Beloved friends and family, welcome.

We are gathered together today on this beautiful afternoon to celebrate the union of Matthew and Alexandra, and witness the joy and love which dedicates them to one another in the excellent adventure of matrimony.

Marriage is the promise between two people who love each other, who trust that love, who honor one another as individuals in that togetherness, and who wish to spend rest of their lives together. It enables the two separate souls to share their desires and longings, their dreams and memories, their joys and sorrows, and to help each other through all uncertainties of life.


It was an online friendship at first, born from their common interest in art, music, and history. Since they are from different countries and were living 3,000 miles apart at the time they finally met face to face, it was obvious to them both that this wasn’t going to be a casual relationship. Allie decided to fly out to Vancouver to meet Matthew face-to-face. She'd never been so nervous in her life, but as soon as she met him she felt instantly comfortable, like they had known each other for years.

They were in Holland together when Matthew proposed to Allie in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. He pulled her into a quiet, beautifully lit alcove and told her to close her eyes and handed her the ring. Allie says, "Anyone who knows me well knows I wouldn’t want to be proposed to in anywhere other than an art museum, but what I wasn’t expecting was for him to propose with his mother’s ring, on his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. That made it so much more meaningful and romantic to me. I don’t think I even let him finish proposing before I said yes."

When I asked Allie what it was she loved the most about Matthew, she told me: "I appreciate his compassion, kindness, curiosity, and passion for life. He truly cares about people, about his values, about the things he loves, and is constantly positive and optimistic. He uplifts me with his cheerful and lighthearted outlook and helps me to see the lighter side of things. I truly feel like I never experienced real happiness until we met. He’s extremely supportive, creative, and inspires me artistically. He pushes me to be a better, more complete person, encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. I feel like he appreciates and understands me better than anyone, and we tell each other all the time that we are each other’s best friend."

And when I asked Matthew what it was about Allie that he loved the most, he told me, "The feeling I had in her company was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, and it has had a hold on me ever since. I understood it was a significant true love. When she isn't with me I feel incomplete. She is the most perfect sum of qualities to make me feel truly comfortable with myself. I am hugely respectful of her intelligence and has really inspired me to see the world in a more loving way. I love the way this has allowed us to grow both together and as individuals. Ever since then I feel truly happy. I want us to share all sorts of wonderful experiences. Allie is my best friend, and she has impacted me more than anyone ever has for me. We only ever come out of every experience in a positive manner, and I realized that this made me truly love who Allie is as a person."


You come as two people from your own paths, blessed, in your own ways, by the traditions that your ancestors have passed on to you, as well as the ones you have chosen to keep alive in your own contemporary lives. Today, we will honor this with a candle-lit handfasting, celebrating the Irish heritage that Allie brings, and Matthew’s Zoroastrianism. Matthew, Allie, will you join hands now?

[Alina lights the two candles.]

Fire is the symbol of all that is sacred. These two candles represent the two of you, and the light and passion which you share with one another.


[Alina takes up the handfasting cord.]

The ritual of handfasting is the symbolic binding of a couple to one another, the origin of the phrase tying the knot. This cord came all the way to us from a good friend in France and was crafted just for the bride and groom. It is made of Irish wool, studded with gemstones and charms to protect and bind them, and was imbued with good intentions and happy wishes for their future together.

[Matthew and Allie are bound.]


I would like to bestow on you two blessings for a wedding- one Irish, one Sufi.

You are the star of each night

You are the brightness of every morning

You are the story of each guest

You are the report of every land

No evil shall befall you, on hill or bank

In field or valley, on mountain or in glen

Neither above, nor below

Neither in sea, nor on the shore

In skies above, nor in the depths

You are the kernel of my heart

You are the face of my sun

You are the harp of my music

You are the crown of my company.




May these vows and this marriage be blessed.

May it be sweet milk,

this marriage, like wine and halvah.

May this marriage offer fruit and shade,like the date palm.

May this marriage be full of laughter,

our every day a paradise.

May this marriage be a sign of compassion,

a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,

an omen as welcome

as the moon in a clear blue sky.


Allie, Matthew, look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another. 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.


Now, the bride and groom have some words which they would like to share with one another.

[Matthew reads his vows to Allie, Allie reads her vows to Matthew.]


Alexandra, Matthew, the words you speak to one another today are a seal, a testament to the bond that you form with one another, and with your families. So too are the rings that you bring before one another this day- may we now have the rings?

[Person bearing rings brings them forward.]

Alexandra, would you please place Matthew’s ring upon his finger and repeat after me? (Alexandra repeats.)

I Alexandra, take you Matthew

To be none other than yourself

Loving what I know of you

And trusting what I do not yet know

I will have faith in your abiding love for me

in whatever life may bring us.


Matthew, would you please place Alexandra’s ring upon her finger and repeat after me? (Matthew repeats.)

I Matthew, take you Alexandra

To be none other than yourself

Loving what I know of you

And trusting what I do not yet know

I will have faith in your abiding love for me

in whatever life may bring us.


Charlotte Bronte speaks of such a connection in her 1847 work Jane Eyre, and I shall quote her Mr. Rochester now. “’Because,’ he said, ‘I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you — especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if [...] miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, — you'd forget me."

I beg of you both now to not forget one another. These rings symbolize the love and trust between you that you have chosen to declare as sacred on this day. May their presence on your hands remind you of your love for one another and the vows you have just taken. They have been placed on your finger as a reminder that you are together, even when you are apart.


Now, Alexandra, before your family and all those friends gathered here, do you do you take Matthew to be your beloved husband? Do you promise to love and cherish him, in good times and not so great ones, so far as this adventure takes you?

(Alexandra responds, "I do.")

And Matthew, I ask you, before your family and all those friends gathered here, do you take Alexandra to be your beloved wife? Do you promise to love and cherish her, in good times and not so great ones, so far as this adventure takes you?

(Matthew responds, "I do.")


Then I gladly announce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride.

(Kiss! ♥)

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my utmost honor to officially introduce to you as husband and wife, Matthew & Alexandra!