RELIGIOUS WEDDING CEREMONY # 1OPENING WORDSWelcome… Family and Friends.Today we are gathered together in the sight of God to join this man and this woman in marriage. Let all who enter marriage know it as a sacred and joyous covenant, a way of life ordained by God from the beginning of creation. God blesses the covenant of marriage: that husband and wife may give to each other companionship, help, and comfort, both in prosperity and in adversity: that He may hold sacred the expression of natural affections; that children may be born and nurtured in families; and that human society may stand on firm foundation. Let us therefore invoke the blessing of God on this marriage between Bride’s (full name)______ & Groom’s (full name)_______. RITUALS (OPTIONAL) (Please see Ceremony Add-ons)Optional REMEMBERING LOVED ONES (see ceremony add-ons)Optional PRESENTATION OF ROSES TO MOTHERS(see ceremony add-ons)Optional HONORING OF PARENTS (see ceremony add-ons)MINISTER’S MESSAGEMarriage is an act of faith and ever-deepening commitment, as well as a loving union between a man and a woman. It has been described as the best and the most important relationship that two people can share, the creation of a single growing energy of spiritual life. Marriage can be a lifelong unfolding of loving kindness, backed by the will to make it last. There is no limit to the knowing of another's soul, and when you learn to love one person, then you grow in love for all of humanity. The commitment to love that forms the heart of marriage doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel angry with each other, or hurt. It doesn’t mean that life together will always be easy, fun or free from care. It does mean that every argument or misunderstanding will be followed by forgiveness, and that the challenges and sorrows of life will be eased by the tenderness you feel in each other’s arms and the safety you feel in each other’s hearts. And it means that you will walk through the rest of your days with a true friend beside you, one you can laugh with and cry with, grow old with and feel forever young with. Today we rejoice with you, and bless you on your way.PRAYERDear God, Please bless this couple. Please make their relationship be a great and holy adventure. May their joining be a sacred place. May they find rest here, a haven for their souls. Bring them together, heart and mind, body and soul. Guide their way into light, guide their way into wisdom. Help them grow. We give thanks for the gift of their precious love. Optional READINGS(Please see Readings)(1st) READING(see Readings)1st Corinthians Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful: it is not arrogant or rude.Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. (2nd) READING(see Readings)Colossians Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.DECLARATION OF INTENTThe covenant of marriage is sacred. It is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and soberly. Into this holy estate, ________ & ______ come to be joined. Is it your desire now to continue in this sacred ceremony, and do you solemnly promise that the vows you are about to take reflect your true inner feelings? If so, please say, “We do.”WEDDING VOWS: (Please see Vow selections)Minister says to Groom//Bride, “please repeat after me”.I, ______, take you, ______, to be my beloved wife/husband, to have and to hold you, to honor you, to treasure you, to be at your side in sorrow and in joy, to laugh with you in the good times, to comfort and solace you in the bad, and to love and cherish you always. I promise you this from my heart, with my soul, and for all the days of my life--eternal.EXCHANGE OF RINGS: BLESSING and RING VOWS:May I have the Rings Please? SYMBOLISM OF RINGSThe wedding ring is a symbol of eternity, without beginning or end, and with no point of weakness. As you give these rings to each other, our wish is that your love will be as eternal and everlasting as these precious rings. In the years to come, may they remind you of the overwhelming joy of this very special day.BLESSING OF RINGSDear God,bless these rings and the two who exchange them. Fill them today and always with your holy presence, and keep them safe in the circle of your protective love. Amen.RING VOWS: (Please see Ring Vows) _______, as you place this ring on _______’s finger, please repeat after me. _______, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. As you wear it, may it be a reminder of how much I love you, not only on this precious day, but every single day of your life.Optional RITUAL CEREMONYadd-ons,Unity Candleor Sand CeremonyUNITY CANDLE CEREMONY(see Unity Candle add-ons for more options)There is a spiritual teaching that says “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined for each other find one another, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light shines forth from their united beings”. ________ & ________, truly your souls have found and recognized one another. You have come to see and honor that precious light that shines within each of you. And you have come to understand that together you can shine far brighter than either of you could ever shine alone. ________ & ______, you will each take a lit candle representing your individual families and together light the Unity candle – the candle that symbolizes your marriage, and the new family created through your marriage, knowing that God is present in this union. Call upon this Divine Presence for guidance, strength, patience and peace, as you seek to live your lives together in ever-deepening understanding and love. PRAYER/BLESSINGDear God, We now ask for your blessings for this couple. Please make their relationship a great and holy adventure. Join them together in heart, mind, body and