This basket was a labor of love for my beautiful sister-in-law and her wonderful new husband, who just recently embarked on a crazy little adventure called dual military marriage. I’m sharing it because I couldn’t find anything like this, and I hope it makes a good starting place for others with vague ideas of doing something like it. Please don’t just copy it, it’s not meant to be a project tutorial. Put thought into the bride and groom’s taste and your own wishes for them and make it unique. There are so many ways you could represent the lines of this blessing, or another blessing (feel free to comment if you have ideas for other representations, and the best is when some things in their registry fit the bill). A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace; DH and I wanted this gift to be a tangible sign of an intangible benediction. Its meaning comes from the piece of yourself you pour into it.
With DH deployed and unable to be home for his baby sister’s wedding, we decided it was really important to give them a significant, meaningful gift. He suggested tying gifts to a little rhyme like our friends did for us. So I looked in books and searched google and scoured pinterest for ideas, poems, quotes, but there were so few good ideas, and the message that stuck out in my mind was the Gaelic blessing my maid of honor toasted us with at our wedding, which had been so touching to us:
Slainte go saol agat, Bean ar do mhian agat.
Leanbh gach blian agat, is solas na bhflaitheas tareis antsail seo agat!
Health for life to you, a wife of your choice to you,
Land without rent to you, a child every year to you,
And the light of heaven after this world for you!
(I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the line about a child every year was met with roars of laughter and yelps of “Irish twins!!” So, like good Catholics, we left it as is and prayed that God has mercy and my sister in law has a sense of humor)
So after some conversation, we came up with small gifts in support of each aspect of the blessing:
- Health: a phenomenal cook book by a holistic health nutritionist and a cute couples yoga book.
- Wife: massage oils from The Body Shop and a book on military marriage and separation. I also included a monogram coffee mug with the quote from Proverbs: “A good name is more desirable than great riches” to signify her new name.
- Land: for their first home, a cross and some picture hangers, and a screwdriver set.
- Children: a gag book called Safe Baby Handling Tips (with handy “whose turn is it?” spinner), but the real gift is an IOU for a hand made baby blanket. Once they decide to start a family and settle on a nursery theme, we can look at patterns and colors and I’ll get to work.
- Light: a leather family bible with pages to record christenings, weddings, funerals, etc, with the family name embossed across the bottom. Also a candle, to be literally a light in their home.
Then we wrote tags to go on the items in the basket, with big brotherly wisdom one side and scripture affirming it on the other. It’s just laser printed on good paper, and then glued to pretty scrapbook paper, folded, and tied with 1/8″ gold ribbon. Below is an example, and then the text of each of them.
A wife of your choice for you
N. (groom), take good care of your wife and she will always be your greatest blessing. N. (bride), bless the crap out of him.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come. “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” -Proverbs 31
Good health for life for you
The Army will take a toll on your bodies and minds, and your health is precious. Hopefully these gifts support you in all forms of health: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” -Jeremiah 33:6
Land without rent for you
Home is where your heart is, wherever you go, no matter how many times you move. Here are some things to help make each home you inhabit a pleasure and a sanctuary.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” -Matthew 7:24
A child a year for you
Okay, maybe not that many…but children are an incredible blessing when the time is right. We’ll look forward patiently to being Uncle and Aunt!
“Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.” -Psalm 112
The light of heaven after this world for you
And when our work is done, our course on earth is run, may it be said, ‘Well Done; Be Thou At Peace.’ May this Bible give you endurance to run your course and keep your eyes on the light.
“I will deliver them and honor them.With long life I will satisfy them and show them my salvation.” -Psalm 91
I had to stack it on the Bible which wouldn’t fit in the basket, but I liked the symbolism that all the other gifts are “grounded” so to speak, on God. Then, I tied it all up with gold shimmer tulle and purple ribbon, because purple was one of their wedding colors, and I enjoyed the theological significance of purple, the color of royalty, and the marriage blessing that invokes such vivid imagery.
“…By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death…” Amen.