Your Wedding Christian Marriage
Marriage is God’s plan as part of his perfect creation. It is not
at The Lutheran Church of the our human idea but his, and so it is best for us when we follow his wise
Good Shepherd instructions. Marriage is to be the committed union of one man and one
woman in an exclusive and faithful lifelong relationship. You will be
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod married by publicly making your vows to each other.
2101 Lor Ray Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003
Pastor Vance Becker phone 388-4336 Marriage itself is a civil action and so it is regulated by the state.
While marriage does not require a religious ceremony, and none is given
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: goodshepherdmankato.org for it in the Bible, it is quite appropriate for Christians to celebrate this
great occasion within the family of God with a service of worship.
Congratulations and God’s blessings on your upcoming
It is expected that those who wish to have a Christian marriage
marriage! A loving and helpful spouse is part of God’s wonderful plan
will live as Christians both before and after the wedding. Obviously,
for the abundant life of his people. Since you desire for the participation
one cannot marry if already married to another. Also, there must be a
of your church in your wedding and your marriage we hope to be a great
clear minded commitment to be married “until death parts us”, rather
blessing to you. This booklet is intended to help you as you plan.
than an intention to end the relationship if it “doesn’t work out”.
Contents: pg. 1 A Prayer for the Bride and Groom Jesus says (Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19:9) that anyone who divorces,
pg. 2 Christian Marriage except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another commits adultery.
pg. 3 Marriage Preparation While this simple statement must be applied in a caring way to very
pg. 4 The Marriage Service complex situations, it is expected that anyone previously married will
pg. 5 Service Music first make every possible attempt at reconciliation. It is a clear pattern
pg. 6 The Marriage License that succeeding marriages have an increasingly worse rate of success,
pg. 7 Wedding Attendants & Rehearsal demonstrating that old relationship patterns must be transformed.
pg. 8 Decorations and Flowers
pg. 9 Pictures and Videos & Wedding Bulletins It is expected that “Marriage should be honored by all, and the
pg. 10 Use of the Church Building marriage bed kept pure” (Heb. 13:4). Sexual intimacy outside of
pg. 12 Checklist for Preparing for the Wedding Ceremony marriage is fornication (commonly translated “sexual immorality”). The
Bible is repeatedly clear that this is incompatible with Christian faith and
A Prayer for the Bride and Groom life. Also, secular studies demonstrate beyond doubt that living together
before marriage is damaging to happy and committed relationships. This
O heavenly Father, you have established marriage for the welfare and behavior, when publicly known, also causes an offense, damaging the
happiness of humankind. Bless this man and this woman as they prepare reputation of Christ’s church and leading others to stumble into sin.
to join their lives together under you. Since you are the God of love, by
your Holy Spirit help them always to know the joy of your great love for It is expected that those already living together will separate and
each of them. Let your love so fill their lives that their love for each be chaste until the wedding. If this is not possible (as when a couple
other is kept strong and living. Lord, in times of struggle, give them your already has children), the marriage should take place as soon as legally
strength and forgiveness, and let them forgive each other as you have possible, either in a civil ceremony or a simple church ceremony. A
forgiven them. Bless them for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. consecration of the marriage can then be planned with a celebration
comparable to a traditional wedding. Still, a Christian’s relationship with
God and his church involves eventual repentance and forgiveness.
Marriage Preparation The Marriage Service
The service of Christian Marriage is a public service of
Please contact the church, if you have not already done so, to
worship, whether it occurs in the church building or another location. It
schedule your wedding for an open date. You should receive a set of
is conducted by the pastor and he is responsible for approving its content.
forms to fill out giving information about your wedding plans for you to
A standard format for marriage in the Lutheran church is used. Because
return to the church as soon as is convenient. They will be completed in
the occasion is your wedding, you are invited to participate in planning
consultation with the pastor. Do call the church if you have questions or
the special elements of the service and also have the right of approval.
bring them to the meetings with the pastor.
As any service of worship, it is to be centered on Christ himself,
It is the goal of your church and pastor to help you have the best
honoring him above all rather than the bride or groom. All elements of
marriage possible. For this purpose, when your wedding plans are
the wedding should fit well with this setting and are guided by this goal,
confirmed, the pastor will plan to meet with you several times before
including the vows, prayers, readings, music and decorations.
the wedding to discuss relationship issues that are important to you,
Biblical teachings about Christian marriage, and the wedding service.