soul. Guide their way and help them to grow and prosper together. Please grant them the blessing of healthy children. And may they live and love so long to see their children’s children. May this bond be a channel of healing for them, their families and for our world. We thank you for this gift of love. Amen. PRONOUNCEMENTWhat therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Forasmuch as ________and _______ have consented together in holy matrimony, and ave witnessed the same before God and this company and have pledged their love and loyalty to each other, and have declared the same by the joining and the giving of rings, I, therefore, by the authority of the state of Michigan, pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."KISSYou may now kiss the Bride! PRESENTATIONFamily and friends, it is now my pleasure to presentMr. & Mrs. __________ & __________ _____________RELIGIOUS WEDDING CEREMONY - 2 OPENING WORDSWelcome Family and Friends. On behalf of Bride & Groom thank you for being here. Bride& Groom, in their devotion, respect, and love for each other, wish to unite in the holy bond of marriage, and to dedicate themselves to each other’s happiness and well-being for the rest of their lives. You have been invited here today because you are special and precious to Bride & Groom. When asked what was most important to them, both of them agreed that high on their list was family and friends. By participating fully with your energy and positive thoughts, you are supporting these two people as they take this most serious step in their lives. Your are called to witness this sacred bonding – to support Groom & Bride through your love and prayers - today and always - so that they may grow in their love and wisdom and understanding as they journey together through life. Optional REMEMBERING LOVED ONES(see Ceremony Add-ons)Optional READINGS(see Readings)(1st) READING (see Readings)Bride&GroomwouldliketobeginthisceremonywithareadingofthePoem“MyTrueLove Hath My Heart” by Sir Philip Sidney to be read by ____________. MINISTER’S MESSAGE (on love and marriage)Marriage is an act of faith and ever-deepening commitment, as well as a loving union between a man and a woman. It has been described as the best and the most important relationship that two people can share, the creation of a single growing energy of spiritual life. Marriage can be a lifelong unfolding of loving kindness, backed by the will to make it last. There is no limit to the knowing of another's soul, and when you learn to love one person, then you grow in love for all of humanity. The commitment to love that forms the heart of marriage doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel angry with each other, or hurt. It doesn’t mean that life together will always be easy, fun or free from care. It does mean that every argument or misunderstanding will be followed by forgiveness, and that the challenges and sorrows of life will be eased by the tenderness you feel in each other’s arms and the safety you feel in each other’s hearts. And it means that you will walk through the rest of your days with a true friend beside you, one you can laugh with and cry with, grow old with and feel forever young with. Today we rejoice with you, and bless you on your way.Optional (2nd) READING (see Readings)We will now hear a reading on “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. PetersonDECLARATION OF INTENTIONBride & Groom, at this time do you affirm your free choice to be united in marriage? If so say, “We do”. Bride & Groom respond: “We do”.WEDDING VOWS: (see Vow selections)Do you, Groom/Bride, take this woman/man, to be your wife – joining with her/him today in spirit and in heart – offering your friendship and loving care – seeking her /his happiness as your own – honoring her trust as the precious gift that it is – cherishing and respecting her/him, loving and embracing her/him in times of adversity and times of joy, for as long as you both shall live? If so answer now “I do”. Groom/Bride respond:“I do”.EXCHANGE OF RINGS: BLESSING and RING VOWS:Have you brought rings to exchange as a symbol of your marriage? Bride & Groom respond with: “Yes.”May I have the rings, please.SYMBOLISM OF RINGSThe wedding ring is an ancient symbol of commitment and love that, like a circle, has no beginning and no end. Bride and Groom, let these rings that you exchange be an outward sign and reminder to you always of what you have pledged to each other today.BLESSING OF RINGSDear God, bless these rings and the two who exchange them. Fill them today and always with Your holy Presence, and keep them safe in the circle of Your protection and love.AmenRING VOWS (Please see Ring Vows) Groom/Bride, as you place your ring upon Bride’s/Groom’s finger, please repeat after me: “I give you this ring as a sign of my devotion and love. With this ring, I thee wed.”Groom/Bride responds: “I give you this ring as a sign of my devotion and love. With this ring, I thee wed.”Optional RITUAL CEREMONYadd-ons,Unity Candleor Sand CeremonyPRAYER / BLESSING(on marriage) Dear God, we ask that your blessings rest upon Groom & Bride today and for the rest of their lives together. May your peace abide in them, and may your presence illuminate their hearts now and forever more. Bride & Groom, may your lives together be filled with eternal love, endless friendships and unending laughter. Amen.PRONOUNCEMENTGroom & Bride, as you have committed yourselves to each other in the sacred bond of marriage. Bride & Groom it is my legal right as a minister, as well as my joy and privilege, to pronounce you husband and wifeKISSYou may kiss the Bride. or Please seal yourmarriage with a kiss. INTRODUCTIONFamily and Friends, it is now my pleasure to introduce…Mr. and Mrs. ________!