Elements of the Event
Rings, Blessing, Vows, Unity Candle
Standing together, facing the minister, the man to the minister's left and the woman to the right, the minister addresses the congregation as follows:
DEARLY BELOVED: We are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. The covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and has been blessed through the ages by the people of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself blessed marriage through his presence and first public miracle that he performed in Cana, and the apostle Paul commended it as well. Marriage is therefore not to be entered into lightly or quickly, but reverently, with honor. and in the fear of God.
Christian marriage represents the intensity that our relationship with God can have, and through the union of the husband and wife in heart, body, and mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy as they dedicate themselves to each other and to God. It is intended to give help and comfort to each other in all conditions and seasons of life. And it is into this holy estate that these two people now come to be joined.
Addressing the couple to be married, the minister says:
(Groom) and (Bride), as you stand in the presence of God and before those who care about you, I charge you both to remember that the commitment to marriage is a commitment to permanence. It is the intent of God that your marriage will be for life, that only death will separate you. Remember that you are entering into a covenant relationship with each other, patterned after the example of faithfulness and sacrificial love that Christ has set for us.
Your marriage is to receive your best efforts in every respect. So live in loyalty and faithfulness to each other so that your home becomes a wonderful testimony to the depth of your relationship with Jesus Christ. May you always know that it is Christ who is the witness to all your thoughts and deeds, both good and bad. May the quality of your life together be measured by your love for God.
Your love for each other is a blessing the likes of which you will never see again. And while times will not always be easy, or even pleasant, I pray that you will always fight for and cling to that love, remembering what love truly is. As 1 Corinthians testifies,
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never stops.”
Following the charge the minister shall say unto the man:
Will you, (groom), take (bride) to be your wedded wife, to live together with her, and before God, in the holy state of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, will you keep yourself only for her, so long as you both shall live?
Response: I will.
Then the minister says to the woman:
Will you, (bride), take (groom) to be your wedded husband, to live together with him, and before God, in the holy state of marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him, so long as you both shall live?
Response: I will.
Then come, face each other.
Facing each other and joining right hands, the couple then exchanges the following vows:
The man first repeats after the minister:
I, (groom), take you, (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 us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faith.
The woman then repeats after the minister:
I, (bride), take you, (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 us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faith.
The minister receives the ring from the groomsman and, in turn, passes it to the groom. As the groom then places it upon the bride's finger, he shall repeat, after the minister:
This ring I give you as a token of my love and as a pledge of my constant fidelity.
Repeat for double ring ceremony.
The couple then turns to the minister, who offers the following, or an extemporaneous prayer:
Oh God of light, love, and understanding, you are the way the truth and the life. You sustain us with your Holy Spirit. We take joy in your presence with us in our lives and pray for your guidance, and sustaining power as Joshua and Kelly begin this new stage in their life. Bless their walk together and their walk with you, may their life be filled with love, and may they never forget what first drew them together. May they find strength in each other and in you. We pray this through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
May God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you. May the Lord have mercy on you and may His favor shine upon you, and fill you with all spiritual blessings and grace. May you so live together in this life that in the world to come you may have life everlasting.
Then comes the unity candle.
This wedding is the ending of this couple's old life and the beginning of a new one. As part of this, they have left their family ties and dependencies, and have made the choice that they will cling together as one no matter what happens. Their light will burn together. And that is what the unity candle symbolizes. The leaving of the old and the creation of something new out of that.
As Jesus quoted, “For this reason a man (and woman) will leave their father and mother and be united with their spouse, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” –Matthew 4:5-6
The couple goes up, lights the main candle together, and comes back down to the pastor. Couple turns to congregation
Then the minister says:
Because this man and woman have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and all of you, and because they have declared this by their exchanging of vows, through the authority vested in me by being a minister of the gospel, I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together let no man pull apart. Amen.
You may kiss the bride.
May I have the pleasure of being the first to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. (Insert Last Name)
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