Basic Wedding Ceremony Outline (for Rick Langer)

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Basic Wedding Ceremony Outline (for Rick Langer)Greeting and PrayerWe have come together in the presence of God to witness the joining together ofthis man and this woman in the bond of marriage. The sacred relationship ofmarriage was established by God in creation, and it is commanded in theScripture to be held in honor by all people. It is at once one of man’s greatestblessings and also one of his most awesome responsibilities. Marriage is not tobe entered into lightly, but soberly and deliberately and in reverent fear of God.[Groom] and [Bride] thank you for joining them and sharing in this very specialday.Let commit this time to the Lord in prayer.Giving awayWho is giving this woman to be married to this man?Parent's Blessing (optional)A marriage is not only the joining together of two individuals, it is also a joiningtogether of two families. The care, support, and nurture which have beenextended to [Groom] and [Bride] by their families is as important now as it hasever been. In fact, it needs to be extended now to include another person. Bothfamilies need to be committed to support both partners in this marriage., you are not losing a son but rather you are gaining a daughter. Doyou promise to love and encourage [Bride] as you would your own? If so,answer,"We will.", you are not losing a daughter but rather you are gaining a son. Doyou promise to love and encourage [Groom] as you would your own? If so,answer,"We will."Scripture Reading, Song, Poem, or Prayer (optional--any of these or none of theseare fine)MessageStatement of IntentionThis statement of intent is optional as the vows are an explicit statement of theintent and commitment to marry. However, they are commonly used before thevows as a public declaration. They can be used immediately before the vows orelse earlier in the service, often immediately after the giving away of the bride.PLEASE JOIN HANDS2

---------------, Do you intend to take this woman whose hand you hold to be yourlawful wedded wife; and do you pledge before God and man to love, honor, andprotect her through sunshine and shadow alike; keeping yourself unto her aloneuntil death shall separate you? If so, answer “I Do”?------------- Do you intend to take this man, whose hand you hold, to be yourlawful wedded husband; and do you pledge before God and man to be to him aloving and true wife, through sunshine and shadow alike, keeping yourself untohim alone, until death shall separate you? If so, answer “I Do”Vows[Groom] , repeat after me:I [Groom] take you [Bride], to be my wife,to have and to hold, from this day forward,for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer,in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,excluding all others,as long as we both shall live.With God as my witness,I give you my pledge.[Bride], repeat after me:I [Bride] take you [Groom] , to be my husband,to have and to hold, from this day forward,for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer,in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,excluding all others,as long as we both shall live.With God as my witness,I give you my pledge.RingsYou have chosen to seal you vows by the giving and receiving of rings. The ringforms a perfect circle, without a beginning or an end, and is thereby a symbol ofeternity and signifies the duration of the commitment you are making. The goldof which the rings are made signify the purity and value of the relationship intowhich you enter. Let us now exchange these rings.[Groom] /[Bride] You have the privilege of placing this ring on [Bride]/[Groom]finger in virtue of the exclusive covenant relationship into which you now enter.Repeat after me: I give you this ring, as a symbol of my vow, and with all that Iam, and with all that I have, I will honor you.3

Lighting of unity candle/Song (optional)Prayer of BlessingPronouncementAnd now, by the authority invested in me as a minister of the Gospel, and inaccordance with the laws of the State of California, I now pronounce you manand wife. You may kiss the bride.IntroductionIt is my pleasure to introduce to you, for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. [LastName].RecessionalQuestions to consider1. Do we want to include the Parent’s Blessing? If so, are there any special familydynamics which need to be resolved ahead of time?2. Do we want to personalize vows or use traditional vows? (If you wantpersonalized vows, please discuss with pastor ahead of time. Some samplevows are given below.)3. Are there any special people we would like to include in the service itself? (Forexample, a friend or relative you would like to have do a special reading or aprayer of blessing etc.)4. Have we made plans for songs/music and decided where we want themincluded in the service?5. Do we have any special requests for the content of the message? (evangelisticmessage included, special verses, etc.)4

