You're getting married! Now, which ceremony is right for you?
There are so many kinds of nuptial rites to choose from. Do you want traditional? Multi-cultural? Or short and sweet?
BY: Rob Kerby
THE BASIC CHRISTIAN CEREMONY
Here is a very basic Christian ceremony. A preacher in a non-liturgical congregation, such as Baptist, Assemblies of God or Church of Christ, might use this or something similar. Most presiding clergy are very open to your suggestions – and can alter the ceremony to meet your particular needs. Here, the preacher will say something such as:
Dearly Beloved: We are gathered here, in the presence of God and of this company, that Bride and Groom may be united in holy matrimony. We are here to celebrate and share in the glorious act that God is about to perform – the act by which He converts their love for one another into the holy and sacred estate of marriage.
This relationship is an honorable and sacred one, established by our Creator for the welfare and happiness of mankind and approved by the Apostle Paul as honorable among all men. It is designed to unite two sympathies and hopes into one; and it rests upon the mutual confidence and devotion of husband and wife.
May it be in extreme thoughtfulness and reverence and in dependence upon divine guidance, that you enter now into this holy relationship.
Being assured that your love and your choice of each other as lifelong companions are in God’s will and that you have your families’ blessings. I now ask. Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” (Father of the Bride: “Her mother and I do.”) (Bride‘s father places her hand in Groom‘s hand and is seated)
The apostle Paul compared the relationship between husband and wife to that between Christ and the church. Marriage is a decision of two individuals to share the same type of pure, Christian love described by Paul.
1 Cor 13:4-8, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….
This kind of love enriches each part of life and marriage enriches love. Two lives, shared with this kind of love, can hold more fulfillment and happiness than either life alone.
Groom, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Bride, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?” (“I am.”)
Bride, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Groom, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?” (“I am.”)
Groom, do you take Bride to be your wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in holy matrimony? Do you promise to love her, to honor and cherish her, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health and to be to her in all things a good and faithful husband as long as you both shall live?” (“I do.”)
Bride, do you take Groom to be your wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in holy matrimony? Do you promise to love him, to honor and cherish him, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health and to be to him in all things a good and faithful wife as long as you both shall live?” (“I do.”)
Then the preacher will likely have both Bride and Groom repeat:
I, Groom, take thee, Bride to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. According to God’s holy ordinance and thereto I pledge thee my faith.
I, Bride, take thee, Groom, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. According to God’s holy ordinance and thereto I pledge thee my faith.
Father in heaven, You ordained marriage for your children and You gave us love. We present to You Groom and Bride, who come this day to be married. May the covenant of love they make be blessed with true devotion and spiritual commitment. We ask that You, God, will give them the ability to keep the covenant they have made. When selfishness shows itself, grant generosity; when mistrust is a temptation, give moral strength; when there is misunderstanding, give patience and gentleness; if suffering becomes a part of their lives, give them a strong faith and an abiding love. Amen.
Then, the preacher will likely pause, then continue:
It is a Christian custom to exchange rings as a symbol of love. As the rings have no end so your love should have no end. As the rings are made of gold symbolizing purity, so should your marriage have purity. As often as either of you see them, you will be reminded of this moment and the endless love you promised.
Groom, what token to you give that you will perform your vows?” (Minister receives ring and says to Bride.)
Bride, do you receive this ring in token of the same?” (“I do.”) (Groom places ring on Bride‘s finger and says: “Bride, this ring I give to you in token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.”)
Then the preacher will say:
Bride, what token to you give that you will perform your vows?” (Minister receives ring and says to Groom.)
Groom, do you receive this ring in token of the same?” (“I do.”) (Bride places ring on Groom‘s finger and says: “Groom, this ring I give to you in token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.”)
The candle represents the joining together of two individuals to live together as one in spirit. Bride and Groom, the candle yet to be lit, represents the new family which is being created today. Groom and Bride are leaving their families to make a new life together. (Bride and Groom light candle)
Then the preacher will say:
Let us pray: O thou eternal God, who art our Father and our Friend, as you have heard these words of promise just spoken, may the Holy Spirit deepen in the mind of this man and this woman the sense of the sacred and binding power of their vows. And as in Thy Name these words were spoken to make these lives one, may your rich blessing be added. Give them Your grace and guidance that they may loyally fulfill the vows they have taken. May Your joy abide with them always, that thus they may be a blessing to each other and to those about them, finding in the blessedness of the home life on earth a sample of the happiness of Thine eternal home – through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Forasmuch as Groom and Bride have consented together in holy matrimony and have witnessed the same before God and this company and have pledged their love and loyalty to each other and have declared the same by the joining and the giving of rings, I, therefore, by the authority of the state, pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Groom may kiss the Bride. I now present to you Mr and Mrs _____ .
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