The Wedding Ceremony

After the wedding prelude and processional, I typically welcome the guests, offer a prayer and ask for a declaration of intent from the Bride and Groom. This is followed by other parts including exchanges of vows and rings. Here is a sample of what I have used for many years:

Welcome:

On behalf of (Bride and Groom), welcome to this joyful and solemn occasion — as we gather in the presence of God to join this man and this woman in the covenant relationship of marriage — a relationship instituted by God and therefore honorable and not to be entered into lightly.

Note: I also express appreciation to the guests on behalf of the Bride and Groom for their presence as an indication of love and support. Then I encourage them to see themselves not merely as wedding guests but as witnesses to the vows and covenant being made between bride and groom. 

Prayer of Invocation (Seat congregation after prayer) 

Declaration of Intent:

Minister to man: “(Groom), will you take (Bride) to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live with her according to God’s ordinance?  Will you seek to love her as Christ loved the church, giving yourself for her?  Will you be kind and compassionate and forgiving as in Christ God forgave you? And, will you be faithful to her — as long as you both shall live?”

Man: “I will”

Minister to woman: “(Bride), will you take (Groom) to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live with him according to God’s ordinance?  Will you respect him and follow his leadership in your marriage?  Will you be kind and compassionate and forgiving as in Christ God forgave you?  And, will you be faithful to him — as long as you both shall live?”

Woman: “I will”

Reaffirmation of Family Ties

This is a favorite part of a wedding. The Bride and groom are in front of me with her father between them. Before asking Dad the big question, I invite the other parents to join us. Then, on behalf of bride and groom, I have the privilege to publicly express the deep appreciation they feel for all of the love and devotion invested in their lives by their parents to bring them to this day. I also take this opportunity to encourage the parents to give the new couple the space they need to forge their own family identity. Then I give this little advice: Be available but do not be overly involved.

Exchange of vows: (Please face each other):

Groom (please repeat after me) 
 
I, (Groom) take you (Bride), to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to be your loving and faithful husband, in prosperity or in need, in joy or in sorrow, in sickness and in health, till death causes us to part, according to God’s standards.

Bride (please repeat after me) 

I, (Bride), take you (Groom), to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to be your loving and faithful wife, in prosperity or in need, in joy or in sorrow, in sickness and in health, till death causes us to part, according to God’s standards

Exchange of rings:

It is good for us, when entering a solemn agreement, to set apart some reminder. What token do you give as a reminder of this vow?

(Groom and Bride)  have chosen the ring to be a reminder of their marriage covenant.

As the ring  is an endless circle until broken by an outside force, it is a fitting symbol of the unbroken union of your marriage which is to continue until broken by death.

To the Bridegroom:

(Groom),  Do you give this ring in pledge that you will keep this promise and perform these vows?  (I do)

To the Bride:

(Bride), Do you give this ring in pledge that you will keep this promise and perform these vows? (I do)

Steve Cornell

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