Options for Opening Remarks:
#2 Contemporary Christian
#4 Catholic Excerpts
Option #1 Nondenominational
Friends, we have come here today to celebrate love. We see it in the faces of ______________ and ____________ who stand before us, but we experience it in our own hearts as well. This love is powerful enough to untie the strong entangled knot of life. It is a love which is spoken of in all religions, which kindles our souls with hope and which is our true home, our true meeting place. ___________ and __________ have opened their hearts to one another, and today in just a few moments will share their vows of marriage together. We are deeply grateful to them for opening their hearts to us as well, inviting us to witness and share in this precious moment. To this day they bring the fullness of their being as a treasure to share with one another. Their marriage is being entered into reverently, with the recognition of a true union which has been discovered. For what greater joy is there for two human souls than to join together to strengthen each other in all their endeavors, to support each other through all sorrow, and to share with each other in all gladness? We hope that the words and spirit of our gathering may be filled with a truth that will deepen with the passing years. We hope, too, that the meaning of the vows that ______ and _______ are about to share with one another will deepen as well, as they discover the endless possibilities of this life together. This is a love which need not be tarnished by common events, but which can flower both in deepest adversity and in greatest joy. As the years go by, you will find more and more in one another a loveliness which neither comes nor goes, which neither flowers nor fades, no longer even taking the form of face or hand or words or knowing. Everything in your marriage can partake of this mysterious beauty beyond beauty, until wherever you turn you see reflections of this loveliness. We ask that the vision you have of one another be always informed by that radiant power which first brought you together. Love is stronger than your conflicts, bigger than life's changes, the miracle always inviting you to learn, to blossom, to expand. It is to love that you must always return.
Friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love of _________________ and ________________, as they make their pledges of marriage before God and before this company. Jesus Christ was once asked, ``What is the greatest Law that mankind must follow?'' And he answered them by saying that we must love God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as our self. I think that when he said these words, he touched upon something we all feel very deeply in our hearts, and that is that love is the greatest gift we can offer one another, and that is what makes marriage so very special, and such a cause of joy and celebration for all of us who have come here today to share in this event. It is my personal prayer and hope that those of you who have already taken the vows of marriage will witness the love of these two people, and as you hear them share their vows, perhaps it will strengthen for you the memory of your happy day, and remind you of the meaning of the vows you yourselves once took. Perhaps it will even strengthen just a little bit the bonds of love that have been growing between you. If any of this should happen, it would certainly be the greatest gift that __________ and __________ could offer all of us on their wedding day. Marriage is an act of faith and ever-deepening commitment, as well as a loving union between a man and a woman. It has been described as the best and the most important relationship that two people can share, the creation of a single growing energy of spiritual life. Marriage can be a lifelong unfolding of loving kindness, backed by the will to make it last. There is no limit to the knowing of another's soul, and when you learn to love one person, then you grow in love for all of humanity. Note: If you wish, we can substitute the wedding ceremony which appears in the Traditional Book of Common Prayer. The entire ceremony can be found in the paperback book, You and Your Wedding by Winnifred Gray, and in the Book of Common Prayer itself.
If either the bride or groom was raised in the Catholic faith, you may want to add Catholic elements to your ceremony. Below are Catholic texts which can be enjoyed by all guests. Please let us know if there are any excerpts below you would like woven into your ceremony.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. O Lord, hear our prayer, and let my cry come unto Thee. The Lord be with you. And with your Spirit. My dear friends: you are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious. It is most sacred, because it is established by God himself; most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its successes and disappointments, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. And so not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. These words are also a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless willing to pronounce them. In marriage you enter into a deeper and wider life which you share in common. The sacrifices you must make will sometimes be irksome, but love will make them easy, and perfect love will make them a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. No greater joy can come to your life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May this love with which you join your hearts and hands today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. Your lives will be in the hands of God. He pledges to you the life-long support of His grace in the Holy Sacrament which you are now going to receive. O Lord, we implore Thee, let Thy inspiration precede our actions and Thy help further them, so that all our prayers and all our deeds may ever take their beginning from Thee, and so begun, may through Thee reach completion. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. _____, will you take ______, for your lawful wife according to laws of God? _____, will you take ______, for your lawful husband according to the laws of God? I, _____ take you _____ for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer , or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Bless, O Lord, these rings, which we are blessing in Thy name, so that they who wear them, keeping faith with each other in unbroken loyalty, may ever remain at peace with Thee, obedient to Thy will, and may live together always in mutual love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. Now that you have sealed a truly Christian marriage, give these wedding rings to each other, saying after me: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Take and wear this ring as a pledge of my fidelity. I call upon all of you here to be witnesses of this holy union which I have now blessed. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. May the Peace of Christ dwell always in your hearts and in your home; may you have true friends to stand by you, bogth in joy and in sorrow. May you be ready with help and consolation for all those who come to you in need; and may the blessings promised to the compassionate descend in abundance upon your house. Amen. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord's Prayer Ever mindful of these duties which you owe to each other, and to those with whose welfare you may be especially charged, cherish the grace with which this day has conferred upon you; it will direct you in every difficulty; it will comfort you in the hour of trial; it will be a continual source of peace, of joy, of mutual affection on earth, and a pledge of your eternal and perfect union in heaven. Having been united in the holy bonds of matrimony, give thanks to the Almighty for the favors which He has bestowed upon you. Cherish with solicitude the grace that has this day been conferred upon you. It will direct you in every difficulty; it will comfort you in the hour of trial; it will be a continual source of peace, of joy, of mutual affection on earch, and a pledge of our eternal and perfect union in heaven. Go in peace, and may the Lord be with you always, Amen
Dearly beloved: we are assembled here in the presence of God to join _________________ and _________________ in holy matrimony, which is instituted by God, regulated by His commandments, blessed by Jesus Christ and to be held in honor among all people. God has instructed all who enter into this relationship to cherish a mutual esteem and love; to bear with each other's infirmities and weaknesses; to comfort each other in sickness, trouble and sorrow; to provide for each other, and for their household, in temporal things; to pray for and encourage each other in things which pertain to God; and to live together as the heirs of the grace of life. The Lord God said, It is not good that the Man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet for him. The holy estate of matrimony signifies to us the mystical union between Christ and his Church, which Christ adorned and beatified with his presence and first miracle that he performed at Cana of Galilee. Therefore, it is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the Love of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come to be joined. I require and charge you both, as you stand in the presence of God, that, having duly considered the holy covenant you are about to make, you do declare before this company your pledge of faith, each to the other. Be well assured that if these solemn vows are kept inviolate, as God's word demands, and if steadfastly you endeavor to do God's will, God will bless your marriage, will grant you fulfillment in it, and will establish your home in peace.
Personalizing the Opening Remarks
If you wish, you may add a more personal touch to the opening remarks by telling your officiant a little about yourselves: how you met, a funny story, shared interests. We'll weave these details into the remarks.
You may also wish to incorporate prayers, poems, or rituals which are part of either family's traditions. See the Readings page for some poems/quotes.
If you choose to add a prayer, here are some options:
#1: 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
From the Book of Common Worship
Catholic Ceremony Excerpts
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