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
In India, the Hindu wedding ceremony, the “samskara,” can last weeks or days. It has many components, is quite beautiful and is filled with chanting, Sanskrit blessings and rituals thousands of years old.
Few Christian pastors are going to agree to perform any ritual that evokes the presence of Hindu gods, so you will have to do a bit of creativity to incorporate the Seven Steps into a church wedding. For example, the traditional ceremony calls for the lighting of a sacred fire, created from “ghee” (clarified butter) and woolen wicks, to ask the Hindu fire god Agni to bear witness to the ceremony. That’s not going to happen at First Baptist.
However, there are key portions of the rite that are culturally neutral. Traditionally the Bride’s sari would be tied to the Groom’s formal costume – or a shawl might be draped from his shoulder to her sari. Together they walk around the fire. He leads with his pinky finger linked with his, taking seven steps as the seven vows for a strong union are recited.
With each step, the couple throws small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. This is considered the most important part of the ceremony, sealing the bond forever.
Groom: My beloved, our love has become firm by your walking one with me. Together we will share the responsibilities of the home, food and finances. May God bless us with noble children to share. May they live long.
Bride: This is my commitment to you, my beloved. Together we will share the responsibility of the home, food and finances. I promise that I shall discharge all of my share of the responsibilities for the welfare of the family and the children.
Groom: O my beloved now you have walked with me, the second step. May God bless you. I will love you and you alone as my wife. I will fill your heart with strength and courage: this is my commitment and my pledge to you. May God protect the household and children.
Bride: My beloved, at all times, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness I shall rejoice. May God bless you and our household.
Groom: O my beloved now since you have walked three steps with me, our wealth and prosperity will grow. May God bless us. May we educate our children and may they live long.
Bride: My beloved, I love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotions to you is pure and you are my joy. This is my commitment and pledge to you.
Groom: O my beloved it is a great blessing that you have now walked four steps with me. May God bless you. You have brought auspiciousness and sacredness in my life.
Bride: O my beloved, in all acts of righteousness, in material prosperity, in every form of enjoyment and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.
Groom: O my beloved now you have walked five steps with me. May God make us prosperous. May God bless us.
Bride: O my beloved, I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me very happy.
Groom: O my beloved by walking six steps with me, you have filled my heart with happiness. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace, time and time again. God bless you.
Bride: My beloved, may God bless you. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace. I promise that I will always be with you.
Groom: O my beloved as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. We have experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.
Bride: My beloved, by the law of God and the holy scriptures, I have become your spouse. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the angels are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. Forever I shall love you.
The Civil Ceremony in the Judge's Office
A Longer Longer Civil Ceremony
A Basic Christian Ceremony
A Longer Christian Ceremony
A Wine Ceremony
The Seven Steps
An Interfaith Ceremony
A Super Short Ceremony