2016-06-03
She’s wearing the ring. He’s walking on clouds. Her mother is having excited phone calls with bridal shops. Her sister is researching honeymoon cruises. His little brother is gathering tin cans and snickering with his friends about what they’ll write on the car in shoe polish.

But don’t forget the ceremony itself.

These are the special words that will seal your commitment to one another. This is a very romantic moment and often the perfect place publicly to declare your love for one another.

But writing your vows can be more difficult than it seems.

So, here is an assortment of traditional, avant garde, cultural and modern wedding vows for you to use as a source of inspiration.

It is important to note that if you are getting married in a religious setting, check with your officiant as there may be specific words that cannot be deviated from. Find out if and where you can add your own embellishments, loving words, funny promises (such as, I promise never to serve you broiled onoins again!) and inside jokes.

So, which ceremony are you going to choose? Here are nine to consider:

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
Beach Wedding
An
Interfaith Ceremony
A
Super Short Ceremony

 

 

THE CIVIL CEREMONY

 So, let’s start off with the most basic – the civil ceremony. The judge or justice of the peace will say:

The step which you are about to take is the most important into which human beings can come. It is a union of two people founded upon mutual respect and affection. Your lives will change, your responsibilities will increase, but your joy will be multiplied if you are sincere and earnest with your pledge to one another.

Groom, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her and forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, for so long as you both shall live?

Bride, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him and forsaking all others, keep you only unto him, so long as you both shall live?

Take hands and repeat after me: I, Groom, take you, Bride, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

I, Bride, take you, Groom, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

Do you have a ring for the Bride? Please place the ring on the Bride‘s finger and say: “With this ring, I thee wed.”

Is there a ring for the Groom? Please place the ring on the Groom‘s finger and say: “With this ring I thee wed.”

Let these rings be given and received as a token of your affection, sincerity and fidelity to one another.

In as much as Bride and Groom have consented together in wedlock and have witnessed the same before this company and pledged their vows to each other, by the authority vested in me by the State of, I now pronounce you husband and wife. (Kiss)

Will the presiding official allow you to deviate from this? You won’t know unless you ask. More than likely, they will allow you all sorts of leeway.

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


A LONGER CIVIL CEREMONY

Here is a civil ceremony that is somewhat longer. Whereas the short form might be used in the judge’s office between trials, this ceremony might be used in a less formal setting, such as a home wedding or nuptials held at a country club:

We are here today in the presence of family and friends to share with Bride and Groom the most important moment in their lives. We do this as the legal requirement to be married in this State but this ceremony does not alter the love required to be husband and wife. Without the love between these two people we would not be here today.

What is marriage? It has been said that marriage is that relationship between man and woman in which the independence is equal, the dependence mutual and the obligation reciprocal. Bride and Groom, you are now to bring together the best parts of your individuality, uniting spirit, talent and experience to create something better than either of you alone can offer. You must and I’m sure will, work hard to maintain this union.

By this ceremony you will become husband and wife, but the soul of your marriage depends on the constant renewal of the choices and promises out of love for one another you make today.

Life together will sometimes be playful and effortless, sometimes frustrating and difficult. Each day your relationship will strengthen if you choose to continue to love and honor one another.

Love is something beyond the excitement of romance and being in love. It is a committed, thoughtful decision. Love is nurturing. Love is listening. Love is caring about your partner. Love lightens burdens because you divide them. Love intensifies joys because you share them.

If you truly love you will always be loyal to one another. No matter what the cost always believe in one another, always expect the best of one another and above all else, always support one another in every day living.

Bride and Groom came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and most importantly, the fun of true friendship.

The step which you are about to take is the most important into which human beings can come. It is a union of two people founded upon mutual respect and affection. Your lives will change, your responsibilities will increase, but your joy will be multiplied if you are sincere and earnest with your pledge to one another.

It is the wish of everyone here today that your marriage bring each of you much happiness. Happiness in marriage doesn’t just happen though. You must work on it. Remember to say “I love you”, hold hands whenever you get the chance and at no time take the other for granted.

Family and friends, we are witnesses to the union of two individuals who choose to commit to a life together. Our responsibility as their friends and witnesses is to provide them as a couple with our love, support and approval.

For the beauty around us, the strength it offers and the peace it brings, we are grateful and honored to be a part of the life you have chosen to live as husband and wife from this day forward.( Recognize loved ones present or departed optional here)

Will you Groom have this woman to be your wedded wife, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her and forsaking all others, for so long as you both shall live? (I Will)

Will you, Bride take Groom to be your wedded husband, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him and forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live? (I Will)

Take hands and repeat after me: I, Groom, take you, Bride, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

I, Bride, take you, Groom to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer of for poorer, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

Rings please… Place the ring on the Bride’s finger and say: With this ring, I thee wed. Place the ring on the Groom’s finger and say: With this ring, I thee wed.

