Ceremonies

We who are witnessing your marriage hope that despite the stresses inevitable in life that your love and respect for each other, along with trust and understanding of each other, will increase your contentment and heighten your joy in living.

3. Honoring of Family/Tribute to Deceased Loved Ones (Optional)

[Name] and [name] would like to thank their parents and family for all the love and care they received growing up, and to thank all of you who are here to share in their joy today. They would also like to honor in memorium those who couldn’t attend, namely _____________________ on [name]’s side, and __________________________ on [name]’s side.  These loved ones will live on in their minds and hearts today and always.

4. Wedding Address

Dear Friends and Family,

Marriage is a very special place, the sheltered environment in which we can learn and grow as individuals, with the support, love and companionship of that other very special person who has made the commitment and promise to share with us life’s journey together. 

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection, and with full appreciation of its sacred nature.  Marriage is a gift, given to comfort the sorrows of life and magnify the joys.  As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs.  With full understanding of this, [bride] and [groom] have come here today to be joined as lifelong partners.

We are here today, not only to witness your commitment to each other, [groom] and [bride], but also to wish you both every happiness in your future life as a couple. Within its framework of commitment and loyalty, marriage enables the establishment of a home, where through trust, patience and respect, the love and affection that you have for each other may continue to develop and deepen in the years to come. 

We have come here today to be with [bride] and [groom] as they take the next step in their journey together.  In one sense they are not beginning a new life, they are continuing and strengthening the bond that is obviously already there.  A piece of paper cannot make a marriage. For [groom] and [bride], the spirit of marriage is already alive in their hearts and minds.  Therefore, the piece of paper that is generated from this ceremony today merely conforms their outward status to the love, friendship and affection that is already there.

5. Reading (Optional)

At this time [friend or family member] is going to share with us a reading, [title of reading].

6. Statement of Intent and Exchange of Vows.

As an expression that you are joining hearts and lives, please join hands while facing each other, to recite your vows.

Do you, [name] take [name] to be your wedded wife/husband, to cherish in love and in friendship, in strength and in weakness, in success and in disappointment, to love her/him faithfully, today, tomorrow, and for as long as the two of you shall live?

       I do.

Do you, [name] take [name] to be your wedded husband/wife, to cherish in love and in friendship, in strength and in weakness, in success and in disappointment, to love her/him faithfully, today, tomorrow, and for as long as the two of you shall live?

        I do.

7. Exchange of Rings

Rings are an ancient symbol of unity and completeness.  As day follows night and night follows day, your two lies are now joined in one unbroken circle.

[Name], please place this ring on [name's] finger and repeat after me:

        With this ring
        I pledge my love and life to you.

[Name], while placing the ring on [name's] finger, if you will also repeat these words after me:

        With this ring
        I pledge my love and life to you.

8.  Unity Candle (Optional)

From every person there arises an individual light, whole and complete, to be honored and respected.  And then when they form a bond with another whole, complete person, a single, brighter light emerges from their union.  

At this time I would ask that you light the two outside candles that stand for you as individuals.   [Each lights a candle.]

These also symbolize your separate families and sets of friends that each of you bring to the marriage. With these flames I ask that you now light a new and brighter light, which is your candle of unity, for the new life you will share.  Your own lights will not be extinguished—your marriage will be made stronger by the richness you bring to it as individuals. [Together they light the candle of unity.] 

The flames that are kindled here are precious.  As the years go by, you must tend all three flames to keep the light of your marriage strong and bright.

9. Blessing of Marriage

Before all is said and done today, I would add some words of advice.  [Name] and [name], please treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.  Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.  When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship—as they threaten all relationships at one time or another—remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong.  In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives, remembering that even if you lose site of it for a moment, the sun is still there.  And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. 

10. Pronouncement

[name] & [name], if there is anything you recall after today of this marriage ceremony, please remember that it is love that brought you here today and it is through love by which your marriage shall endure.

And now by the power vested in me by the State of (Utah), I pronounce you husband and wife.  You may share the first kiss of your marriage.

            [Kiss.]

Ladies and Gentlemen:  It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you for the first time as a married couple, _______________ and ________________.

11.  Recessional

Bride and Groom exit first
Bridal party exits in pairs

12. Signing of Marriage License

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Traditional:  
Giving of Bride:
Rev.:  Who gives this woman in marriage this day?
Dad:  I do (or "her mother and I")

1.  Opening Words & Prayer of Invocation
We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words which shall unite [Bride] and [Groom] in marriage.

We are here, not only to witness your commitment to each other, but also to wish you both every happiness in your future life together.  Within its framework of commitment and loyalty, marriage enables the establishment of a home, where through trust, patience and respect, the love and affection which you have for each other may develop into a deep and lasting relationship.

We who are witnessing your marriage, hope that despite the stresses inevitable in any life, that your love, respect for each other, your trust, and understanding of each other will increase your contentment and heighten your joy in living.

