Friends, we have been invited here to share with ________ and ________ in a most important time in their lives. In the time they have been together, their love for and understanding of each other has grown and matured. Now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife.
Would you bow with me as we ask the Lord's blessing on our time together today?
Our Father in heaven, Creator, Savior, and Designer of marriage, we turn to you this afternoon, asking that you be glorified by what takes place. That this ceremony would honor you, and re-flect the seriousness of the vows to be spoken. Might this service be a reminder to us who have spoken similar vows to our spouses in the past. Might it be instructive to those yet considering such a commitment in their future. Might this ceremony be a fitting beginning for ________ and ________ as they commit themselves before this company to pursue a Christ-centered life together. We ask it in Jesus' name, Amen. Thank you. You may be seated.
Giving Away of Bride
Pastor -- Who is giving this woman to be joined to this man?
Father of Bride -- Her mother and I are.
Pastor -- Will the Bride's and Groom's Parents please stand?
Pastor to Bride's Parents -- Are you willing, now and always, to support and strengthen this marriage, by upholding both ________ and ________, with your love, your concern, your counsel, and your prayers?
Bride's Parents -- We are.
Pastor to Groom's Parents -- Are you willing, now and always, to support and strengthen this marriage, by upholding both ________ and _WF with your love, your concern, your coun-sel, and your prayers?
Groom's Parents -- We are.
(Optional) Lighting of Unity Candles
As organ plays both mothers walk up to light two single candles.
Bride and Groom approach pastor on platform
Our God of love has established marriage as the symbol of Christ's perfect relationship to His Body, the Church. We have come to bring you as one before Him.
Pastor to Groom -- ________, God has ordained the man as the spiritual head, as the responsible pro-vider, and as the initiator of love in this human relationship. By His enablement, your strength must be your wife's protection, your character her boast and pride, and you must so live that she will find in you the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
Pastor to Bride -- ________, it is God's purpose that you be a loving wife, that you respond to your husband's love in tenderness with a deep sense of understanding, through a great faith in Christ who brought you together. It is His desire that you have that inner beauty of soul that never fades; that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.
Pastor to Couple -- Christian marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two persons, uniting and joining hands to serve God. Seek His kingdom first, and His righteousness, and He will add all other things to you. Do not expect perfection from each other--that belongs solely to God. You need not minimize each other's weak-nesses, but always be swift to praise and magnify each other's points of comeliness and strength, and see each other through kind and patient eyes.
God will lead you into such situations as will bless you, and those which will develop your character as you walk together. That's another way of saying there will be difficult times you share as well. As you look to Him, He will give you enough tears to keep you tender, enough hurts to keep you compassionate, enough of failure to keep your hands clenched tightly in His, and enough of success to make you certain that you do walk with Him.
May He remain the central figure in your relationship together. May you never take each other's love for granted, but always experience that wonder that exclaims "Out of all in this world, you have chosen me!" When life is done, may you be found, then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May you ever serve Him happily, faithfully, together, until Christ returns in Glory, or until at last one shall lay the other to rest in the arms of the Savior. And all this, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor to Groom -- ________, have you in the quiet hours of your companionship considered what is your Christian duty as a husband?
Groom -- I have.
Pastor to Bride -- ________, have you in the quiet hours of your companionship considered what is your Christian duty as a wife?
Bride -- I have.
You both stand before us as children of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ through your trust in Him, and His substitutionary death for your sin. Is it your purpose to establish a home that is truly Christ-centered, where the Word of God is read and obeyed; a home that is welded together by prayer, in which the Holy Spirit is your con-stant Guide?
Bride and Groom -- It is.
Will you please, as an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, now please join your hands.
Pastor to Groom -- ________, this woman whom you hold by the hand is to be your wife. She has given you one of the most sacred things under heaven: a woman's life, and a woman's love. You may bring her great joy or cause her deep sorrow. It is not what you bring her in a material way that will make true happiness--riches without love are nothing. The gift without the giver is bare. The practice of those virtues as husband that you have shown as lover, will keep her heart won to your heart.
Do you vow here, as you have promised ________, that you will be true and loyal, patient in sickness, comforting in sorrow, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her, so long as you both shall live?
Groom -- I do.
Pastor to Bride -- ________, this man whom you hold by the hand is to be your husband. Upon your life, your love, and your devotion he will lean for strength and inspiration. He is going to look to you for encour-agement, for cheerfulness, and for confidence. No matter what the world may say or think, people may forget him, lose confidence in him, or turn their backs upon him, but you must not. May your life and love be the inspiration that will constantly lead him to greater dependence upon our Lord.
Do you vow here, as you have promised ________, that you will be loyal in adversity, ministering to him in affliction, comforting him in sorrow, and forsaking all others, keeping yourself only unto him so long as you both shall live?
Bride -- I do.
Pastor to Groom -- What token do you give as a pledge of the sincerity of your vows?
Groom -- A ring.
Pastor to Bride -- What token do you give as a pledge of the sincerity of your vows?
Bride -- A ring.
A ring is a fitting symbol to represent the covenant you are making today. Not only are these made out of the finest of metals, reminding you of the purity of your relationship. but they are also a circle, a line unending, reminding you that your love, devotion, and commitment to one another are to be unending.
Pastor to Groom -- Would you repeat after me: I, ________, take you, ________, to be my wife, before God who brought us together, to love and cherish you, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, to lead you, and share all of life's experiences with you, by following God through them. That through His grace we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
Pastor to Bride -- ________, would you repeat after me: I, ________, take you, ________, to be my wedded husband, before God who brought us together, to love you and to cherish you, to submit myself to you in all things, and to follow you through all of life's experiences as you follow God, that through His grace we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
(Optional) Lighting Unity Candle
The two outside candles on the table have been lighted to represent your lives up to this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their separate ways. To bring the happiness God designed for your home, there must be the merging of these two lights into one light. This is what the Lord meant when He said, "On this account a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh." From now on, your thoughts shall be for each other, rather than for your individual selves. Your plans shall be mutual, your joys and sorrows shall be shared. As you each take a candle, and together light the center one, and extinguish your own candles, you will be letting the center candle represent the union of your lives into one flesh. As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall your lives be divided, but a united testimony in a Christian home. May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of your unity in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Optional) Bride and Groom each take candle and light unity candle.
Stand following, facing and joining hands
In as much as you have each pledged to the other your lifelong commitment, love, and devotion, by the authority committed to me as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and according to the laws of the State of (state), I now declare you to be husband and wife, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. And what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to be the first to introduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. ________.