In as much as Bride and Groom have consented together in wedlock and have witnessed the same before this company and pledged their vows to each other, by the authority vested in me by this State, I now pronounce you husband and wife. (Kiss)

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


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 _____ .

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


A LONGER CHRISTIAN CEREMONY

Most clergy in churches that don’t have formal liturgies that have to be followed to the letter will be flexible to a point. Even so, don’t expect most pastors to agree to include anything Muslim or Buddhist unless all references to non-Christian gods are removed.

In this ceremony, the preacher says:

Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.”

Into this holy union Bride and Groom now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now, or else for ever hold your peace.”

I require and charge you both, here in the presence of God, that if either of you know any reason why you may not be united in marriage lawfully and in accordance with God’s Word, you do now confess it.

Bride, will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live? (Bride answers “I will.”)

Groom, will you have this Woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” (Groom answers “I will.”) 

The Pastor then addresses the congregation:

Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage? (The People answer “We will.”)

Who presents this woman to be married to this man? (Father of the Bride answers: “I do.”)

Let us pray. O gracious and ever-living God, you have created us male and female in your image: Look mercifully upon this man and this woman who come to you seeking your blessing and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Groom, facing Bride, takes her right hand in his and says:

In the Name of God, I, Groom, take you, Bride, to be my 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, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Then Bride, still facing Groom, takes his right hand in hers and says:

In the Name of God, I, Bride, take you, Groom, to be my 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, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

The Pastor asks God’s blessing on the rings as follows:

Bless, O Lord, these rings to be a sign of the vows by which this Man and this Woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (People: Amen)

Bride places the ring on the ring finger of Groom‘s hand and says: (using Groom’s name)

Groom, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 

Groom places the ring on the ring-finger of Bride‘s hand and says: (using Bride’s name)

Bride, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Pastor joins the right hands of husband and wife and says:

Now that Bride and Groom have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of rings, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation and giver of all grace: Look with favor upon the world you have made and for which your Son gave his life and especially upon this man and this woman whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony.” (People: Amen)

Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow and a companion in joy. People: Amen

Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. (People: Amen)

Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault and to see each other’s forgiveness and yours. (People: Amen)

Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt and joy conquer despair. People: Amen

Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children and the grace to bring them up to know you, to love you and to serve you. (People: Amen)

Give them such fulfillment of their mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others. People: Amen

Grant that all married persons who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed. (People: Amen)

Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; where, O Father, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and for ever. (People: Amen)

Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of man and woman in his name. 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 mantel about their shoulders and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.” (People: Amen)

I now present Mr. and Mrs. ____________. You may kiss the bride.

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


A WINE CEREMONY

Or perhaps you want something completely different from such a traditional ceremony.

Here is an offbeat rite fromFrance’s wine country, adapted by J.K. Schwehm who says that this was originally used to join two vineyard owners in marriage.

In this brief ceremony, red wine and white wine in two small carafes are placed next to an empty carafe with a wineglass on a small table near the couple. The center carafe, called the Marriage Carafe is sometimes a bit larger than the two outside “individual” carafes. If the individual carafes are carried in the Wedding Processional the Marriage Carafe or Wine Glass is already sitting on the table and only the two individual filled carafes are carried forth.

First, the Bride walks in carrying the white wine. The Groom carries the red wine. They or their attendants place their carafes on the stand where the empty carafe and glass are waiting. (A variation has both the Bride and Groom carrying in empty carafes which they place next to the large empty carafe. After the three carafes have been placed, the parents of the couple step forward with bottles of wine. The Groom’s parents pour red wine into one carafe, the Bride’s parents, white.)

The wedding proceeds with traditional or non-traditional greetings offered by the officiating person (who, even if you are being very non-traditional, still must be legally authorized in that jurisdiction to perform weddings). The greetings are followed by whatever exchange of vows have been agreed upon – again, traditional or not.

Then, the couple goes to the stand. Each takes their carafe and pours some wine into the larger carafe. The Groom then takes the larger carafe with the combined red and white wine and pours some in a glass for the Bride.

The Bride then takes the larger carafe with the combined wines and pours some into a glass for the Groom.

He toasts his Bride with, “Now Our Lives Are One” and drinks from the glass. She responds the same.

They place the wineglasses back and face back to the officiant. Who states:

This ceremony represents the two individual lives which are now combined like the two wines into one single life. The drinking of the combined wine signifies the commitment you now make to live your lives as one family. May you remember this day of commitment you have sealed with drinking of the new wine joining your lives as one.

He may also announce that immediately after the service others may drink the new wine of their commitment to one life if they so desire.

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony

THE SEVEN STEPS

 

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.

