One of the great joys of ministry is to participate in life’s milestone moments with people. A wedding can be a beautiful occasion and we are always striving to make the language we use both consistent with our faith traditions and personal for each couple. Sometimes it can be a challenge! Here are some words you can use, or use as inspiration, from your fellow RevGals.
While obviously most weddings don’t have a mechanism for attributing liturgy, if you do use them please keep a note of who wrote it to be sure you don’t inadvertently publish it later (ask me how I know this is a difficulty with wedding liturgy? lol!), and if wedding videos are made available online please try to put attributions in video descriptions if at all possible (we recognise this isn’t always possible!). These liturgical pieces are offered to you as a gift.
Opening Statement by Stacey Midge
Welcome, friends and family. (Optional statement about cell phones: As we begin this ceremony, the couple has asked that you truly be present with them in this moment, trust that the professionals will take beautiful photographs, and put away your cell phones for the remainder of the ceremony. Thank you!)
We come together today in the presence of God and these witnesses
for the marriage of _____ and ______, to share their joy, and to promise them our support and love as they begin their married life together.
You have already built your relationship before today on love, respect, and partnership (optional mention of history particular to the couple: time together, children, sharing a home). But today you take a new step in which you proclaim before God and human witnesses your commitment to live together in physical, material, and spiritual unity. You make a covenant to share your lives in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health.
Human love is powerful but imperfect. Human commitment is strong but can falter. And so we pray for the promise of God to strengthen the commitment you make today, and the love of God to ever grow and deepen your love for each other.
Opening Statement for a Wedding Service after a previous legal ceremony, by Billie Blair
Friends, we are gathered together in the sight of God to witness and bless the traditional, formal Christian wedding of (Groom) and (Bride), who exchanged vows on __date__ and today wish to share the joy of their marriage in the presence of their family and friends. . Their intention with this ceremony is to seal their vows in front of family and friends, to get the full, traditional experience of entering their marriage, and to connect both halves of their families.
Blessings of Family and Congregation for a Wedding after a previous legal ceremony, by Billie Blair
To the immediate family gathered: The marriage of _____ and _____ has united your two families and created a new one. Today this couple is asking for your public blessing of their marriage. Do you who represent their families rejoice in their union and pray God’s blessing upon them? If so answer We do.
To all those gathered here today: This union is evidenced today in your presence, with _____ and _____’s hope of your blessing and support, so I ask all of you, family and friends, will all of you, by God’s grace, do everything in your power to uphold and care for these two persons in their marriage? If your answer is yes, please reply with the words, “I will.”
Opening Prayer / Invocation, by Melissa Hinnen
On this day of celebration and joy, I invite us into a moment of centering as we breathe and pray:
Gracious and loving and holy God,
Thank you for this beautiful day.
Thank you for this beautiful couple, made in your image.
Thank you for each beautiful person who has gathered here in body or in spirit to bear witness to this sacred union.
Thank you for your beautiful love for each of us.
We ask that you would
Pour out your Spirit on this celebration of love
Fill (names) and all who are supporting and loving them
With a sense of peace, promise, and purpose.
May every moment of this celebration of love
Remind us that we are your family
May every moment of this celebration of love
Bring hope to those who are experiencing loneliness
May every moment of this celebration of love
Reverberate into your world
Reflecting your love for us.
In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN
Declaration of Support from the Congregation by Stacey Midge
No couple comes to their marriage entirely alone. ____ and _____ have become who they are in relationship with family and friends – many of you who are gathered here to witness their commitment and celebrate with them today. As they form this new family and grow in their marriage, they will need your continued love and support. And so I ask you, their friends and family, will you promise to love and support this couple, now and in the years ahead? If so please say “We will.”
Prelude to a Vow Renewal, by Billie Blair
Once when my daughter was very young, we watched a wedding scene together on TV. She turned to me with child-like innocence and asked, “Mama, what’s an “awful wadded wife?” An awful wadded wife?
