Marriage of
Alexandra "Alex" Lee Torrey and Charles "Charlie" Vickroy Balch

The following marriage ceremony occured on Sunday, May 4th 1997 on our boat while anchored off Buck Island. Buck Island is a small island near St. Croix which is one of the US Virgin Islands. For the ceremony, about 20 large boats rafted up with us and about 500 friends joined us.
This is a unique ceremony. We wrote it and performed it without a third party (ie no minister or judge). Our love stands on its own and is based on very deep understandings of each other.
It is a legal marriage.
We are legally registered ministers in the territory of the Virgin Islands. Charlie was ordained and registered with the court many years ago. While he has officiated at many ceremonies, this is his first time on the receiving end. Alex registered for the purpose of performing the ceremony.

Charlie We joyfully welcome all present to witness and celebrate the joining of our lives in marriage. Here, with friends and family, we share the essence of our commitment. Today our union is formalized under the law of man. Each of us will speak words that belong to both. If we break down a little, give us a little time, our joy overflows. You'll know we're done when we kiss.
Alex Today the promise and hopes of our union are expressed. This is the most important commitment of our lives. The essence of this commitment is the taking of each other, in entirety, as lover, partner, companion and friend. This is a decision we have made with great consideration and respect, uncompromisingly with reverence and honor for each other's individuality and needs. Knowing these things, we make this commitment. Our commitment will continue to grow and be renewed.
Charlie Our union goes beyond itself to enhance the lives of others. Let our marriage create a realm where no person is ever a stranger. We hope our love, our strength, and our responsibility will radiate outwards from us, enhancing growth and strengthening our community. Just as we are committed to each other we are committed to our community.
Alex We know that we will not always perceive the world or our relationship as a joyful place. We also know that love is patient and kind. We seek to both understand and be understood. Together, through our understanding and commitment, we will overcome times of fear, discomfort, shadows, or silences. We will persevere through all difficulties with a love that rises from seeing through the other's eyes.
Charlie We promise to employ the spirit of inquiry when the need arises to adjust differing perceptions, always keeping in mind a deep respect for each other. May God grant us success in our efforts to maintain our faith in heaven's ways, our patience to listen, our capacity to understand, our compassion to accept, our joy of tolerance and our good humor. We live in joy, hope, faith, honor and love, the greatest of these being love.
Alex We happily share our selves and have thus discovered a greater self. The spirit of heaven dances between us, allowing love without striving to manage or possess. We know that personal spaces in our togetherness create a stronger whole. These personal spaces give us room to grow as individuals. Individual growth is important to our growth together -- as we each grow, the entirety of our union grows.
Charlie We know that we are each unique individuals. We rejoice in our differences as we do in the similarities that brought us together. We will live together, sharing our potentials, joys, needs and goals. This goes beyond mutual support or dependency. We promise to always hold each others dreams as our own. The challenge of our mutual goals of faith, growth, responsibility, understanding and joy excite and direct our lives to their fullest.
Alex We are partners in all things. Gladly we share our selves. This is a union of love. Through this love we find strength and courage when weak or tired, and warmth when cold or uncertain. When necessary, we will lean on each other for support. The combination of our individual strengths overcomes all weakness to create a greater whole.
Charlie Alexandra Lee Torrey, I love you. I promise to share all of my life openly with you, to love, cherish, and stand beside you, in times of celebration and in times of difficulty, in times of good health and in times of changing health, in times of joy and in times of conflict, for all our lives. Your smile is my most treasured possession; I will do all that is within my power to insure that I will always be fully worthy of it. With all of my heart, mind, body and soul I ask, will you be my wedded wife?
Alex Yes.
Alex Charles Vickroy Balch, I love you. I promise as your wife to share all of my life openly with you, to love, cherish, and stand beside you, in times of celebration and in times of difficulty, in times of good health and in times of changing health, in times of joy and in times of conflict, for all our lives. With all of my heart, mind, body and soul I ask, will you be my wedded husband?
Charlie Yes.
Alex Rings are a circle, the symbol of the earth, the universe, and eternity. Like circles, our rings have no beginning or ending. They are tokens of the relationship we have come here to celebrate and confirm.
Charlie With the presentation of this ring which is also the symbol for your family I wed you. I give you all the treasures of my heart, mind, soul and life.
Alex With the presentation of this ring and the sharing of my family name I wed you. I give you all the treasures of my heart, mind, soul and life.
Alex
&
Charlie
By our commitment and love for each other and the power vested in us by the territory of the Virgin Islands we are now husband and wife.
Charlie We are now as two, yet one. Our unity will last through all trials and triumphs that lie ahead.
Alex We will live more and more in the presence of our love, which in it's beauty extends beyond the past and future. We have joined together, and together we shall go forth.
Alex
&
Charlie
Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
The last of life for which the first was made

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