GCI: Wedding Ceremony
[Man’s first name] and [woman’s first name], together with their families and friends, appreciate your attendance to share their joy and to witness their covenant together.
Having grown to love one another, [man’s first name] and [woman’s first name] have chosen to commit their lives to each other in marriage, and so today they will be united as husband and wife.
Optional: A prayer or reading may be done by a family member or friend.
Minister says to the couple:
Marriage is a natural union of a man and a woman, a divine institution, ordained of God. In the beginning, God gave us the pattern for marriage by joining Adam and Eve.
When God created life on the earth, he made human beings in his own image, able to relate in love with him and with one another. He gave men and women creative minds with the ability to make choices, to develop plans and to build their lives on those plans. As a loving Father, God gave us the institution of marriage and the blessing of family that we might participate in his grace and love for us.
God made Eve from the very flesh and bone of Adam and united them as husband and wife, saying, “ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth’.”
Because marriage is honorable, instituted by God at creation and hallowed by the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently and joyfully in the presence of God.
Our culture might have its own customs and laws respecting marriage, but in the church marriage is based on the foundation and authority of God as revealed in his word. Marriage is not only a physical union, but a spiritual union as well.
Jesus said, “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
The apostle Paul wrote concerning marriage:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…. Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Marriage is a holy union, a precious relationship that flourishes only with continual tender and self-sacrificial care. Marriage is for love and because of love. Love is the reason and the foundation of marriage.
Paul reminds us of the mutual humility and respect that is to characterize all our relationships, and not least the relationship of husbands and wives in marriage:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
The marriage covenant that you will both make here today calls on you to yield yourselves to one another, to hold one another in high esteem, to honor and respect one another, always giving preference to the welfare of the other in love and unselfish devotion. It is your participation with one another in God’s love that will strengthen and protect this marriage.
Minister may wish to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
As a loving Father, God wants you to experience his richest blessings and joy. To that end he has given you, [names of the couple], to each other in this wonderful blessing of marriage.
Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
As you come to know one another more fully in the years ahead, let your growing relationship in this sacred covenant of marriage be continually built upon and reflect God’s unconditional and unending love and grace.
Keep this love ever before you. Hold each other near, and fulfill the promises you make here today, that you may, with Christ’s steady presence and help, establish a home that will never fail to weather the storms of life in all its changes and challenges.
Do you then, [man’s full name], faithfully promise, in covenant before God and in the presence of these witnesses, to take [woman’s full name] to be your lawful, wedded wife for as long as you both shall live, to love her, cherish her, honor her, respect her and provide for her?
Man answers, “I do.”
And do you, [woman’s full name], faithfully promise and covenant before God in the presence of these witnesses, to take [man’s full name] to be your lawful, wedded husband for as long as you both shall live, to love him, cherish him, honor him, comfort him and respect him?
Woman answers, I do.”
[Man and woman face each other and hold hands.]
Minister says: “[Man’s first name], please repeat after me”:
I, [man’s full name], with the help of God, take you, [woman’s full name] to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part. This I pledge to you.
Minister says: “[Woman’s first name], please repeat after me”:
I, [woman’s full name], with the help of God, take you, [man’s full name] to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part. This I pledge to you.
Please join your hands as we thank God for blessing your marriage.
Let us kneel (optional).
Minister offers a prayer of thanksgiving.
Minister then says, “You may now exchange rings, which are an outward symbol of your love, devotion and commitment to one another.”
Couple exchanges rings.
Minister says, “By the authority of Jesus Christ and [civil government], I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”
Minister says to the audience: “I present to you [names as chosen by the couple].”
 Genesis 2:24. Except as noted, all biblical quotations are from the NIV, 2011 edition.
 Genesis 1:28.
 Mark 10:6-8.
 Ephesians 5:21-28.
 Philippians 2:1-5.
 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, New Living Translation.