Let us pray.  We thank you, God, for being with us here today and ask for your blessing on this couple as they step forward and make this lifetime commitment to each other.  Lend them your wisdom and help guide them on their path, we pray.  Amen.

2.  Wedding Address

Dear Friends,

Today we witness the entry into marriage of two beloved friends who are already one at heart. A marriage ceremony represents one of life's greatest commitments. But it also is a declaration of love.  I wish to read to you what Paul wrote of love in a letter to the Corinthians. I believe it is a true model of love and it is a model of love I hope you pursue in your marriage: 
                           
"Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud.  Love is never haughty or selfish or rude.  Love does not demand it's own way.  Love is not irritable or touchy. Love does not hold grudges and will hardly notice when others do it wrong. Love is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.  If you love someone, you will be loyal to them no matter what the costs. You will always believe in them, always expect the best in them, and will always stand your ground in defending them."

The healthiest of relationships are built not only on love, but also on friendship, compatible values, and the freedom to be yourself while allowing and encouraging your partner to be the same.  Love is then the tie that binds you together through good times and bad.  We have come here today to be with [Groom] and [Bride] as they take the next step in their journey together.  In one sense they are not beginning a new life, they are continuing and strengthening the bond that is obviously already there.  A piece of paper cannot make a marriage.  For [Bride] and [Groom], the spirit of marriage is already alive in their hearts and minds.  Therefore, the piece of paper that is generated from the ceremony today merely reflects the love and commitment they share.

3.  At this time there will be a declaration of intent and exchange of vows.

As an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, now please join your hands and face each other. [Name], do you take [name] to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage.  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, so long as you both shall live?
          I do.
[Bride], do you take [Groom] to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage.  Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and forsaking all others, be faithful only to him, so long as you both shall live?
          I do.
4. Giving and Receiving of rings.

May we have the rings, please?  The circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe.  It is a symbol of wholeness and perfection and of peace.  The ring is a symbol of unity, in which your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle.  [Name] please place this ring on [name]'s finger and repeat after me.

I give you this ring to wear upon your hand
as a symbol of our love and unity.
With this ring I marry you.  

[Bride], please place this ring on [groom]'s finger and would you also repeat after me?

I give you this ring to wear upon your hand
as a symbol of our love and unity.
With this ring I marry you.

5.  Solo or Poetry or Other Reading. (Optional)
[Selection to be inserted here.]

6.  Lighting of Unity Candle. (Optional)

From every person there arises a light, an individual spirit, whole and complete, to be honored and respected.  And then when they form a bond with another whole, complete person, a single, brighter light emerges from their union. At this time, I would ask that each of you light the two outside candles that stand for you as individuals persons.  (Optional alternative:  These candles can be lit during the processional by the bride's and groom's mothers or other important people.)
      [Each lights a candle.]
These represent the light of your individual souls, and also your separate families and sets of friends that each of you bring to the marriage.  With these flames I ask that in a moment you light a new and brighter light, which is your candle of unity.  As you light the candle that represents the new life you will share, your own light will not be extinguished.  Indeed your marriage will be made stronger by the richness you bring to it as individuals.  Go ahead and light your  unity candle.
      [Together they light the candle of unity.]
The flames that are kindled here are precious, for they are symbols of the light that shines within you.  As the years go by, you must tend all three flames to keep the light of your marriage strong and bright.

(Note:  for couples with children, a candle may be lit for each child, and language added concerning unity of the family.)

7.  Closing Prayer.

Oh Lord our hearts are filled with great happiness on this joyous occasion as [name] and [name] come before you, pledging their hearts and lives to one another.  Grant that they may ever be true and loving. Temper their hearts with kindness and understanding, rid them of all pretense and jealousy.  Help them to remember to be each other's sweetheart, helpmate, best friend, and guide so that together they may meet the cares and problems of life full of courage.  With the passage of time, may they find great contentment in a companionship that only comes from weathering life's storms together.  May the home they create truly be a place of love and harmony where Your Spirit is always present. Bless this marriage and walk beside [name] and [name] throughout all of their days together.  Amen.

8.  Pronouncement.

[Name] and [name], now that you are crossing the threshold into married life, let the love and trust you have for one another continue to mature, that your life together may be a refuge and safe haven for yourselves, as well as an inspiration to all your family and friends.  

If there is anything you recall after today of this marriage ceremony, please remember that love is what brought you here today, and it is through love by which your marriage shall endure.  

And now by the power vested in me by the State of [Utah], I pronounce you husband and wife.  [Name], please kiss your bride/husband.

            [Kiss.]

9.  Introduction.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present to you [name] and [name] [Last Name], husband and wife, united in spirit and in marriage.  

Recessional:
    Bride and Groom walk out 
    Wedding party walks out in reverse order from processional
    Immediately after the Ceremony:  Signing of Marriage Certificate.

