OPTIONAL ADDITIONS AND PRAYERS
Optional Prayer #1:_______________________________________ and _______________________, you are about to make vows and promises to one another. Today, these vows are beautiful words representing even more beautiful intentions. My prayer for you is that as you live these vows over the years, offering freely your time and your love to one another, the meaning of these words will deepen, and the happy times of your life will be twice as joyous, because you’ll be sharing them with someone you love. And when life gets tough, it will only be half as difficult, because there will be someone by your side to help carry the burden. For those times when life presents all of us with challenges, I would like to offer you this simple prayer to remember:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Optional Prayer #2: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Optional Prayer #3: O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, and Author of everlasting life, send Thy blessing upon these Thy servants, _________ and _____________, whom we bless in thy name, that they, living faithfully together, may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant made between them, and may ever remain in love and in peace together, living according to Thy laws, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Optional Prayer #4: O God, look mercifully upon these thy servants, that they may love, honor and cherish each other, and so live together in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Unruly Family Members? Add This!
Some wording that may be helpful for encouraging your guests to display appropriate behavior on your special day: ___________ and __________ are deeply grateful to you are that you are sharing this sacred day with them and committing to them your support of their marriage [union]. This is a day that both of them will remember the rest of their lives. This entire day is sacred, not just the ceremony. Later, as we celebrate in joy together, let us also be mindful of the promise we have just made to them, so that all of our actions through this day will reflect the commitment of support we have just made.
If this is not strong enough, you could add: Let us remember that Jesus performed his first miracle at Cana of Galilee, where as a wedding guest he changed water into wine. Jesus is a guest at this wedding [here] as well. He has been offered a seat of honor at the table, and so let us all be joyous throughout the day and mindful of His presence at this sacred celebration.
Romantic Wedding Ceremony Option: Roses
We are familiar with two wedding or commitment ceremony examples where roses are used. In one, the mothers are given roses as tokens of the bride and groom’s love for family. This is often kept a secret from the family until the roses are presented. Another romantic wedding idea: roses are exchanged as the bride and groom’s first gifts to one another as a married couple. Please let us know if you would like roses incorporated into your ceremony, and we will discuss further how you want them included.
First Rose Ceremony
Marriage is a coming together of two lives, and a celebration of the love of two people. But it is more. The love that you feel for one another is the flowering of a seed your mothers planted in your hearts many years ago. When you were first born, you were a bundle of diapers and tears, and your mothers lost sleep caring for you. Their love for you has brought them great happiness and great challenges, and their love did not diminish as they met these challenges. That is the great lesson you can bring into your marriage.
As you embrace one another in your love, so too do you embrace the families which have been brought together on this happy occasion. As a token of your gratitude for your families, I would like to ask you to offer these symbols of eternal love, these roses, to your mothers. (Both of you can hand the roses to each mother together, offering the mothers kisses if they wish.)
Second Rose Ceremony
___________ and __________, you will remember this day for the rest of your lives. Those of us who are already married know that marriage, like life, brings with it many joys and also many challenges. We also know that love, while beautiful, does not always show its prettiest face. There are days when we may find it hard to express the depth of our love for one another. It is my hope and prayer that the two of you will set aside a special place in your home for roses, ancient symbols of love.
When words fail you, or when the challenges of life or marriage begin to weigh on you, go out and get a rose, and put it in that special place in your home, so that the other will be reminded of this moment, and of the love you feel for one another. As a token of that love, I would like to ask you to make these roses your first gifts to one another as a married couple.
Wedding Ceremony Reading to the Children
If either of you already has a child or children from a former marriage or of your own, how beautiful to include the children in the wedding ceremony! This is a perfect wedding or commitment ceremony idea for after the ring ceremony. If an ex-spouse has custody, or if the children are teenagers or grown, the words of blessing below may be changed to fit the circumstances. We can even include mention of children not physically present. These words are an example for when the children will be living at least part of the time with the wedding couple. Warning: tears will flow…
____________ and ___________, the rings you have given to one another are symbols of your commitment to one another, but they are also more. For today you are also making a commitment to the children, __________ and ___________. Today you are pledging your love to them as well, committing to them that you will create a family together. Let the perfect circle of the wedding ring embrace ________ and _________, as well as the two of you. For our children are gifts entrusted to us.
Consider these words from The Prophet: You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for they dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, in their innocence, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
Declaration of Marriage
______________ and _________________, you have consented together to marriage [you have committed your love to one another] before [God and before] this company, pledged your faith and declared your unity by each giving and receiving a ring, and, as you are now joined together in mutual esteem and devotion, it is my privilege as an ordained minister to pronounce that you are married [to acknowledge your lifetime commitment], and to offer you this Benediction of the Apaches:
“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness for you, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness, and may your days be good, and long upon, the earth.”
Congratulations, you may now kiss one another!
(Optional:) Ladies and gentlemen, may I present (first names of couple)_______________________________.
Alternative Declarations of Marriage & Benedictions
Declaration: Because _________ and __________ have exchanged these vows of love in our presence, we now recognize them as [married, committed for life].
Benediction: Give to one another new experiences of joy. Challenge one another so that you may grow. May the love you hold for each other, now sealed in marriage, continue to mature with the passing years. May you never take each other for granted, but always experience the wonder of your union. Be slow to anger, quick to forgive, leaving no tracks of resentment behind each day. May your love consist not only in gazing into each other’s eyes, but in looking outward in the same direction. May your life together be a source of strength and inspiration to yourselves, your families, your friends, and to all whose lives you touch.
Declaration and Benediction From the Book of Common Worship
For as much as _______________ and ______________ have consented together to holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and before this company, I pronounce that they are [married], in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Let us pray. May God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you; the Lord mercifully with His favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. And may the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. May God give you His peace in your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears, until that day when you come to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset and no dawning. Amen.