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We considered several locations for the ceremony: a lighthouse, island in the Boston harbor, castle, waterfall, beach, etc. We wanted something truly ‘New Englandish’ because we have come to make it our home. Since we are nature lovers, an outdoor garden was another option and that is when we decided to check out Tower Hill Botanic Garden. We visited on a Wednesday evening (when it is open free to the public) to check it out, found several areas we liked and determined the secret garden to be our ceremony spot. That evening we caught a beautiful sunset looking out over Wachusett Mountains and Reservoir and we knew we were sold! I was already looking forward to returning and reminiscing about our fabulous event.

We met with our Justice of the Peace, Robert Tuttle (Brad) at the Gardens to discuss the vows and ceremony details. With a little work and tedious process of elimination, we chose the following vows:

Vows
Brad:
Michael and Peggy, in presenting yourselves here today to be joined in marriage, you perform an act of faith. This faith can grow and develop and last, but only if you both decide to make it so. A lasting and growing love is not guaranteed by any ritual.

If you would have the foundation of your marriage be the devotion you have for one another, not just at this moment, but for all the days to come, then treasure the hopes and dreams that you bring here today.

Dedication, love, and joy can grow only when you nourish them together. Stand fast in that hope and confidence, having faith in your shared destiny just as strongly as you have faith in yourselves and in one another today. Only with this spirit can you forge a union that will strengthen and endure all the days of your lives.

Groom:
I, Michael, take you, Peggy, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Groom places the Bride’s ring on her finger and says:
Peggy, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. With all that I am and all that I have, I honor you and pledge my faith to you.

Bride:
I, Peggy, take you, Michael, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Bride places the Groom’s ring on his finger and says:
Michael, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. With all that I am and all that I have, I honor you and pledge my faith to you.

Brad:
With this statement made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish to declare Michael and Peggy as husband and wife.

May this day shine eternally in your lives.
May it add brilliance to every achievement and cast a divine light over any misfortune.
May you care for each other in all sadness.
May you give cheer to each other.
May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings.
May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always.

Butterfly Release
Instead of throwing rice, releasing doves, etc., we did a butterfly release to add a special and personal touch to the conclusion of the ceremony. I'm very fond of butterflies and guess it comes along with being a nature lover. My grandma has always loved butterflies so my admiration could easily be inherited from her as well.

Brad was kind enough to read the Ancient Indian Legend about this custom while we released them into the gardens:

“If anyone desires a wish to come true, they must capture a butterfly and whisper the wish to it. Since they make no sound, they cannot tell the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. Whisper your wish to a butterfly and release it. The whispering wings will relay your wish to the one who may grant it.”

We received our happy little creatures prior to the ceremony from Whispering Wings Farm here in Massachusetts and had fun setting them up for the group release. It was just yet another enjoyable detail of the wedding preparation process.

Sparkling Cider Toast and Cutting of the Cake
We purchased a bottle of sparkling cider and toasted to our new beginning. We ordered the smallest wedding cake the bakery had ever made, 6 inches in size. It was garnished with a miniature cluster of flowers that matched the bridal bouquet. The cake was chocolate, of course, with white basket weave decoration on the side.

Post Ceremony Events
We celebrated a fabulous dinner at Cyprian Keyes Country Club where they took very good care of us. A small table was reserved in the corner of the bistro with candles aglow. Before we even sat down another table of folks was offering to buy us a bottle of champagne. The chef personally delivered an exquisite display of delicious food with the words “Congratulations 08-26-02” inscribed in raspberry sauce along the edge of the plates.

Our first night together as husband and wife was spent at a delightful Bed & Breakfast in Princeton, Massachusetts called Fernside Inn. The following morning, Michael enjoyed his favorite, blueberry pancakes, along with some scrumptious homemade muffins and a wide array of fruits. The scenery both surrounding the house and the decor within the house was quite remarkable. We will most likely visit again to celebrate future anniversaries.