Remember, it is your ceremony and I am here to assist you in making the day memorable. Do not hesitate to include your own changes.

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Traditional Christian Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony for

GroomFull  & BrideFull

Place

Date

 

Opening Logistics

  • Background music
  • Music changes (this is the official start of the ceremony)
  • Grandparents are ushered in by groomsmen, best man, or Groom 
  • Parents are ushered in by groomsmen, best man, or Groom 
  • Music changes
  • Maid of honor and Bride  s maids enter individually
  • Ring barer, flower girl, and bell ringer enter individually
  • Bell ringer rings bell, Lance asks guests to stand
  • Music changes to bridal march
  • Bride is escorted in
  • Music stops briefly then continues (low volume) throughout ceremony (no music during vows)

Introduction

(Ask audience to be seated, father or other escort stays for a moment)

Elrod: May the Grace and Peace of God the Father, and of our Brother Jesus Christ, and the all-embracing Love of the Holy Spirit be with you all! 
  
People: And also with you! 
  
Elrod: Welcome, all of you. We are gathered here today for one of the happiest occasions in all human life, to celebrate before God the marriage of a man and woman who love each other. Marriage is a most honorable estate, created and Instituted by God, signifying unto us the mystical union, which also exists between Christ and the Church; so too may this marriage be adorned by true and abiding love.

Who is it that brings this woman to this man?

Father or Sponsor: I do.

(Father or other kisses Bride  , then sits)

Elrod: Bride  and Groom  , although life is a gift given to each of us as individuals, we also learn to live together in harmony. Love is a gift to us from our family and friends. Through these gifts of love we learn to ourselves to gift it back. Learning to love and live together is one of life's greatest challenges and is the shared goal of a married life.

Mankind did not create love; love is created by God.  Therefore, a husband and wife should not confuse love of worldly things with that of Godly love of one another. For even if worldly success is found, only love for one another  will maintain a marriage. The measure of true love is a love both freely given and freely accepted, just as God's love is unconditional and free.

Today is truly a glorious day which the Lord hath made - as today both of you are blessed with God's greatest of all gifts - the gift of abiding love and devotion between a man and a woman. All present here today - and those here in heart - wish both of you all the joy, happiness and success and the world has to offer.

Pledge Of Support 
  
Elrod: Who presents Bride  to Groom  to be married? 
Bride  ’s Parents or Sponsors: We do. 
  
Elrod: Who presents Groom  to Bride  to be married? 
Groom  ’s Parents or Sponsors: We do. 

Unity Candle

The mothers of Bride  and Groom  will now come forward to light to individual candles that represent the individuality of this couple at this time. They are truly two individuals who will shortly agree to join for a life of deep abiding love.

First Reading

1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:8

Set your mind on the higher gifts.
And now I am going to put before you the best way of all.
Though I command languages both human and angelic --
If I speak without love,
I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.
And though I have the power of prophecy,
To penetrate all mysteries and knowledge,
And though I have all faith necessary to move mountains --
if I am without love, I am nothing.
Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess,
And even give up my body to be burned --
If I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous;
love is not boastful or conceited,
it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage,
it does not take offence or store up grievances.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.
It is always ready to make allowances, to trust,
to hope and to endure whatever comes.
Love never comes to an end.

The Challenge

Elrod: In this sacred and joyful moment, we call upon the highest in you, Bride  and Groom  , the divine inner presence that brought you to love and has chosen for you the sweet commitment of marriage. For you we ask every blessing of this moment; a confirmation of the wisdom of your choice; great happiness on the path that is set before you; discretion, kindness and care as you walk upon it, strength to live out your purpose, grace and peace through each step of your journey, and beloved family and friends to support you. 
  
Elrod: Bride  , are you here to ask Groom  to be your partner, your lover, your friend and your husband? Do you intend to give him your deepest friendship and love, not only when you are feeling bright and alive, but also when you are feeling down? Not only when you remember clearly that you are a manifestation of God, but even in those times when you forget? Do you announce before God and those here present that you will seek always to see the Light of Divinity within Groom , and seek always to share the Light of Divinity within you? 
  
Bride  : I do. 
  
Elrod: Groom  , are you here to ask Bride  to be your partner, your lover, your friend and your wife? Do you intend to give her your deepest friendship and love, not only when you are feeling bright and alive, but also when you are feeling down? Not only when you remember clearly that you are a manifestation of God, but even in those times when you forget? Do you announce before God and those here present that you will seek always to see the Light of Divinity within Bride , and seek always to share the Light of Divinity within you? 
  
