General Instructions
This is intended as a guide to a service of Marriage for use at First Presbyterian Church. Choices are made by the bride and groom as to portions of prayers, Scripture Readings, optional calls to worship, etc. In this document, BBBB = Bride's name, GGGG = Groom's name, PPPP = Parent's name, S1 = First Scripture Reading, S2 = Second Scripture Reading, DTTM = Date and Time.
From The Book of Common Worship, 1993
The following marriage rite is brief and may be used in a variety of settings, although a Christian marriage service should be held in the place where the community of faith gathers for worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the minister and the supervision of the session.
Entrance
As the people gather, music appropriate to the praise of God may be offered. At the appointed time the bride, groom, and other members of the wedding party enter and come and stand before the minister. The families of the bride and groom may stand with the couple. During the entrance of the wedding party, the people may stand and sing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual. In addition, an anthem may be sung or instrumental music played.
Sentences of Scripture
The minister calls the people to worship, either before or after the entrance, using one of the following, or another appropriate verse from scripture.
  1. 1 John 4:16 : God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them.
  2. Psalms 118:24 : This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  3. Psalms 106:1 : O give thanks, for the Lord is good. God's love endures forever.
Statement on the Gift of Marriage
The minister says: We gather in the presence of God to give thanks for the gift of marriage, to witness the joining together of BBBB and GGGG, to surround them with our prayers, and to ask God's blessing upon them, so that they may be strengthened for their life together and nurtured in their love for God. God created us male and female, and gave us marriage so that husband and wife may help and comfort each other, living faithfully together in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, throughout all their days. God gave us marriage for the full expression of the love between a man and a woman. In marriage a woman and a man belong to each other, and with affection and tenderness freely give themselves to each other. God gave us marriage for the well-being of human society, for the ordering of family life, and for the birth and nurture of children. God gave us marriage as a holy mystery in which a man and a woman are joined together, and become one, just as Christ is one with the church. In marriage, husband and wife are called to a new way of life, created, ordered, and blessed by God. This way of life must not be entered into carelessly, or from selfish motives, but responsibly, and prayerfully. We rejoice that marriage is given by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let marriage be held in honor by all.
Prayer
The minister says: Let us pray: Gracious God, you are always faithful in your love for us. Look mercifully upon BBBB and GGGG, who have come seeking your blessing. Let your Holy Spirit rest upon them so that with steadfast love they may honor the promises they make this day, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. The congregation may be seated.
Declarations of Intent
The minister addresses the bride and groom individually, using either A or B:
(A)
GGGG, understanding that God has created, ordered, and blessed the covenant of marriage, do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant? GGGG: I do.
BBBB, understanding that God has created, ordered, and blessed the covenant of marriage, do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant? BBBB: I do.
(B)
If both are baptized, the following may be used:
GGGG, in your baptism you have been called to union with Christ and the church. Do you intend to honor this calling through the covenant of marriage? GGGG: I do.
BBBB, in your baptism you have been called to union with Christ and the church. Do you intend to honor this calling through the covenant of marriage? BBBB: I do.
Affirmations of the Families
The minister may address the families of the bride and groom: PPPP, do you give your blessing to BBBB and GGGG, and promise to do everything in your power to uphold them in their marriage?
The families of the bride and groom answer: We (I) give our (my) blessing and promise our (my) loving support or We (I) do.The families of the bride and groom may be seated.
Affirmations of the Congregation
The minister may address the congregation, saying: Will all of you witnessing these vows do everything in your power to uphold GGGG and BBBB. in their marriage?
Answer: We will.
Here is where a psalm, hymn, spiritual, or anthem may be sung.
Reading from Scripture
The following, or a similar prayer for illumination may be said. God of mercy, your faithfulness to your covenant frees us to live together in the security of your powerful love.Amid all the changing words of our generation, speak your eternal Word that does not change. Then may we respond to your gracious promises by living in faith and obedience; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
One or more scripture passages are read (see scripture passages on this page.
Sermon
After the scriptures are read, a brief sermon may be given. A psalm, hymn, spiritual, or other music may follow.
Vows
The people may stand and the minister addresses the couple.
BBBB and GGGG, since it is your intention to marry, join your right hands, and with your promises bind yourselves to each other as husband and wife. The bride and groom face each other and join right hands. They in turn then make their vows to each other, using A or B.
(A)
The man says: I, GGGG, take you, BBBB, to be my wife; and I promise, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.
The woman says: I, BBBB, take you, GGGG, to be my husband; and I promise, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.
(B)
The man says: Before God and these witnesses, I, GGGG, take you, BBBB, to be my wife, and I promise to love you, and to be faithful to you, as long as we both shall live.
The woman says: Before God and these witnesses, I, BBBB, take you, GGGG, to be my husband, and I promise to love you,and to be faithful to you, as long as we both shall live.
