Priest: Welcome, in the Name of + the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to this place and this time! It is our joy to witness and to celebrate the wedding of _______ and ____.
Priest: ____ and __ come to us to become one--not to lose themselves, but to promise a new life of unity. God IS Love, and it is this Godly Love, shared by humans, which brings unity! Marriage is a sacred covenant between two people where they commit to live in that love, and come to know each other with mutual care and companionship. God is LOVE, and Love brings joy! Through that joy, husband and wife may share their new life with others--family, friends and ultimately with the world. We gather here to support them today and witness their public proclamation of this union.
We surround ____ and ___ with our prayers, and share their joy. The scriptures teach us that the bond and covenant of marriage is a gift of God, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh, an image of the union of Christ and the Church. As this woman and this man give themselves to each other today, we remember at Cana in Galilee, our Savior Jesus Christ made the wedding feast a sign of God's reign of Love. Let us enter into this celebration confident that through the Holy Spirit, Christ is present with us now.
CALL TO PRAYER
O God we gather to celebrate Your gift of Love and its presence among us here. We rejoice that two people have chosen to commit themselves to a life of loving faithfulness to one another. We thank You that we have experienced Your love through the life-giving love of Jesus, and through the care and affection of other people. At the same time we remember and confess to You that we often have failed to be loving. Forgive us, O God. Renew within us an affectionate spirit. Enrich our lives with the gracious gift of Your love so that we may embrace others with the same love You give us. May our participation in this celebration of love and commitment give to us a new joy and responsiveness to the relationships we cherish through Jesus Christ, we pray.
Let us join together now in the words our Savior Himself taught us:
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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever). Amen. Alleluia!
READING FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE
Our Scripture reading is taken from 1 John 4:7-16.
4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 4:8 The person who does not love does not know God, because God is Love. 4:9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.
4:11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 4:12 No one ever has seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 4:13 By this we know that we live in God and God in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God.
4:16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is Love, and the one who abides in Love abides in God, and God abides in him.
This is the Word of God! Alleluia!
Declaration of Intention by Couple
Priest: _________ and ________ before God, (and in the presence of those here with you,) I ask you both to affirm your willingness to enter this holy covenant of marriage, and to share all the joys and sorrows of the new relationship, whatever the future may hold.
Priest to Groom: ____, do you come here freely, without reservation, to give yourself in marriage?
Groom: "I do"
Priest: ______, will you have _____ to be your wife, and will you love her faithfully as long as you both shall live?
Groom: “I will”
Priest to Bride: ____, do you come here freely, and without reservation, to give yourself in marriage?
Bride: "I do"
Priest to Bride: ______, will you have _____ to be your husband, and will you love him faithfully as long as you both shall live?
Bride: “I will.”
Pledge of support by loved ones present (optional)
Priest (addressing relatives and friends): Do you, as the families and friends of ___ and ___pledge your support and encouragement to them as they make this covenant commitment together?
People: “We do.”
Priest: God of our mothers and fathers, hear our pledges encouraging and supporting this union of _____ and _____. Bless us as we offer our prayerful and loving support to their marriage. Bless them as they pledge their lives to each other. With faith in You, and in each other, may this couple always bear witness to the reality of the love we witness this day. May their love continue to grow, and may it be a true reflection of Your love for us all, through Jesus Christ.
Profession of Vows
(standard or may be composed by couple)
Bride: ____, I give myself to you to be your wife. I promise to love, honor, and support you in our covenant of marriage, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.
Groom: ___, I give myself to you to be your husband. I promise to love, honor, and support you in our covenant of marriage, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.
Priest: ____ and _____, you have declared your intent before God and this community here with you. Share now your vows with each other.
(Hold each other's hands and repeating after the priest)
Groom/Bride: ___/____, I solemnly promise to love and to trust, to honor and to cherish you each day from this day forward. I invite you to share my life and I hope to share yours. I dedicate myself to your happiness and fulfillment as a person, I devote myself to your salvation in Christ. I will do everything in my power to preserve and encourage our sacred marital union. I accept you _____ / ______ as my loyal and loving (wife/husband) and I promise to love you an no other.
Blessing of the Rings
Priest: May these rings be a sign of your sacred love, and may you think of one another each time you look upon them. May the circle of these rings symbolize the unending love of God reflected in your holy union, Z in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Exchange of Rings
(Repeating after the priest)
Groom: ___, with this ring, I take you as my wife, for as long as we both shall live, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Bride: ___, with this ring, I take you as my husband, for as long as we both shall live, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Priest: _____ and _______, the two lighted candles symbolize your separate lives, your separate families, and your separate sets of friends. Now, each of you, take one candle and together light the center candle.
(The couples take their candles and the priest continues)
Priest: The individual candles represented your individual lives before today. Lighting the center candle symbolizes the joining together of your two lives to form a married couple, and the joining together of your two families and sets of friends.
Celtic Hand-tying With Priest's Stole
(The couple places their left hands or both hands together. The priest then wraps their hands together in a loose knot. The Celtic Blessing is given or sung.)
"The Weaving of Love"
Copyright 1998, Rev. Cait Finnegan
This knotwork of love that you weave today
Will guide you through life as you go your way
Should the road become difficult just stop and say:
"I do take you, Love, again today."
And these vows, before God, that you proclaim here,
Shall strengthen the bond that you build through the years.
So we witness with joy, as family or friends,
And rejoice in these words: real love never ends.
With your hands clasped together, God's blessing be yours!
With your hearts weaved together, God's blessing be yours!
With your circle around you, God's blessing be yours!
We pray that forever, God's blessing be yours!
And, should the road become rocky just stop and say:
"I do take you, Love, again today."
Priest (Putting his/her hands on their joined hands.)
May you be blessed with unbreakable bonds of Love to one another! May you be bound with unbreakable bonds of commitment to this Love. May all your thoughts, words, and actions toward one another reflect only this Love.
(Priest unties the couple's hands and continues:)
In the presence of God, before us here, you have made your solemn vows to each other. You have confirmed your promises by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. Therefore, in the Name of the + Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Priest: You may exchange your holy kiss.
Priest: ___and ___, may the grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, and the Holy Spirit keep you that you may grow in holy love, find delight in each other always, and remain faithful until your life's end. Go now in great joy, in the Name of the + Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All: AMEN! Alleluia!