Groom  : I do.

On Love

As you travel through life together, I caution you to remember that the true measure of success, the true avenue to joy and peace, is to be found within the love you hold in your hearts. I would ask that you hold the key to your heart very tightly.

Within the Bible, nothing holds greater importance that Love. We are told the crystalline and beautiful truth: "God is Love". We are assured that "Love conquers all".  It is love which brings you here today, the union of two hearts and two spirits. As your lives continue to interweave as one pattern, remember that it was love that brought you here today, it is love that will make this a glorious union, and it is love which will cause this union to endure.

Blessing of the Rings
  
Elrod: Who holds the rings?

Best Man or Sponsor: I do 

(and holds his hand up to display the rings and holds them up to be blessed by the Lance.)

Elrod: Let us bless these rings! O God, these rings are circles, symbols that remind us of the Sun, and the Earth, and the universe. 

Symbols of holiness, of perfection and peace ... that which has no beginning and no end. And so, in this moment, bring your blessing to these rings to also be symbols of unity, of joining and of commitment. Grant that the love which Bride  and Groom  have for each other now may always be just this way. 
  
Elrod: These are the rings that Bride and Groom  will wear for the rest of their lives, that express the love that they have for one another. Let us take a moment and send our prayers, our thoughts and our love to these rings, so that as they wear them, they will carry our love with them as well. 

Exchange Of Vows and Rings
 
Elrod: Bride  and Groom  , as you dedicate yourselves to one another, we are mindful of the presence of God around us. 

Each holds the hand of the other, slides the ring half way on, then repeats the vows after Lance

(Ensure that Bride  has moved her engagement diamond to the right hand before beginning this part)

Groom  : 
  
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 honor 
and to cherish unconditionally. 
Forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you.
In the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit. 
Amen.

With this ring, I thee wed.

(Then finish putting the ring on the finger, move engagement diamond back to its position)
  
  
Bride  : 
  
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 honor 
and to cherish unconditionally. 
Forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you.
In the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit. 
Amen. 

With this ring, I thee wed.

(Then finish putting the ring on the finger.)

Second Reading:

A Sonnet from "Sonnets from the Portuguese" 
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach,
when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need,
by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use In my old grief's,
and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,
--I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!--
and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.  

Charge to the Couple

Elrod:  Bride  and Groom  as the two of you have joined this marriage uniting as husband and wife, and as you this day affirm your faith and love for one another, I would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as special and unique individuals, that you respect the thoughts, ideas and suggestions of one another. Be able to forgive, do not hold grudges, and live each day that you may share it together - as from this day forward you shall be each other's home, comfort and refuge, your marriage strengthened by your love and respect.

Prayer

Elrod: Oh Lord, our hearts are filled with great happiness on this wedding day. They come before You pledging their hearts and lives to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together is such a way as to bring happiness to the marriage.

Temper their hearts with kindness and understanding, rid them of all pretense of jealousy. Help them to remember to be each other's sweetheart, helpmate, friend and guide, so that together they may meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. And with the passage of time, may the home they are creating today, truly be a place of love and harmony, where your spirit is ever present.

Bless this union we pray, and walk beside Bride and Groom  throughout all their lives together. AMEN

Lighting of the Unity Candle 
  
Lance: At the beginning of this ceremony, the mothers of Bride  and Groom  lit two individual candles, symbolic of their individuality. Now Bride  and Groom  will light their unity candle, symbolic of the light of their love and unity to the world from this day forward. 

As couple return to their positions, Bride and Groom , moving together, visit first his parents then hers for hugs and kisses and handshakes.

Pronouncement as Husband & Wife

Elrod:  Bride and Groom , in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the giving of these rings and the joining of your hands, I now declare you to be husband and wife.

Benediction

Elrod: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance unto you, and give you peace.

Congratulations, you may kiss!

I present to you Mrs. Bride and Mr. GroomFull

Elrod: Would everyone please stand as the couple departs! Please remain in your places until the parents have left the room.

Music begins, couple slowly walks out, flower girl and ring bearer depart, groomsmen and bridesmaids recess as pairs, Lance invites parents and grandparents to exit just in front of him.

Elrod: (said as she departs last) Thank you all very much!