Brian and Lonna’s Wedding Ceremony, June 4th, 2011

written and spoken by our dear, honorable, uncle, reverend, godfather Lenius Jackson esquire. copied directly from paper taped within the pages of Huckleberry Finn sitting on a shelf in our living room.

We are gathered here today as friends and family to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to our best wishes and blessings to the words which shall unite Lonna Allison Cottrell and Brian Jerry Thompson in matrimony. You have shared and contributed to their lives in the past, and by witnessing and celebrating their matrimony today. Lonna and Brian ask you to share in their future.

We take a moment to recognize the family members of Lonna and Brian and to thank them for their love, support, and devotion that helped them grow into the two beautiful individuals who are here today. And to their family, we thank you for teaching them values, supporting them, and showing them the beauty and joy of loving one another. This is also a time to celebrate all those who have touched their lives, but are not able to be with us in person today, but are here in spirit. Everyone who has ever loved us is part of us; let us remember them. [pause]

Marriage is a promise, made in the hearts of two people who love each other, the fulfillment of which is realized over time. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s lover, teacher, listener, critic and best friend.

It is this commitment that Lonna and Brian make here today.

To this moment you–Lonna and Brian–bring the fullness of your hearts, a treasure to share with one another. You bring hopes and dreams that can lift you together. You bring unique histories, personalities, and spirits from which will flow the reality of life together. To the family you are creating, you each bring children, Amalia and Simon.

Lonna and Brian, your initial attraction was so great, that you nervously fumbled through your first kiss. Yet, soon became inseparable best friends. Brian you admire Lonna as an avid reader and lover of art. Not only do you, Lonna, accept that Brian is a thirty-five year old skateboarder, but you encourage it.

As Mali eloquently quipped: “You are both weird and, thus, perfect for one another.” In addition to your physical attraction for one another, another aspect of what has brought you together is mutual appreciation of the dedicated and creative parenting you each provide to Mali and Simon.

We rejoice with you now as you express the outward symbol of your inward union of hearts. It is a union of hearts. It is a union already begun in friendship, respect, and love.

And now Brian’s namesake and cousin, Brianna, is going to read a very special poem. Brian sent this poem to Lonna on her birthday, shortly before asking her to marry him.

Poem (Brianna)

“I carry your heart” be E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
 i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Affirmation of Love (Leni)

[to audience]

We don’t call him Sweets for nothing.

Lonna and Brian – as you enter into this marriage, you this day affirm your faith and love for one another, and you pledge to cherish each other – as unique individuals, to respect the thoughts, ideas and suggestions of one another. You pledge to forgive, to not hold grudges, and to live each day so that you may share it together. From this day forward you shall be each others home, comfort, and refuge.

To make your relationship work will take love. This is the core of your marriage and why you are here. It will take trust, to want the best for each other. It will take dedication, to stay open to one another – and to learn and grow together. It will take faith, to go forward together without knowing exactly what the future brings. And it will take commitment; to hold true to the journey you both start today, together.

Presentation of the Rings (Leni)

Can I have the rings [Kris gives Leni both rings]

These rings are not gold, tungsten, titanium, or silver. They have been carefully crafted from oak. Oak symbolizes life, strength, protection, and durability; essential ingredients for the future. These rings, like your love, have no beginning or end and will stand the test of time.

Exchange of Vows and Rings (Lonna, Brian, Leni)

 [As Leni gives Brian his wife’s ring]

Brian place this ring on Lonna’s finger and repeat after me.


I pledge my love to you, and everything that I own. I promise you the first bite from my plate, and the first drink from my cup. I pledge that your name will always be the name I cry aloud in the dead of night. I promise to honor you above all others. Our love is never-ending, and we will remain, forevermore, equals in our marriage.

[As Leni gives Lonna her husband’s ring]

Lonna place this ring on Brian’s finger and repeat after me.


I pledge my love to you, and everything that I own. I promise you the first bite from my plate, and the first drink from my cup. I pledge that your name will always be the name I cry aloud in the dead of night. I promise to honor you above all others. Our love is never-ending, and we will remain, forevermore, equals in our marriage.

Recognition of Marriage (Leni)

By the power invested in me by the State of New Jersey, it is with great pleasure that I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss.

Jumping of the Broom (Brian, Lonna, Simon, and Mali)

Today is not just about Brian and Lonna becoming husband and wife–it is also about Mali and Simon. Today, they become a family.

May I have the broom please? [Alex and Cleo present the broom] 

Jumping of the broom has roots in many cultures–including African, Celtic, Irish, Welsh, and African-American.

As you Lonna, Brian, Mali, and Simon jump the broom, you will be sweeping away negative energy, and making away for the good things that are to come in your lives.

You will physically and spiritually cross the threshold and leap into a new life as a family.

[to the audience] Please everyone count with me. On the count of three: 1, 2, 3… Jump![Lonna and Brian hold hands and jump]

One more time: together! 1, 2, 3… Jump![Amalia and Simon hold hands and jump]

[Group hug]

Please join this new family in celebration.

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