(Please note that any readings, vows, prayers and any other ceremony elements can be changed, rearranged, substituted, deleted or added as necessary.)
~ Processional ~
(Groom) waits with Minister and Best Man and Groomsmen in front.
Maid of Honor
Flower Girls & Ring Bearer
(Bride) & Escort
(Escort) lifts veil and joins (Bride) & (Groom)’s hands together.
~ Opening Prayer ~
Minister: Oh Lord our God, Creator of All Things, we give thanks that You with us on this day of gladness, thanksgiving, possibility and great good fortune for all of us, but especially for (Bride) and (Groom), who come together to demonstrate the wonder of love through the celebration of their marriage. We ask that the vision they have of one another always be informed by the spellbinding radiant power that first brought them together and we pray that as they move into the hallowed ground of marriage they may always hold one another in the light of all light, the love of all love. Amen.
~ Welcome and Introduction ~
Minister: Dear friends and family, on this beautiful and joyful day, we are here to celebrate the love, caring and commitment that (Bride) and (Groom) have found for each other, and to wish them every happiness for their future life together on this, their wedding day. And so I call upon everyone here to be a fellow witness with me in the marriage of (Bride) and (Groom).
A wedding is the celebration of the miracle of love, and that’s what we’re here to do: to celebrate the fact that miracles do occur all of the time, and that at any moment, the unexpected can happen and often does. That after almost giving up hope, most inexplicably and wonderfully, the path of our entire lives can change.
Today, (Bride) and (Groom) dare to give truly of themselves, and they do so with confidence that they will better themselves as individuals, as husband and wife, and, God-willing, as parents. As it has been said, Marriage is not a union merely between two individuals — it is a union between two souls and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both.
Marriage is founded on that sort of sincerity and understanding, which leads to tolerance, confidence and trust. It requires respect for each other’s individuality and that most difficult of tasks, the acceptance of each other’s weaknesses, prejudices and faults. Those qualities, which have attracted each to the other and brought them here today, can be best developed during a life spent together. A happy marriage, as (Bride) and (Groom) both know, will enable them to establish a home where there will be love and stability, where you, their family and also their friends will find welcome, peace, harmony and support: a base from which the influence of their shared, and strengthened life today, by this wedding ceremony, shall be extended.
Marriage is a coming together of two lives and a celebration of the love of two people. But it is more. The love that (Bride) and (Groom) feel for one another is the flowering of a seed their parents planted in their hearts years ago. As they embrace one another in their love, so do they embrace the families, which have been brought together on this happy occasion. At this time, (Bride) and (Groom) would like to recognize and give thanks for the love and support they have received from their parents and their families.
~ Readings ~
Minister: And now, to better express their thoughts on this day, (Bride) and (Groom) have selected a few words of inspiration and contemplation, which shall be read by (Reader 1) and (Reader 2).
(Reader 1): From the New Testament, a letter from Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 13.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(Reader 2): : “Where There is Love” by Helen Steiner Rice:
Where there is love the heart is light,
Where there is love the day is bright,
Where there is love there is a song.
To help when things are going wrong,
Where there is love there is a smile
To make all things seem more worthwhile,
Where there is love there is quiet peace,
A tranquil place where turmoils cease
Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take wingless flight,
Oh, blest are they who walk in love,
They also walk with God above
And when you walk with God each day
And kneel together when you pray,
Your marriage will be truly blest,
And God will guide your daily quest
And love-that once seemed yours alone
God gently blends into His own.
~ Address ~
Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), as you enter into this marriage to one another, remember that marriage is a progression. The Taoist sage Lao-Tzu wrote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For the two of you, your wedding day today is an exquisite and beautifully choreographed first step. With it, you are passing through a portal that will lead you to many places, including ones you can’t possibly imagine. Wherever it takes you, there will be surprises.
There is great joy to be found in such a surprising journey, with all its twists and turns. Do not resist the changes and challenges that lie ahead (and believe me, they do lie ahead!), but instead allow such opportunities to flower within you, and know that they are always leading you to a place where you become more together than you ever could alone. Don’t expect every day to have the fanciful mood or the exuberant high spirits of this, your wedding day, but be excited, open minded, curious, available and inquiring about whom you are becoming. Know that your composite experiences are guiding you toward the higher forms of yourselves, and that you are becoming the best, and the most, that only you two together could possibly be.