Step One:
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.

Step Two:
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.

Step Three:
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.

Step Four:
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.

Step Five:
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.

Step Six:
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.

Step Seven:
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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony



A BEACH WEDDING

Here is a non-traditional ceremony popular with surfers on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The barefoot presiding official stands at the water’s edge with the couple so that their bare feet are washed by incoming waves. It is smart to watch the waves a bit at first and gauge just where to stand – since it would be unfortunate to have the ceremony disrupted by a large wave.

The official says: 

We meet today by the sea to have Groom and Bride become one by the border of this constant and unlimited force.

And as these waters, Bride and Groom, may your love be limitless, flowing and ever-changing . May your love forever redefine itself. May your love hold within it the essence of life.

In pledging your lives and love to one another for all the days that remain to you, Groom and Bride, we acknowledge the changes in your existence and celebrate your commitment to a strong, loving relationship. May your love touch and enrich all those with whom you come in contact, as these waters touch and nourish the many shores of the earth.

Love came softly upon your hearts, Bride and Groom, just as the foam comes softly upon the sand and just as there will never be a morning without the ocean’s flow, so there will never be a day without your love for each other.

Groom, in placing this ring on Bride’s finger, repeat after me:

Bride, this ring I give you, my personal gift and my personal promise, of love and trust for all the days of our lives.

Bride, in placing this ring on Groom’s finger, repeat after me:

Groom, this ring I give you, my personal gift and my personal promise of love and trust for all the days of our lives.

As we stand here in the ocean tide, may your love always be as constant and unchanging as these never ending waves that pour beneath our feet, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea.

Since Groom  and Bride have pledged their love and commitment to each other before these witnesses, I declare that they are husband and wife.

As these waters nourish the earth and sustain life, may your constant love nourish and sustain you both until the end of time.

Congratulations! You may kiss each other, Bride and Groom!

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


AN INTER-FAITH WEDDING

This ceremony was written for a couple that consisted of a Christian girl and a Jewish man who wished that their families’ important traditions be included. Not all clergy will cooperate. Some will.

In this ceremony, the couple and the clergyman stand under a canopy which can be fancy or plain, held up by four poles born by four witnesses. The clergyman or other official says:

We are gathered here today in the presence of God to give thanks for the gift of marriage and to witness the joining together of Bride and Groom. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, marriage is a sign of our Creator’s intention for wholeness in all creation. Out of the chaos, God brought order. That creative purpose is still at work. The joining together of two persons into one unique, intimate and creative unity in marriage is therefore not only a symbol but also a demonstration of the well-being, the shalom, the purpose of human society. And so marriage is truly a celebration of God’s good work in creation.

The uniting in marriage of two individuals from two separate families and backgrounds to establish a new family is an important and memorable event. For us, attached as we are to Bride and Groom by special bonds of love and affection, the uniting of these two people in heart and body and mind is an occasion of great significance which we can all celebrate.

Marriage is not a casual event, nor is it simply a private affair between two individuals. Marriage is to be entered into responsibly and prayerfully. This marriage brings together this day two individuals, two families and two communities of faith. It is, then, in the midst of a troubled and broken society, a sign of hope. It deserves and needs the support of a wider community. Today is a time for family and friends to share in their commitment to each other by offering Bride and Groom our continued support, love and best wishes in their lives together.

Lee us pray: O Lord our God, source of all blessing, in happiness and joy we thank you for the gift of marriage, which we celebrate today. May you give Bride and Groom the ability to rejoice always in their love. May you fulfill every worthy wish of their hearts. May you open their eyes to the beauty and the mystery of the love they hold for each other, every day as today. And may their | life together embrace and nurture the promise of this moment, so that all who know them will call them truly blessed. Amen.

Out of two different and distinct traditions they have come together to learn the best of what each has to offer, appreciating their differences and confirming that being together is far better than being apart from each other. As we bless this marriage under the huppah, the Jewish symbol of the new home being consummated here, we will later light the unity candle, the Christian symbol of two people becoming one in marriage.

Readings then are done by the four people holding the poles.

Reader 1: Long after tents vanished from the Jewish landscape, wedding ceremonies were held out of doors in the hope that the marriage would be blessed by as many children as “the stars of the heavens.” Some kind of covering was employed to create a more modest and sanctified space.

Reader 2: The bridal canopy, or huppah, is a multifaceted symbol. It symbolizes: modesty in the presence of God, the safety of your home, the protection of a garment, the intimacy of your bed covering.

Reader 3: It is open on all four sides to respect Abraham, who had doors on all four sides of his home so that visitors would always know they were welcome.

