A Celebration of Marriage

(the couple may choose several pieces of music to be played or sung)
(some couples may choose a traditional seating of immediate family and a formal procession of a wedding party or an entirely informal way of gathering to be visible to those in attendance)
(the officiant may use these or other words appropriate to the occasion)
Dear friends, we have been invited here to witness and support ______ and ________ as they make their pledge of marriage to one another. No ceremony or state license actually makes a couple married because marriage is an agreement that is fed and nurtured day after day through mutual support, sacrificial love, intentional pardon, and generous acceptance but what we come together for in this moment is no small thing. You have asked us to witness your public pledge to live a life in which you build a marriage that will be a source of encouragement and stability for all of us.
Declaration of consent

And so I ask you _______ will you have this person to be your partner in marriage? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and keep him/her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her as long as you both shall live?
(each person, when asked for their consent, replies “I will”)
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?
(those gathered respond, “We Will”)
Reading(s) and homily
(the officiant or other persons may be called upon to read a poem, a text, or a passage of scripture which may be followed with a brief homily)
We knit our hearts and intentions together in this solemn moment to resolve individually and as family, friends, and community to honor and support these two in the vows they now make.
(some couples may choose to write their own vows or the officiant may lead the couple in the following)
I, ___________, take you, _____________, to be my partner in marriage and in life. I vow to love and support you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and in every stage of our shared life until we are parted by death.
Exchanging Rings
(the officiant may lead the couple in saying)
Let this ring be a symbol of my pledge of never ending love and respect for you.
Now that ___________ and _________ have freely given themselves to one another through these vows, let us all acknowledge that they are united in honorable state of marriage. May joy and sincere affection adorn all of their days.(a joint lighting of a unity candle or a combining of colored sand may follow)
It is now my honor to introduce to you ____________ and __________! You may now greet one another with a kiss!

Dr. Roger L. Ray

pastor, The Emerging Church


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