Above all, remember that love is what matters. Love will prevail. It is the love you feel for one another that will be the answer to all of your difficulties. If you choose it to be so, your love will be stronger than conflicts, bigger than the changes. Love will be the miracle that always invites you to learn, to blossom, and to expand. And it is to love – the love you are celebrating, embodying and radiating on this special day – that you must always return.
~ Expression of Intent ~
Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), you have invited us to witness the declaration of happiness that you have found in each other, and to bless the union into which you are about to enter. Are you ready to make the pledges in which you commit yourselves to each other in love? If so, please answer, “I do.”
(Bride) and (Groom): I do.
~ Consecration ~
Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), see that no moment is without meaning, no undertaking is without significance. No individual is of such quality as to be diminished by an enterprise as important as marriage. We ask that both of you together be honored and expanded by the promises you are about to make, and may love always be in your midst.
(Maid of Honor takes Bride’s bouquet.)
~ Vows ~
Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), I now invite you to take your vows of marriage to one another.
(Bride), repeat after me: I, (Bride), now take you, (Groom), to be my husband. In the presence of God and before these witnesses I promise that I will love you the whole of my life. You and no other.
(Groom), repeat after me: I, Joseph, now take you, (Bride), to be my wife. In the presence of God and before these witnesses I promise that I will love you the whole of my life. You and no other.
~ Ring Blessing ~
Minister: Will the Best Man present the rings?
(Best man holds the rings close to Minister’s hands.)
A time-honored tradition in wedding ceremonies worldwide is the exchange of an item of worth, most commonly, rings. Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace. Their shape is a circle; for love that is given comes back around again and again.
(Minister places his hand over the rings.)
Therefore, may these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun, illumines; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like arms that embrace, is a grace upon this world.
~ Ring Exchange ~
Minister: (Bride), repeat after me: (Groom), this ring is a token of my endless and abiding love, and it is you whom I am choosing always to encircle with my love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have gladdened my heart. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace.
(Groom), repeat after me: (Bride), this ring is a token of my endless and abiding love, and it is you whom I am choosing always to encircle with my love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have gladdened my heart. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace.
~ Benediction ~
Minister: Let us join together in the spirit of prayer:
God who has created us, each as an individual, open (Bride) and (Groom)’s hearts to feel your guidance and support through those who have gathered with them here this day. Let their marriage be an occasion for them to see how you have been working in their lives separately, and together. May they remember the vows taken here today, not only in their minds, but also, in their everyday actions of kindness and caring for one another. Amen.
~ Closing Words ~
(Bride) and (Groom), never forget the beginning of your love for one another, take care of it, nurture it, and allow it to grow strong and firm in the years that are to come. Always concentrate on making each other feel happy and secure in your commitment to one another. Always rely on your ability to keep the promises you have made to one another today and always love one another.
A truly happy marriage is founded on love. There is nothing in life that love cannot change. Love is, by its very nature, unselfish, understanding and kind. True love, too, is a commitment of heart and mind. There can be no stronger bond to ensure a happy married life.
So remember these things, as you go out into the world as a couple: that your love will have seasons, that your relationship is a progression, and that love will prevail. Remembering them, holding them in your hearts and in your minds, will give you a marriage as deep in its joy as your courtship has been in its magic.
May the grace of God hold you both in the palm of His hands. And, today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.
~ Pronouncement and Kiss ~
Minister: Our dear Friends and Loved Ones, in as much as (Bride) and (Groom) have grown in knowledge, respect and love for one another; and because they have agreed in their desire to travel forward in life together seeking an ever richer, deepening relationship; and because they have pledged themselves to meet all of life’s experiences together, we, their friends and family, rejoice!
(Bride) and (Groom), may all that is noble, true, enriching and beautiful be with you both always.
In the presence of this company of witnesses, you have spoken the words and performed the rituals that now unite your lives. Therefore, by the power vested in me, and in all of us present, I now pronounce you, husband and wife.
As kisses are messengers of love, kiss now! And may you have joy and blessing always!
~ Recessional ~
(Bride) & (Groom)
Maid of Honor & Best Man
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
Flower Girls & Ring Bearer