Exchange of rings (or other symbols)
If rings are to be exchanged, the minister may say to the couple:
What do you bring as the sign of your promise?
When the rings are presented, the minister may say the following prayer. By your blessing, O God, may these rings be to BBBB and GGGG symbols of unending love and faithfulness, reminding them of the covenant they have made this day, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.The bride and groom exchange rings using A or B or other appropriate words. The traditional trinitarian formula should be omitted for both the bride and groom if one of the marriage partners is not a professing Christian.
(A)
The one giving the ring says: BBBB, I give you this ring as a sign of our covenant, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The one receiving the ring says: I receive this ring as a sign of our covenant, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
(B)
As each ring is given, the one giving the ring says: This ring I give you, as a sign of our constant faith and abiding love, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer
The couple may kneel. One of the following prayers, or a similar prayer, is said:
Let us pray:
Eternal God, Creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of all grace: look with favor upon the world you have made and redeemed, and especially upon BBBB and GGGG. Give them wisdom and devotion in their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy. Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and each other all the days of their life. Give them the grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and confess their fault, and to seek each other's forgiveness and yours.
Make their life together a sign of Christ's love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair. Give them such fulfillment of their mutual love that they may reach out in concern for others.
[Give to them, if it is your will, the gift of children, and the wisdom to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you.]
Grant that all who have witnessed these vows today may find their lives strengthened, and that all who are married may depart with their own promises renewed.
Enrich with your grace all husbands and wives, parents and children, that, loving and supporting one another, they may serve those in need and be a sign of your kingdom. Grant that the bonds by which all your children are united to one another may be so transformed by your Spirit that your peace and justice may fill the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eternal God, without your grace no promise is sure. Strengthen BBBB and GGGG with patience, kindness, gentleness, and all other gifts of your Spirit, so that they may fulfill the vows they have made. Keep them faithful to each other and to you. Fill them with such love and joy that they may build a home of peace and welcome. Guide them by your Word to serve you all their days. Help us all, O God, to do your will in each of our homes and lives. Enrich us with your grace so that, supporting one another, we may serve those in need and hasten the coming of peace, love, and justice on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord's Prayer
The minister invites all present to sing or say the Lord's Prayer.As our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say: All pray together.
Or
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Announcement of Marriage
The minister addresses the congregation:Before God and in the presence of this congregation, GGGG and BBBB have made their solemn vows to each other. They have confirmed their promises by the joining of hands [and by the giving and receiving of rings]. Therefore, I proclaim that they are now husband and wife. Blessed be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and forever. The minister joins the couple's right hands. The congregation may join the minister saying:Those whom God has joined together let no one separate.
Charge to the Couple
The minister addresses the couple, using one of the following:
Blessing
The minister gives God's blessing to the couple and the congregation, using one of the following:
A psalm, hymn, spiritual, or anthem may be sung, or instrumental music may be played, as the wedding party leaves.
Scripture Readings for Christian Marriage
The following readings are particularly appropriate for use in the service of Christian marriage.
Old Testament
Genesis 1:26-31 -- Humankind created in the image of God
Genesis 2:18-24 -- Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh
Song of Soloman 8:6-7 -- Set me as a seal upon your heart
Proverbs 3:3-6 -- Trust the Lord with all your heart
Isaiah 54:5-8 -- Your Maker is your husband
Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- The Lord will make a new covenant
Psalms
The following psalms are appropriate for singing or reading in the service.
Psalms 8 -- Mortals crowned with glory and honor
Psalms 67 -- May God be gracious to us
Psalms 95:1-7 -- O come, let us sing to the Lord
Psalms 100 -- Make a joyful noise to the Lord
Psalms 103:1-5, 15-18 -- Bless the Lord, O my soul
Psalms 117 -- Great is God's steadfast love
Psalms 121 -- Lift up my eyes to the hills
Psalms 128 -- Happy is everyone who fears the Lord
Psalms 136:1-9, 26 -- O give thanks, for God is good
Psalms 145 -- I will exalt you, O God my King
Psalms 148 -- Praise the Lord
Psalms 150 -- Everything that breathes praise the Lord
Epistles
Romans 12:1-2, 9-18 -- A living sacrifice . . . let love be genuine
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 -- Faith, hope, love . . . greatest is love
Collosians 3:12-17 -- Clothe yourselves with love
1 John 4:7-12 -- Let us love one another . . . God is love
Revelations 19:1, 5-9 -- Rejoicing at the marriage of the Lamb
Gospels
Matthew 5:1-10 -- The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:13-16 -- Salt of the earth . . . light of the world
Matthew 19:3-6 -- No longer two, but one flesh
Matthew 22:35-40 -- Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind
Mark 10:6-9 -- What God has joined, let no one separate
John 2:1-11 -- The wedding at Cana
John 15:1-17 -- Jesus, the true vine
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