Other sample services and ideasThese sample services and alternative vows and readings are taken in large measure from the Pastor’sService Manual for the EFCA. Individual pastors do not follow these examples explicitly—but they canbe a good source of ideas. Please understand that pastors may have personal preferences and convictionsabout the structure of certain portions of the marriage ceremony. Do not assume that because a particularcomponent of a marriage ceremony is listed below that all of our pastors would feel comfortable using it.The final decision for the content of the ceremony will rest with the pastor performing the ceremony.EFCA Pastor’s Manual CeremonyCall to worshipI delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God; For he has clothed mewith garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as abridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself withjewels. (Isaiah 61:10)Dear friends, God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. Inthis way, love is made complete among us (1 John 4:16)Today we celebrate how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is,and we want to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filledto the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)InvocationInvite God’s presence and recognize that marriage is part of his good plan. AskGod’s Spirit to supervise the service and sanctify all that happens.WelcomeGreet the guests on behalf of the bride and groom. A few personal commentsregarding the couple would be appropriate although not necessary.Song or Special Music: OptionalStatement on Marriage:Dearly beloved, we are assembled here in the presence of God, to join this Manand this Woman in holy marriage; which is instituted of God, regulated by Hiscommandments, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and to be held in honoramong all men. Let us therefore reverently remember that God has establishedand sanctified marriage, for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Our Saviorhas declared that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto hiswife. By His apostles, He has instructed those who enter into this relation tocherish a mutual esteem and love; to bear with each other’s infirmities andweak-nesses; to comfort each other in sickness, trouble, and sorrow; in honestyand industry to provide for each other, and for their household, in temporal5

things; to pray for and encourage each other in the things which pertain to God;and to live together as the heirs of the grace of life.Vows of IntentThese vows may also precede the Vows after the Charge, as two parts of thesame Vows. Used at this point in the service, the implication is that the Bride’sFather is hearing these as a condition of giving his daughter.G****, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together in holymarriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her and forsaking allothers, keep only unto her as long as you both shall live? (Groom answers, “Iwill.”)B****, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together inholy marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him and forsaking all others, keep only unto him as long as you both shall live? (Bride answers,“I will.”)Giving of the BrideWho gives this woman to be married to this man? Father: “Her mother and I.”(The father, guardian, brother or friend of the woman shall put the woman’s righthand in the right hand of the man. She may give him a kiss. At this point thewedding party may move forward to the plat-form.)Song or Special Music OptionalScripture passages to considerGenesis 2:18-24 - Eve brought to AdamRuth 1:16-17 - Ruth’s loyalty to NaomiPsalm 121 - “I lift up my eyes to the hills ”Psalm 127 - “Unless the Lord builds the house ”Psalm 128 - The blessing of a large familyEcclesiastes 4:8-12 - “Two are better than one ”Song 2:10-13 - The season of loveSong 8:6-7 - “Many waters cannot quench love ”Isaiah 61:1-4 - “ to bestow on them a crown of beauty ”Malachi 2:15-16 - Warning not to break faith in marriageMatthew 19:4-6 - Jesus’ restatement of Genesis 2:24John 2:1-11 - The wedding and miracle at CanaRomans 12:9-13 - Guidelines for loving one another1 Corinthians 13 - The love chapterEphesians 5:18-33 - Paul’s teaching on marriagePhilippians 2:1-11 - Assuming the humble attitude of ChristColossians 3:12-14 - Qualities of Christian relationships2 Peter 1:5-8 - “ add to your faith goodness, etc.”1 John 4:7-12 - “Let us love one another ”6

