.

Processional & Unplugged Ceremony

Having an unplugged ceremony was a decision that I was firm on. We had debated back and forth, but ultimately decided that we wanted people to present for our special moment and let the photographers capture that, uninterrupted. I was generally happy with this decision, and to be completely honest– if people took photos, I didn’t notice since I was so wrapped up in our moment. 


Hilary & Brighton wish to thank you all for joining in this joyous celebration today. We’ll be getting started in just shortly. Before the ceremony begins, the bride and groom kindly request that you put away all cell phones and cameras. While they welcome the memorable photos you’ll capture during the reception afterwards, for now they ask that you silence and set aside all digital devices in order to be fully present with us during this special moment. Thank you.


Music as Moms Enter: Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Mother of the Bride, starts the sand pouring with Florida sand before being seated. (Explained later this post)


Mother of the Groom, continues the pouring of the Utah sand.

Groomsmen with Bridesmaids  to All of Me by John Legend



Best Man & Maid of Honor


Everyone is ready for my arrival!


Bride & Father of the Bride to Marry Me by Train


This was a great moment for me. I got to see all of our guests together, and my groom waiting at the end of the aisle for me. 🙂


Almost there…


Opening Remarks & Readings

Please be seated. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of the all mighty and in the presence of you witnesses to join together Brighton and Hilary into this honorable estate of Holy Matrimony. Today their union begins anew as one.

You are invited you here this morning because each one of you has touched their lives in some special way. Your presence is a gift of support and caring and they deeply appreciate your sharing in this special celebration.


It is our profound honor to participate in the uniting of two people already attuned to each other. When such a true bond already exists between two people, it is fitting that a public acknowledgement be made.

Lauren Oliver writes in Delirium:

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

It’s my pleasure to introduce Chase, Brighton’s brother, for our first reading.

“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”

-Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith


I’d now like to invite Katie, Hilary’s sister, to present us with our next reading.

“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”

-Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Declaration of Intent

Having chosen each other as partners for life, and in an expression of your total commitment to one another, I invite you to face each other and hold hands.


Who gives this woman to be married to this gentleman?

Brighton and Hilary, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?


Hilary and Brighton will you love and respect each other as husband and wife for as long as you both shall life?


Will you seek to understand yourselves, each other and others in your lives, and continually examine your own minds, approaching life with curiosity and joy?



It was really important to me that we wrote our own vows for our ceremony. It was something I was really looking forward to saying and experiencing as a couple. I wrote mine in January. I was also adamant about us keeping them a secret from each other until the ceremony. Brighton was worried that they wouldn’t match tone or length, so I gave him an extremely vague outline to work with. 

Our vows ended up being very similar. We referenced a definitive moment in our relationship (Angel’s Landing), inside jokes, and our TV twin couple– Ben Wyatt & Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. We both cried in that moment, and I was just so incredibly happy in that moment and that day. He’s my person. 🙂

Without further ado… Here are the vows!


Brighton and Hilary, with the support and love of all of your family and friends, you may now share the vows you have prepared for one another.




Two years ago we found ourselves in Southern Utah near the top Angel’s Landing, it was the most strenuous hike that I had done thus far. What lay before us was a natural narrow bridge with 1500 foot drops to either side. I succumbed to my fear of heights while you & Erica trailed on. I waited there for a long time, fearing what might happen. Eventually I willed myself to cross the bridge to find you. I climbed up the red rock, gripping the chains with all my strength, while trying to avoid the vertigo inducing views. It was the most terrifying thing that I have ever done. I had climbed almost all the way to the top when I found you coming down, I felt so relieved that you were alright. You smiled at me shaking with fear, and I felt something change between us.

Our adventures have taken us all over, from the Grand Canyon to Banff, from Oregon to Florida. Truly my life really began when I met you. I have lived more with you in the past 2 years than in the previous 25. I wouldn’t trade any of adventures, even the City of Rocks which was really lame because we always find a way to make every trip worth while. You are always there for me. You support me when work has been stressful, you always have an activity planned to keep our life interesting. You know me better than I know myself, you predict every quip I make and you seem to always know what I am thinking. Often a thought will enter my head, and before I’ve even said anything you will mention it yourself.

It is a magical bond that we share. I love your excitement for adventure. I love taking photos with you, but I do not love setting up the tripod. I love your comical disapproving glares when I’ve done something to tease you. I love your terrible British accent. You are my Leslie Knope, and I am your Ben Wyatt.

Today I promise that I will laugh with you in times of joy, and support you in every trial. I will share in your dreams and support you in achieving your goals. I promise to help shoulder our challenges, I will carry the extra water in my backpack, for there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together. Together, we will build a home filled with laughter, light, and love.