The standard scripture readings are those which most directly
Usually, this will involve at least four meetings over a period of about
speak about God’s design for marriage. We read from Genesis (Gen.
four months. Ordinarily this counseling is done with the pastor
2:28, 21-24; 3:16-17, 19) of God’s institution of marriage, from Paul’s
conducting the wedding but it may be delegated to another if appropriate.
letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:21-33) of God’s perfect design for
marriage, and from the Gospel according to St. Matthew (Matt. 19:4-6)
A key part of your preparation with the pastor is filling out a
of God’s intention that the marriage bond be complete and lasting.
“pre-marriage inventory” and discussing the results. There is some
Additional readings, such as the sermon text, may be requested by the
cost for the materials and processing which the couple is asked to pay.
Additional resources and materials may also be provided free or at cost
for couples who wish to use them.
Weddings, as other services of the church, are ordinarily
conducted by the pastor of the congregation. If the couple desires to
At all times, the pastor will attempt to treat you with respect and
have another LC-MS pastor officiate, the request should be made in
dignity, and he will hold what you say in confidence. He will avoid
consultation with and through this congregation’s pastor. LC-MS pastors
embarrassing you, while still speaking frankly. He will also be available
may not participate in conducting services of worship, including
to meet with you after your wedding to help you in strengthening your
weddings, together with pastors of churches not in altar and pulpit
fellowship with the LC-MS. If the couple desires to have others speak as
part of the service, this must be approved according to the regular
Your pastor will spend about 10 hours helping you prepare for
guidelines for worship.
and conducting your wedding. This professional service is often
provided during what would be his personal or family time. The fee for
Some special elements may be included in the service as
couples who are not members of the church is $250. For couples of
requested. The parents of the couple may give their formal consent and
which at least one is a member there is no set fee, but as couples consider
blessing. Lighting of a unity candle is not an official part of a marriage
the various costs connected with their wedding, an honorarium of about
service but may be included. If you have other requests, please discuss
$150 is considered appropriate.
them with the pastor before the rehearsal.
God’s people, your guests, are a part of a service of
worship. They are witnesses of the vows and join you in prayer and
praise to God and in learning from his word. It is appropriate to plan for
them to be involved.
Service Music Musicians are not reimbursed by the church for weddings. It
will be your responsibility to give them appropriate compensation for
Music is not necessary for a wedding service but is often desired. their time (3-4 hours in preparation and at the wedding) and talents. For
Since the wedding is a service of worship, the music is intended to the accompanist, you should consider as a starting point $70, which is
glorify God and is not a performance. All music, instrumental, solo and what the church pays for one service. For solo singing you should
choral, should clearly be in harmony with the truths of God’s word. As consider $25 for one song, $35 for more songs. Also consider whether
you select it, you will keep in mind what messages you want to share he or she is spending extra time with you in selection and planning of
about your faith and your relationship with God on this special occasion. music. Give your payment to the musicians before the wedding day, at
the rehearsal or earlier.
When selecting music for your wedding, consider these issues:
1) are the words taken from a passage in the Bible (without the meaning Consult with the pastor if you need help in arranging for a pianist
being changed)? 2) Does the music speak of God’s presence, his will for for the wedding. The church has an electronic organ and upright piano
marriage, or his blessings for the couple? 3) is the music within your for worship music. If you plan to bring in other instruments, especially if
musician’s ability to play or sing well? 4) Does the music help those they are electric or amplified, or to use recorded music, please consult
present to worship God or is it a mere performance? Your pastor and with the pastor ahead of time.
musician can assist you in finding and selecting appropriate music you
will like and which will tastefully beautify your wedding. Please invite the musicians or pastor several days ahead of time
if you wish them to attend your rehearsal dinner or reception.
Hymns in Lutheran Worship which are appropriate for the
occasion of a marriage and can be sung by the congregation include: The Marriage License
#251, #252, #253, #280, #286, #287, #289, #295, #376, #381, #389,
#443, #452, #507, and #551. If you do not have a hymnal of your own in Minnesota law requires that the marriage license be purchased at
which to review these hymns, just ask to borrow one from the church. least five days before the wedding, and that the wedding must be
performed within six months of purchase. The license does not have to
An abundance of good beautiful wedding music is available in a be purchased in the county where the wedding is conducted. As soon as
variety of styles from old and new sources. Plan to make your selections you have the license, please bring it to the church office so the
in time to have them reviewed and approved in advance by the pastor. certificates may be completed and the information recorded. It will be
If you wish for suggestions of instrumental or vocal music, ask your kept safely and returned to you after it is signed following the ceremony.
pastor or musician for a list. Christian book stores will carry books of
music for Christian weddings, but before you buy one, see if your Current Minnesota law provides for a $50 discount ($20 instead
musician already has a copy. of $70) for the license if the couple can document that they completed at
lease 12 hours of premarital education provided by a qualified person
Pop music, love songs, and music associated with other settings, (including a pastor). The standard counseling provided by your pastor is
although they may be personal favorites or have sentimental connections, less than 12 hours. If you are interested in supplementing this with other
clash with the tone of a Christian service of worship and may fit better as preparation to qualify for the license discount, please ask the pastor about
part of the reception. Keep in mind what thoughts the words or tunes options that are available when you begin meeting with him.
will bring to the minds of those present.