MessageVowsThe pastor may say, “Will you now make your vows to one another?” The manand the woman are to face each other, holding hands. The Bride gives her flowersto the Maid of Honor.The Groom repeats the vow after the pastor as follows:I, G****, take you B****, to be my wedded wife, / to have and to hold from thisday forward, / for better for worse, / for richer, for poorer, / in sickness and inhealth, / to love and to cherish, till death us do part, / according to God’s holyplan / and with God’s gracious help.[Alternative ending: according to God’s holy ordinance; / and thereto Ipledge to you my troth.—or--and thereto I pledge myself to you.]The Bride repeats the vow after the pastor as follows:I, B****, take you, G****, to be my wedded husband, / to have and to hold fromthis day forward, / for better for worse, / for richer, for poorer, / in sickness and inhealth, / to love and to cherish, till death us do part, / according to God’s holyplan / and with God’s gracious help.Giving of RingsYou have determined to seal your vows by the giving and receiving of rings.Rings are a sacred symbol, signaling to others that you are in an exclusivecommitment to your beloved. The precious metal from which they are forgedreminds you of the precious possession you have in marriage. And the infinitecircle they form remind you that your new relationship is never to end.G****, indicating your responsibility to B**** to receive her into your care andkeeping, I give you this ring to place on her finger, as both a symbol and promisethat you receive her. Just as this ring circles her finger, so you are to encompassher with strength and protecting love.Groom (repeating after the pastor):B****, this ring I give you / as a constant reminder / of my abiding love andcommitment.B****, indicating your responsibility to G****, to receive him into your care anddevotion, I give you this ring to place on his finger as both a symbol and promisethat you receive him. Just as this ring circles his finger, so you are to encompasshim with strength and protecting love.Bride (repeating after the pastor):G****, this ring I give you / as a constant reminder / of my abiding love andcommitment.7

[Alternative: This ring I give you / in token and pledge / of our constant faithand abiding love.]Optional: Unity CandleSpecial music is often done during the Unity Candle ceremony. Another alternative is the reading of Gen. 2:20b-24. Some couples extinguish their individualcandles after lighting the central candle while others leave them burning. At thispoint, some choose to present roses to mothers.Prayer of DedicationCouples may kneel if a kneeling bench is provided. The Lord’s Prayer may bespoken or sung at the conclusion of this prayer.Our eternal Father, send your blessing upon G**** and B****, whom we bless inyour name, that they may live faithfully together. May they keep the vows theyhave made, and may they remain ever in perfect love and peace to-gether, andlive according to your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.PronouncementFor inasmuch as G**** and B**** have consented together in holy wedlock, andhave witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have pledgedtheir faith each to the other, and have declared the same by joining hands andby giving and receiving rings, I pronounce that they are husband and wifetogether, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Thosewhom God has joined together, let not man put asunder.KissYou may kiss your bride.Benediction“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you and begracious unto you. The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace”(Numbers 6:24-26).Presentation of Couple(The bride retrieves her flowers from the Maid of Honor and the couple turns toface the congregation.) It gives me great delight to introduce to you Mr. andMrs .8

Special elements & alternative wordings and readingsCall to WorshipOf all the honored guests at this occasion, the One most special, most honored,will be the Lord God Almighty, our heavenly Father and loving Savior. In mercy,he will shield us from his shining presence. His voice, which unleashed is likethe sound of many waters, will only whisper silently in hearts. But he iscertainly here, for the creation of a home is his doing as surely as the creation ofoceans or oaks. While this is G**** and B****’s special day, we would be remissnot to acknowledge such a royal Visitor, such a holy Guest. It is his presencethat will make this day truly significant. It is his listening that makes thesevows so sol-emn. It is his smile that puts laughter on our lips and brings delightto this day. Let us pray.InvocationLord, we invite you to take the place of honor at this wedding. We are gratefulthat you would come. To think that the God who is robed in unapproachablelight would bring his glory to this service, that the King who reigns over all theuniverse from his sapphire throne would bring his dignity and grandeur to thisceremony, that the Savior who blessed little children and the Creator of roseswould bring his tenderness and beauty to this celebration leaves us in awe.Loving Father, thank you for being here with us. May G**** and B**** have aspecial sense and appreciation of the privilege of your presence. We know thatthis warm favor is only ours through the graces of Jesus Christ so it is in hisname we pray this. Amen.Statements on MarriageG**** and B****, marriage is an honorable estate whose bond and covenant wasinstituted by God in creation. Our Lord Jesus Christ adorned and beautified thisholy estate by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.Marriage signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his church.And Scripture commands that marriage be honored among all people. Therefore,no one should enter this state of life unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; butreverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly consideringthe causes for which matrimony was ordained.At the beginning of the Bible, we discover the first instance of the marriage statewhen Adam discovers Eve and exclaims, “This at last is bone from my bones andflesh from my flesh.” So intimate is this oneness between male and female thatin the New Testament Paul uses it to illustrate the intimacy between Christ andthe church. He also draws a clear line separating the distinctive functions of9