_____, I’m going to guess that sometime over the years, you’ve look at _____ and thought, “Oh, no, she’s turned into an awful wadded wife.” And ____, I’m sure there were times when you looked at _____ and wondered how he turned into an awful wadded husband.
Love is always tried and tested. Marriage is not always fun. There are times of trial and stress, tension and “oh, my, what have I gotten myself into?” It’s a part of being connected so closely with another human being. Your commitment to one another has overcome the test of time for _____ years. Thanks be to God!
Prelude to Vows, by Teri Peterson
We don’t talk much about “vows” these days, outside of weddings and maybe monks and nuns. The word has fallen out of common usage—which makes it all the more potent when we use it here. A vow is a promise, but somehow it’s deeper even than a promise. The vows you take today are not really declarations of love, or pretty words to make a nice memory, or inside jokes for you to share. Marriage vows create a covenant—a relationship between the two of you and God. A covenant relationship grows and changes with the people who are in it, and also forces you to grow and change as an individual and a couple. These aren’t easy promises to make or keep. You will have to choose to keep them every day from now on. So after you make these vows today, come back to them again and again. Remind yourself of the promise you have made, and let yourself be filled with God’s love for you—and let that love make all other things possible.
So now, _name_ and _name_, join your right hands and with your promises bind yourselves together (as husband and wife / spouses / whatever language works for you).
A moment including children, by Stacey Midge
(This may be an appropriate time to give a symbolic gift to the child/ren or participate in a unity ceremony together):
In weddings we usually talk a lot about the couple being married, but this isn’t just the beginning of a marriage, it’s the beginning of a family. _________ (names of children), you are also part of this family, and your love will be important for _________ (whatever the children call their parents/stepparents) as you grow together. Will you promise your love and support to this marriage? If so please say, “I/we will.”
Blessing of Hands by Billie Blair
(the couple still has joined right hands from the vows. To those gathered: I invite you, as you’re comfortable, to place a hand over your heart and with eyes fully open hear this blessing of the hands)
As you love each other from this day forward, these will be the hands that you’ll hold tomorrow, and the next day, and into the next decade. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as you build your life together, the hands that will touch you with love and tenderness through the years, and the hands that will comfort you like no others can. These are the hands that will hold you through grief, fear, and hardship. These are the hands that will wipe tears of joy and sorrow from your eyes. These are the hands that will hold your family together, and that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that, when wrinkled and spotted with age, will still be reaching for yours. May It Be So!
Billie also shares this lovely story: SHMILY (at the link).
Prayer for the Couple, by Stacey Midge
Eternal God, your love is everlasting and your grace is certain, and so we pray that your promise will strengthen _____ and ______ in their marriage. Fill them with patience, kindness, gentleness, and other gifts of your Spirit, so the vows they have made today will be a blessing to them and never a burden. Surround them with joy and love, and help them to nurture a home of peace and grow each day in their love for each other. May they be patient with each other, caring for each other’s needs, sharing in each other’s joys and sorrows, forgiving and receiving forgiveness. May they be calm and certain in your peace, and confident of the love they share. Through all that may come in their life together, may they enjoy each other, and may their love for each other grow ever deeper, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Benediction and Introduction of the Couple by Stacey Midge
The grace of Christ attend you,
The love of God surround you,
The Holy Spirit keep you,
That you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love,
Now and forevermore. Amen.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you for the first time as a married couple: _________
Many thanks to all our contributors for so generously sharing their work for this special edition of Worship Words!
Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland, where she ministers to a fantastic congregation in the most beautiful place, and lives in perhaps the nation’s best manse with the best view and a 15 year old cat who is the actual pickiest eater in the universe. She is the liturgy writer for the BibleWorm podcast, blogs (very) occasionally at CleverTitleHere, co-authored the book Who’s Got Time: Spirituality for a Busy Generation, and serves on the RevGalBlogPals board.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. For Worship Words, you may use or adapt what you find here, but please credit the author in printed orders of service/web publications and in public video descriptions if possible.
If you have written words for worship in this strange new world that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. We are looking for contributions!