We have been on so many wonderful adventures together, yet we have only scratched the surface of what life has to offer. So I promise that we will never stop exploring this beautiful world together. I promise to be your loyal partner in all things. These are my sacred vows to you, Hilary, The love of my life.



Hilary Vows


I can’t believe that I am the woman that is lucky enough to be your partner for the rest of our lives together. You constantly inspire me to keep improving myself, you are my greatest fan and toughest critic, and when I am with you, I feel like we can conquer the world!… or at least Pfeifferhorn or Timpanogos? I promise to not go too close to cliffs, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t get close to them.

From the beginning, I knew you were special, though I didn’t want to accept it immediately. I would say a definitive moment for me was when I was climbing down from Angel’s Landing in Zion with Erica, and I see you with a look of determination and pure fear climbing up the chained trail. In that moment, I knew that you were the one for me. In the 3,000 miles away from home and all of my friends and family, I immediately felt at home with you.

We’ve been though panic attacks on ski runs, car theft, up and down Lake Blanche twice, and lived under the reign of our kitty terrorists. You accept, embrace and encourage my photo-obsession, which is saying a lot! You are the other half that I didn’t know I was missing, and as we say “Why do you love everything I hate? and Why do I love everything you hate?”

When we first started dating and adventuring, I felt so comfortable with you— it’s like I had known you forever. (Though, I occasionally had my worries that I was too trusting with this strange man I had just met in remote, uninhabited places).

I love the way that you put my feet inside of your jacket when they are cold on the couch, I love the way that you love our kitty terrorists as much as me (maybe more?), I love the way you keep me accountable in all walks of life and encourage me in my dreams and passions. I also love the way that you can keep me grounded when my wild dreams start taking me a little too far. It’s like you know what I am thinking before I even know myself.

To put it simply, I promise to be the best wife that I can be to you. I promise to be your adventure buddy, navigator, confidant, sidekick and superhero, best friend and your wife. Finally, I promise you myself. In the words of Leslie & Ben, “I love you and I like you”. Now, let’s get on with the greatest adventure of our lives!

Exchanging of Rings

May I have the rings?

Thank you, and we publish these rings that represent the never ending circle of your love for one another. These rings are an outward symbol, a tangible reminder to each other and to the world of the promises you’ve willingly exchanged.

May these circular bands remind you that a marriage is a continual journey with no end; just a moment to moment opportunity to love and be loved to the best of your ability.

Brighton, as you place the ring on Hilary’ finger, please repeat after me:

Rev. Kenny leads and Brighton REPEATS:

“I give you this ring to wear as an outward sign of our love and commitment

With joy, I marry you with all that I have and all that I am



Rev. Kenny leads and Hilary, please repeat after me


I give you this ring to wear as an outward sign of our love and commitment

With joy, I marry you with all that I have and all that I am


Sand Ceremony

We chose to do a sand ceremony for our ceremony because it was representative of our families and lives blending. I also liked the connection to earth and our love for the outdoors. Most times, people will get colored sand from the craft store or online, but since we came from very distinct places, we incorporated that as well.


Brighton and I collected “Utah” sand from the Nebo Loop near Devil’s Kitchen a couple weeks before leaving for the wedding. I collected my sand a week before the wedding from Clearwater Beach near my parents’ house. The distinct contrast is the red/orange sand with the white sand from the Florida beaches.


Final Reading

I’d now like to invite Courtney, friend of the bride, who will give a final blessing to the couple.



“May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance and understanding. May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you know your fullness.

A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less but more. And the valley is more because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you, and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack.  May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.

May you look for things to praise, often say “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.

May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.”

— From Blessing for a Wedding, by James Dillet Freeman.

Declaration of Marriage & Recessional

Marriage is a personal commitment. You have begun it here today in speaking your vows before family and friends and it is my prayer that you will do it again in the days and years to come, standing by each other, sharing each tender act, and each loving word, will be the declaration of what was made here today.

In the honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today, and in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida, it is my honor and delight to declare you to be husband and wife. You may seal your vows with a kiss.


Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Brighton and Hilary Gardiner!



(Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye)


Bride and Groom

Best Man (Chase) and Maid of Honor (Katie)

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen walk down aisle in pairs that they arrived in.

Family and all remaining guests

Our ceremony was a really important to the day to me– It was like time slowed down and sped up at the same time. It’s difficult to articulate all the mix of emotions I was feeling during those 30 minutes– happy, nervous, excited, focused, blissful– to name a few.

I felt like it matched our personalities and beliefs perfectly, with just the right amount of serious and silly moments. My favorite part as I mentioned was our vows. They were so deeply “us” that even as I write this post, I want to tear up and give Brighton a big kiss and hug, and tell him how lucky I am to be his wife. 🙂

Have you ever written a wedding ceremony? If you’re married, how did you decide what to include to suit your personalities and religious beliefs? If you’re not married, what do you plan to do?