Journey of S & S

Christian Wedding Ceremony - Outline


Christian wedding ceremony can be personally designed, but it should also be an expression of worship, reflecting joy, celebration, community, respect, dignity and love. The Bible gives no specific pattern or order of service to define exactly what should be included, so there is room for creativity. A primary goal should be to give each guest a clear impression that we, as a couple, have made a solemn, eternal covenant with each other before God. Our Christian wedding ceremony should be a testimony of our lives before God, demonstrating our Christian witness.

Pre-Wedding Ceremony Events

1. Wedding Party Pictures
This should begin at least 90 minutes prior to the start of the wedding and be finished at least 45 minutes before the ceremony.

2. Wedding Party Dressed and Ready
The wedding party should be dressed, ready and waiting in the appropriate locations at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

3. Prelude
Any musical preludes or solos should take place at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

The Wedding Ceremony

Processional

1. Seating of the Parents
Having the support and involvement of parents and grandparents in the ceremony brings a special blessing to the couple and also expresses honor to the previous generations of marriage unions.
The processional music begins with the seating of the honored guests:

  • Seating of the Groom's grandmother
  • Seating of the Bride's grandmother
  • Seating of the Groom's parents
  • Seating of the Bride's mother

2. Bridal Processional Begins
  • Minister and Groom enter usually from stage right. If the Groomsmen are not escorting the Bridesmaids down the aisle to the altar, they also enter together with the Minister and Groom.
  • Bridesmaids enter, usually down the center aisle, one at a time. If the Groomsmen are escorting the Bridesmaids, they enter together.
  • Maid or Matron of Honor enters. If she is being escorted by the Best Man, they enter together.
  • Flower Girl and Ring Bearer enter.

3. Wedding March Begins
The Bride and her father enter. Typically the Bride's mother will stand as a signal for all of the guests to stand. Sometimes the Minister will announce, "All rise for the Bride."

The Call to Worship

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God. It is therefore, not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons come now to be joined.

The Opening Prayer

Our Father, love has been Your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and woman which matures into marriage is one of Your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless BRIDE and GROOM in their marriage. Surround them and us with Your love now and always. Amen.

Giving Away of the Bride

The giving away of the bride is an important way to involve the parents of the Bride and the Groom in the wedding ceremony. There are also many other possibilities for incorporating this element into your wedding ceremony when the Father or parents of the Bride and Groom are not present. Some couples ask a Godparent or a godly mentor to give away the Bride.

Worship Song, Hymn or Solo

At this time the wedding party typically moves to the stage or platform and the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are seated with their parents.

Music can play a significant role in Christian wedding ceremony. Choices may include a worship song sung by the entire congregation of guests, a hymn, an instrumental, or a special solo. The possibilities are endless.

Remember, though, that Christian wedding music can be a powerful expression of worship, as well as an instrument of reflection on our feelings and ideas as a couple.

The Pledge

____, do you take ____ to be your wedded (wife/husband), and in the presence of these witnesses do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for (her/him) a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day and week to week with your best resources? Will you stand by (her/him) in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, and will you shun all others and keep yourself to (her/him) alone as long as you both shall live?

Wedding Vows

At this moment in the wedding ceremony the Bride and Groom face one another to say their Christian wedding vows. Although every element of a Christian wedding is important, this is the central focus of the service. During the vows, the couple makes a promise to one another publicly, before God and the witnesses present, to do everything within their power to help each other grow in becoming what God has created them to be, despite all adversities, as long as they both live. It is a sacred vow, expressing the entrance into a covenant relationship.

In the name of Jesus, I ___ take you, ___, to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow.

Exchanging of the Rings

Minister: "The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you ___, may place a ring on the finger of your bride."
Groom: "____, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you."
Minister: "By the same token ____, you may place a ring on the finger of your groom."
Bride: "____, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you."

Lighting of the Unity Candle

The lighting of the unity candle can be a very meaningful expression in a Christian wedding ceremony, symbolizing the union of two hearts and lives. Some couples choose to light the unity candle while a song is being sung with no verbal explanation given. Another option is for the minister to give a narrative of the candle lighting.

During the lighting of the unity candles, the couple will move toward the unity candles and stand on either side of the candle holders. Typically, two taper candles are placed on either side of the larger pillar candle or unity candle. The taper candles represent the lives of the Bride and Groom as individuals prior to their union in marriage. Together the couple will pick up their individual candles and in unison, they will light the center unity candle. Then they will blow out their own candles, symbolizing the end of their separate lives.

The Pronouncement

The Closing Prayer

May the love of God be above you to overshadow you, beneath you to uphold you, before you to guide you, behind you to protect you, close beside you and within you to make you able for all things, and to reward your faithfulness with the joy and peace which the world cannot give -- neither can it take away. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory now and evermore. Amen.

The Kiss

Minister: GROOM, you may now kiss your BRIDE.

Presentation of the Couple

Minister: It is now my privilege to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. BRIDEGROOM.

Recessional

The wedding party exits the platform, typically in the following order:
  • Bride and Groom
  • Maid or Matron of Honor and Best Man
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  • Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
  • The Ushers return for the honored guests who are escorted out in reverse order of their entrance.
  • Ushers may then dismiss the remaining guests, either all at once, or one row at a time.