Catholic Style Ceremony – Shorter

(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 in front.
(Mothers) light the Unity Candle.

Order:
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
Maid of Honor & Best Man
Flower Girls & Ring Bearer
(Bride) & Escort

(Escort) kisses (Bride), shakes (Groom)’s hand and joins (Bride) & (Groom)’s hands together.

~ Opening Prayer ~

Minister: Heavenly Father, you have made the bond of marriage a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for his people. Hear our prayers for (Bride) and (Groom). With faith in you and in each other they pledge their love today. May their lives always bear witness to the reality of that love. We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

~ Welcome and Introduction ~

Minister: Please be seated. Dear Friends, Family and Loved Ones, it is one of life’s richest surprises when two lives’ paths intertwine, leading their travelers to proceed together along the shared path of husband and wife, and what was once a casual relationship grows into a permanent bond of love. Love is both humankind’s highest achievement and God’s greatest gift. With love it is possible to live a life together, each seeking the joy, the comfort, the health, and the enrichment of the other.

It is the golden ring in a chain whose beginning is a simple glance and whose ending is eternity. We are gathered here on this day to celebrate the love that (Bride) and (Groom) share with each other, for it is the foundation of their union in marriage.

~ Readings ~

Minister: I now invite (Name) and (Name) to share with us these holy words of inspiration and contemplation.

Old Testament
Genesis 2:18-24

First Reader: A reading from the Book of Genesis.

The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.” So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed: “This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man.” This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.

This is the word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

New Testament
1 Corinthians13:1-8

Second Reader: A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them. If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end.

This is the word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

~ Vows ~

Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), I ask you now to join hands and repeat the vows of matrimony.

Do you, (Bride), do you take (Groom) for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

(Bride): I do.

Do you, (Groom), do you take (Bride) for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

(Groom): I do.

Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), you have declared your consent before God and all of His children present. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, let no one divide.

(Bride) and (Groom): Amen.

~ Blessing and Exchange of Rings ~

Minister: A time-honored tradition in wedding ceremonies worldwide is the exchange of an item of worth, most commonly, rings.

The rings are in the shape of a circle, the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe, a symbol of wholeness and of perfection and of peace.

Your rings are a symbol of the unity into which your two lives are now joined – together in one unbroken circle. They are a reminder that from now on, wherever you go, you will always return to one another, and to your togetherness.

Lord, I ask that you bless these rings, which we also bless in your name. Grant that those who wear them may always have a deep faith in each other. May they do your will and always live together in peace, good will, and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Minister: (Bride) and (Groom), as you exchange these rings with one another, know that they will always be for you the symbol of your unbroken love. May your rings always call to mind the freedom and power of your love, which you will celebrate from this day forward as husband and wife.

You may now exchange the rings as a token of your commitment to one another.

(Groom), please repeat after me: Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

(Bride), please repeat after me: Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

~ Unity Candle Ceremony ~

Minister: God of Love and Light, who gives us the longing for love and the capability of loving, we give you thanks for (Bride) and (Groom), for their open hearts and willing spirits, and for the example of love that they embody here in our presence. Be with them on this joyous occasion of showing their love and making their vows; and be with us, their witnesses, that we may all be changed by what is said and witnessed here.

Earlier in our ceremony, ___________ lit these two tapers that sit alongside this Unity Candle. These two candles are symbolic of two individuals, as (Bride) and (Groom) enter this union as two unique, individual souls in their own right. From the uniqueness of these separate flames, (Bride) and (Groom) shall kindle a larger and brighter flame of this greater pillar candle, which represents their unity. The tapers remain burning, to symbolize the continuing importance of (Bride) and (Groom)’s individual integrity within their marriage. The greater height of the center pillar depicts their belief that together they can become more than either could alone.

((Bride) and (Groom) take the tapers and light the Unity Candle. I suggest that you do not blow out the tapers, so as to keep the symbolism of your individuality alight.)

~ The Lord’s Prayer ~

Minister: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words His Son has given us:

All: Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

~ Pronouncement and Kiss ~

(Bride) and (Groom), now that you have been joined together in matrimony, may you strive always to meet this commitment with the same spirit you now exhibit.

May you have a clear sense of the solemnity of this hour, as well as you responsibilities to each other and to the society into which you now enter as husband and wife. May you have the grace and understanding to fulfill your pledges by your life’s devotion.

May the happiness that you have brought to this hour never lose its freshness, but ripen into fuller flower and deepen until it is absorbed into the very roots of your being. May you grow ever closer from this day forward, in work and in play, in hope and in counsel, in laughter and in tears. In all of the changes and chances of life, may you be true helpers to each other.

May the love demonstrated today by your union remind us of God’s love for us all, and of the love He intends for us to share with one another. We, your family, friends and loved ones have borne witness to this ceremony you have just performed, and we now rejoice as we all bless this union, and recognize you for the very first time by those old and respected titles of husband and wife.

You may now express your eternal commitment of love for one another with a kiss.

(Bride) and (Groom) kiss.

~ Recessional ~

Order:
(Bride) & (Groom)
Maid of Honor & Best Man
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
Flower Girls & Ring Bearer
Parents/Family
Minister

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