husband and wife, when he instructs the woman to be sub-missive to herhusband as to the Lord, and commands the man to love his wife as Christ hasloved the church, giving himself up for her. G**** and B****, marriage isestablished by God. In this contract a man and woman willingly bind themselvestogether in love and become one, even as Christ is one with the church, his Body.Family-Related Activities before “The Giving of the Bride”Charge to Family and Friends: A brief challenge to recognize the holiness ofthis new union and to do all in their power to support it, holding this couple totheir vows. (This might also be after the rings and unity candle.)Thanks to Parents: Personal words to families and/or friends. Flowers or someother token of love and honor may be given at this point.Prayer or Blessing by Parents: If there are believing parents, the families/parents may gather with Bride and Groom for prayers together. These may bequiet, while music plays, or prayed for all to hear, perhaps by the fathers.Professions of FaithMany couples want to make their Christian faith explicit, especially when thereare many unbelievers present. They may repeat a creed, have a Bible text read,offer words of testimony, have the pastor summarize their testimonies, or besure the pastor’s charge includes the elements of the gospel.CommunionFollowing the Ring Ceremony, just before or after the Unity Candle.There are differences of opinion whether or not Communion belongs in a weddingceremony. Those arguing against suggest that since the Lord’s Supper is meant tobe a meal for the entire congregation, and since that is seldom practical in awedding, it is inappropriate. On the other hand, other pastors believe that havinga believing couple partake affords them an opportunity to express their faiththrough this very significant Christian symbol. Think through your theologicalapproach. Special music may provide a suitable background to this solemnmoment.Family Blessing, or Vows to Receive ChildrenOccasionally, someone comes to the marriage with children. Vows such as thesemight be useful after the wedding vows., when you marry you are also making a commitment toher/his children. To love means you want to love and care for her/hischildren as well. You have asked to make this commitment publicly so I putbefore you these questions:10

Do you understand that in marrying you agree to love her/his childreneven as you love her/him? I do. Do you promise to love and care for her/his children as you would your own? Ido. Will you work with to create a home where these children will learnabout the love of God in Christ, both through your teaching and your example? Iwill. Will you make it your practice to pray for and with these children? I will.Blessing of the Couple by Older ChildrenThe following provides an opportunity for the couple to pledge their care for anew blended family, and for the children to bless the couple. The children gatherwith the couple and the pastor begins Today we celebrate not only a new relationship between G**** and B****, butalso the beginning of new relationships between their children——who now have a share in this marriage and will inevitably betouched by the covenant their parents enter into today. It will both complicateand enrich their lives. They, too, will have much to contribute and will need tohelp create a home and a way of life in which all of you will grow into the bestpeople you can be. G**** and B****, as you give yourselves to one another inlove and loyalty, do you promise always to keep room in your life together forchildren’s names ? Will you commit yourselves to respect and honor themas individuals? Do you pledge now to cherish, encourage and tenderly care forthem as long as they need you? Yes, we do.The children will now give their blessing to this marriage:We (I) wish to offer to both of you our blessing and congratulations. We love youdeeply and we are delighted that you have found each other. We want you toknow that just as you have always loved and supported us, we promise our loveand our support for your new relationship. It is ou

Dear friends, God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us (1 John 4:16) Today we celebrate how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is, and we want to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.