American Association of Wedding Officiants

Professional Wedding Officiants

Jumping the Line

Posted by AAWO on May 9, 2009

If you have attended a wedding lately you have, no doubt, noticed that the art of the Wedding Ceremony has become the art of the Wedding Ceremonies. Special ceremonies, such as Unity Candles and Blending Sands, to name just two, have become so commonplace that you would be hard-pressed to attend a wedding today that does not include at least one ceremony within the ceremony.

As today’s wedding couples take a much more involved role in planning the event, their weddings increasingly reflect their personal tastes and preferences. A couple who, for example, have children from a previous marriage, may want to include them in the ceremony in a very prominent and important way. Many ceremonies have been created over the years to accommodate these unique situations and blend them, hopefully seamlessly, into the wedding ceremony itself.

A special ceremony can be created to celebrate almost any unique situation. One such ceremony that I am particularly fond of (possibly because I wrote it) is called “Jumping the Line”.

I created the Jumping the Line ceremony for the weddings of Police Officers and Fire Fighters as a way to incorporate their love for their chosen profession into the most important and love-filled day of their lives; their wedding day!

The Thin Blue Line (Police) or The Thin Red Line (Firefighters) has come to represent that the individual is a member of the Police or Fire profession. A couple who jumps the line together, symbolizes that the spouse, who is not a member of the profession, acknowledges the duty, honor, respect, and responsibility that goes with the badge and accepts that he or she is now a permanent part of that life. And since both professions are firmly entrenched in the belief that you must protect and defend your partner as if he or she were family, jumping the line together also symbolizes that the newlyweds are not only husband and wife, but partners as well – in the truest sense of the word!

A variation on this theme could include the Thin Green Line for military personnel.

It is suggested that this mini-ceremony should be performed as the final act of the Wedding Ceremony and immediately before the pronouncement as man and wife. However, it can also be performed immediately after the pronouncement and before the Introduction of the Newlyweds.

As it parallels the “Jumping the Broom” ceremony, it is suggested that an appropriately colored (and possibly decorated) stick be used to create the line. A blue or red ribbon, colored chalk, or other blue item of your choice can certainly be substituted.

The Ceremony:

Clergy: “I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you that Groom (Bride) is a Police Officer (Fire Fighter), and that he (she) loves his (her) job – so it should also come as no surprise that he (she) wanted to include that part of his (her) life into this; the celebration of the most important day of his (her) life.

We have all heard of the Thin Blue Line (and the Thin Red Line). Although it is just a simple, understated, colored line, it represents membership in a highly respected profession. It also symbolizes the duty, honor, respect, and responsibility that goes with that job and which carries over into the personal lives of every member.

What better way to incorporate Groom’s (Bride’s) loves for his (her) job and Bride’s (Groom’s) acceptance of that profession, than to have them Jump the Line?”

Clergy places stick on ground in front of couple or points to colored line which was placed before ceremony began.

“As a Police Officer (Fire Fighter), you quickly learn that your partner is a very important person in your life and you take special care to keep them safe. The same is true of partners in marriage. As Groom and Bride jump the line, they will accept each other as partners for life, and Bride (Groom) will accept that Law Enforcement (Fire Fighting) is now a permanent part of her (his) life as well.”

“Bride and Groom please take each other by the hand and jump the Thin Blue Line (Thin Red Line).”

If performed before the pronouncement: “In as much as you have stated your intentions to live as man and wife, have exchanged vows of love and fidelity, given and received rings as tokens of your love – and have jumped the line – by the power vested in me by the state of _____, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. Please exchange your first married kiss.”

“It gives me great pleasure at this time to present to you the newlyweds, and partners for life; Bride and Groom Lastname.

If performed after the pronouncement then say only: “It gives me great pleasure at this time to present to you the newlyweds, and partners for life; Groom and Bride Smith.

Submitted by Rev. Ernest Chiaradonna


One Response to “Jumping the Line”

  1. Thanks, Ernie for writing this piece! I love it.

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