Your Wedding, Your Way!

Nonreligious:
1. Opening Words
We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words which shall unite [full name] and [full name] in marriage.
Handfasting:  
1.  Invocation
[Officiant]:  We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of [name] and [name].  [name] and [name] would both like to thank you for coming here to be with them on this special occasion.  They're so pleased you could all be here to share in their joy.  They would also like to remember those that could not be here today, but who are very much here in spirit.  

2.  Wedding Address
There are many things to say about marriage.  Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures.  With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered.  Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths, and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time.   If we learn no more in life, let it be this.  The law of life is love unto all beings.  Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption.  Love is before Life, after Death, primary to Creation and exponential to Earth.  Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection.  As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs.  With full understanding of this, [name] and [name] have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.  

3.  Declaration of Intention
 [Name], is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?  
      Yes, it is true.  
[Name], is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?  
      Yes, it is true.  
Please take each others hand and listen, letting the following words seal this bond. Above you are the stars, below you is the earth, all around you the wind whispers truth, and water creates life.  As time passes my your love, like the stars burn bright, may your love, like the earth remain firm and steadfast, may your love, like the wind whisper the truths that will guide you along the way, and my your love, like water be fluid so that as individuals and as a couple you may evolve into your greatest potential.  
 
4.  Exchange of Vows and Rings
I have not the right to bind thee to [name], only you have this right.  If it be your wish, say so at this time, and place this ring on her/his left ring finger.  
     It is my wish.  
I have not the right to bind thee to [name], only you have this right.  If it be your wish, say so at this time, and place this ring on her/his left ring finger.
     It is my wish.  
[Name], please repeat after me:

I, [Full Name], in (the name of the Spirit of God or the presence of the divine) 
and by the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart,
take thee, [Full Name], in my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. 
To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess thee, and be possessed by thee.
I promise to love thee with a pure and faithful heart, wholly and completely without restraint,
in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, I shall not seek to change thee in any way.
I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself.  

[Name], please also repeat after me:  

[Same as above.]  

5.  Sharing of Wine and Bread or/and Unity Candle Lighting (Optional)
Hands chalice to [name]:  May you drink your fill from the cup of love. [Name] holds chalice to partner while they sip, then partner takes chalice and holds it while they sip.  The chalice is then handed back to the Officiant, who sets it on the table.   

 Hands plate of bread to [name]:  Eat from the bread of life. Same procedure repeated with bread; [name] then takes bread and feeds to partner.

From every person there arises a light, an individual spirit, whole and complete, to be honored and respected.  And when they form a bond with another whole, complete person, a single, brighter light emerges from their union. [Name] and [name], I ask you now to light a candle to symbolize your own lives as two unique individuals.       
        [Each light a candle.]  
With these flames you will light a new and brighter light, which is your candle of unity.  As you light the candle that represents the new life you will share, your own light will not be extinguished.  Indeed, your marriage will be made stronger by the richness you bring to it as individuals.  The flames that are kindled here are precious, for they are symbols of the light that shines in you.  As the years go by, you must tend all three flames to keep the light of your marriage strong and bright.       
        [Together they light the Candle of Unity.]  
 
6.  Handfasting 
[Officiant] to attendan):  May we have the ribbons, please. (Or it can be a single ribbon with all 4 colors or includes an optional additional 2)

(Attendants hands Presider four ribbons -- yellow, red, blue, and green.)  (Note:  optional, in addition, 2 more ribbons may be added to represent the Bride and the Groom.)

[Officiant]:  These ribbons represent the four directions:  This yellow ribbon is east, the power of air.  A red ribbon represents the south, the energy of fire.  The blue ribbon stands for the west, the power of water; and the green represents the north or element of earth.  The handfasting knot, which binds two lovers' hands together, signifies their sincere and hopeful intention to make an indissoluble union.  (Optional):  [name] and [name] ribbons represent the good things that each brings to share in marriage.  

[Officiant]:  The tying of the knot symbolizes love, affection, faith, friendship, and duty.  

[Officiant] (While binding the hands):  Love made fast by tying together.   (In smaller handfastings, at this point the Officiant may invite each of the guests to give a brief blessing to the couple, by passing around a blessing stone, which each person holds in turn.)  

8.  Pronouncement and Introduction
[Officiant]:  And now with the giving of rings, exchange of vows, the sharing of food and drink, the lighting of candles, and the knot having been tied, by the power vested in me by God/Goddess and the State of [Name of State], I now pronounce you husband and wife.  May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you.  You may now share the first kiss of your marriage.
       [First kiss.]  
It is with great pleasure that I present to you for the first time as a married couple, [name] and [name] [shared last name]. 
Recessional:    Bride and Groom walk out  
Wedding party walks out in reverse order from processional   
Immediately after the Ceremony:  Signing of Marriage Certificate.

© 2017 by THE OPC