The Wedding Ceremony What is the significance of the
Order of Service
A. To provide a written record of proof that the marriage is legal,
and recognised by the state.
1. Hymn B. A physical reminder of the vows made on their wedding day,
and symbolising the everlasting love and commitment.
2. Opening Statement C. This shows that the couple no longer belong to their parents,
and a new family unit is about to begin.
3. Declaration D. To ask God’s blessing on the marriage, and to put God at the
centre of the marriage so that it reflects His love.
4. The Giving Away E. To make it clear to the couple what marriage is, and the
responsibilities the husband and wife are undertaking.
5. Promises or vows F. The couple promise themselves to each other for the rest of
their lives. They make a commitment.
6. Exchange of rings G. To focus everyone’s minds on God at the beginning of the
7. Proclamation H. This ensures that the couple are both free to marry, and
ensures that marriage is taken seriously.
8. Prayers for the Couple I. This confirms that in the sight of God, and witnessed by those
present, that the couple are now husband and wife.
9. The register is signed by the J. This brings the ceremony to a close and is often followed by a
couple and witnesses ‘wedding breakfast’ - the first meal of a new family.
How does a Christian marriage ceremony prepare a couple for their married life together?
Description How it guides the couple
At the start of a Christian wedding ceremony, the minister
explains the purpose of marriage (the Opening statement).
He will say that marriage is a gift from God, through which a
man and a woman can grow together in love and trust. The
minister will also explain that the couple will come together in
sexual unity and that children may be born and looked after.
The minister then checks there is no lawful reason why the
couple may not be married (the Declaration).
The couple exchange vows in front of God and all the
witnesses in the church. Wedding vows are promises to love
and support one another in all circumstances until death.
‘From this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for
poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till
death us do part. In the presence of God I make this vow.’
The couple then exchange rings and the minister asks that
God bless the vows they have made to one another. Further
vows are made:
‘I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I
honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share
with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’
Prayers are said for the couple to ask for God’s blessing on
their marriage in all situations. The prayers often ask God to
help the couple to be hospitable to others, faithful to God and
that God will bless them with children.
Hymns are usually sung during this part.
Some couples choose to take Holy Communion as well.
The couple then sign the marriage certificate.