Reader 4: The huppah does not promise that love or hope or pledges will keep out weather or catastrophe. But its few lines are a sketch for what might be. The flimsiness of the huppah is a reminder that the only thing that is real about a home is the people in it who love and choose to be together— to be a family. The only anchor that they will have will be holding onto each other’s hands. The huppah is the house of promises. It is the home of hope.

The official then says:

The blessing over the wine, known as the kiddush, is a part of many Jewish celebrations and holidays. The word kiddush means sanctification, so as we recite this blessing, we symbolically sanctify this couple on their wedding day. Blessed are you, O God, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

A marriage brings together two individuals, with separate lives to perform the lifelong pledge of uniting as one. These candles before us symbolize the union of your marriage. The two outer candles represent the two of you as individuals. The center candle, which you will kindle together, represents the unity which will continue to develop as you are married. The external candles will remain lit, to show that, even in you unity, you may also remain as individuals. (Groom and Bride light candle while music is played).

Bride and Groom please state your intent to enter into this union by expressing your vows to one another. Repeat after me: “I promise, before family and friends, to commit my love to you; to respect your individuality; to be with you through life’s changes; and to nurture and strengthen the love between us, as long as we both shall live. I promise, before family and friends, to commit my love to you; to respect your individuality; to be with you through life’s changes; and to nurture and strengthen the love between us, as long as we both shall live.” 

Then the official turns to the congregation and says:

Will all of you witnessing these vows do everything in your power to uphold Bride and Groom in their marriage? Will you? (We will.)

Groom, have you a token of your love for Bride.
Bride, have you a token of your love for Groom?

Traditionally, the marking of the passage to the status of husband and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no giver and no receiver – for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.

Groom place this ring on her finger and repeat after me:  “This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my desire that you be my wife from this day forward.”

Bride place this ring on his finger and repeat after me: “This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my wish that you be my husband from this day forward.”

Let these rings serve not as locks binding you together, but as keys, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know and thus bringing you closer together forever.

Eternal God, without your grace no promise is sure. Strengthen Bride and Groom with patience, kindness, gentleness and all the other gifts you so abundantly impart, that they may fulfill the vows they have made this day. Keep them faithful to each other and to you. Fill them with such love and joy that they may build a home of peace and welcome. And guide them by your word to serve you all their days. Amen,

I would like to take this opportunity to mention to you, the guests, that Bride and Groom will be spending a few moments alone together, immediately following the ceremony. This is a custom called Yichud, which means “union” in Hebrew. It gives the couple an opportunity to share, privately, the power and importance of this moment in their lives. They will return shortly to greet you.

Bride and Groom, having witnessed your vows for marriage with all who are assembled here and by the authority vested in me by this State, I announce with great joy that from this time on, you are husband and wife.

He then places two drinking glasses or goblets – something easily crushed underfoot – on the ground.

Stepping on this glass signifies remembering the past and moving to the future. You no longer belong to your parents’ houses, but to your own. As Bride and Groom break the glasses, I invite everyone to shout “Mazel Tov,” which means “Congratulations” and “Good Luck.”

As a sign of sealing your promises made to each here today, you may now kiss the Bride.

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 
Beach Wedding
An 
Interfaith Ceremony 
Super Short Ceremony


A SUPER SHORT CEREMONY

Perhaps you’d like things to be quick and to the point. This ceremony fulfills all the legal requirements of most jurisdictions: 

Friends, we have gathered together today to witness the union of Bride and Groom. The legal requirements of this state having been fulfilled and the license for their marriage being present, I must ask of each party if they come of their own free will and accord.

Groom, do you come to this union of your free will and with the intention of being faithful in marriage to Bride as long as you shall live? (Groom answers “I do.”)

Bride, do you come to this union of your free will and with the intention of being faithful in Marriage to Bride and Groom as long as you shall live? (Bride answers “I do.”)

Who presents Bride to be married to Groom? (Bride‘s father (or representative) responds “I do.”)

Please repeat the following after me: I, Groom, do take you, Bride, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I promise from this day forward to be your faithful husband, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as I shall live. (Groom responds “I do.”)

Please repeat after me: I, Bride, do take you, Groom, to be my lawfully wedded husband. I promise from this day forward to be your faithful wife, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as I shall live. (Bride responds “I do.”)

The wedding ring seals the vows of marriage as a signature bears witness to a written covenant. As the ring is placed upon the finger, repeat these words: “In pledge of the vow of marriage made between us, I offer you this ring. Let it be to you and to me and to all the world, the symbol of the covenant of marriage we have accepted.”

We have come together in this place and have heard the willingness of Bride and Groom to be joined in marriage. They have come of their free will and in our hearing have made a covenant of faithfulness. They have given and received a ring as the seal of their promises.

Therefore, by the power vested in me by this state I pronounce that they are husband and wife. You may kiss the bride. (Kiss)


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