Some music which may be pretty and have nice thoughts
but is inappropriate for a Christian wedding includes: “The Rose”,
“Wedding Song”, “Keeper of the Stars”, “Endless Love”, “To Me”,
“From this Moment”, and “Your Love Amazes Me”.
Wedding Attendants Decorations and Flowers
The worship area is set with appropriate symbols and
The best man and maid or matron of honor serve as official
decorations for worship. Flowers and other tasteful decorations may be
witnesses to the wedding and sign the marriage license. In addition, you
added but existing furnishings, etc. are not to be removed or moved. The
may include several other couples. Very young ring bearers or flower
brass cross and candlesticks in particular are not to be touched with bare
girls sometimes behave in unexpected ways. Those not able to stand still
hands, as this leads to tarnishing.
throughout the service may be comfortable in small chairs placed nearby
In placing decorations, be sure not to damage the church walls
or may go to sit with close relatives after the processional.
or furnishings. No tacks, nails, staples or damaging tape are to be used.
Ordinarily decorations may be placed as early as the night before the
The arrangement of the attendants in the chancel during the
wedding. Please check with the pastor on exceptions. The wedding
service and the path of the various attendants in the processional will be
party is responsible for cleaning up all decorations as soon as possible.
planned with the Officiant and the couple before the rehearsal.
Plan to designate reliable people to be in charge of this for you.
Traditionally, men stand to the right and ladies to the left as they face the
The color of the altar, lectern and pulpit paraments (cloths) is set
by the church season and not changed for weddings. This schedule is:
Advent (4 weeks before Christmas): blue
At least one usher should be present for every 50 guests
Christmas (Dec. 24) through the 1st Sun. after Epiphany (Jan. 6): white
expected. (A good rule of thumb is to expect 50% of those invited to be
Epiphany season: green
able to attend.) They will greet and seat your guests, distribute bulletins,
Lent, (Ash Wednesday to Good Friday): purple
(if you use them) and assist in other ways as the need arises. Plan to
Easter and 7 weeks after: white
chose mature and reliable people. They will be briefed on their duties at
Pentecost season: green
White and Red are also used on other special festivals and saints days.
Ask the pastor about particulars.
The Rehearsal Flower arrangements may be on stands beside or behind the
altar or on the shelf behind the altar. Individual flowers may be placed
The rehearsal time is arranged with the officiating pastor, usually
on the altar, with a protective sheet underneath, but not potted flowers or
the evening before the service. It will last about an hour. Those who
plants. Flower arrangements on the altar must be placed in the church’s
need to be present are the bridal party, including all attendants, the
vase stands. These have a removable liner, which must be picked up
bride’s parents, and the ushers. It is helpful for the accompanist to be
from the church and taken to the florist ahead of time. When the flowers
present also, especially if unfamiliar with weddings at our church. Other
are removed they are to be returned to the church clean. Note that the
musicians may also come to rehearse at this time. If someone is
altar has limited space for such arrangements. No decorations are to
videotaping the service, it may be helpful for them to come to the
obscure the symbols of worship and should not overshadow the cross
rehearsal and plan equipment placement, etc. at that time. Please
(36” above the altar).
communicate clearly with all those involved so that we can begin on
Note that fire regulations do not allow live flowers or flammable
material attached to the stands of unenclosed candles.
Flowers may be left for the following Sunday services. Sign up
on the posted flower calendar to reserve a spot for your flowers.
If you wish to use a unity candle during the service, the church
has a set of holders but you need to supply the candles. Wax candles are
not to be placed on the altar. A small table is available to hold the unity
candles. Talk to the pastor or sexton for details. If you wish to use an
aisle runner, you must obtain it from your florist.
Pictures and Videos Use of the Church Building
Posed pictures are usually best before the ceremony. Your
Seating in the sanctuary is designed to accommodate 250
wedding party will be fresh and you will not inconvenience your guests
people, plus musicians in the balcony.
by delaying the reception. Plan to finish these pictures at least half an
hour before the service begins, which will probably mean that you will
A church sexton will at the church while the wedding party and
begin an hour and a half before the service. Please let the pastor know
guests are present to assist them and to supervise the use of the facilities.
when you want the worship area available for pictures, especially if you
The church does not employ a custodian. The wedding party is
want any to be taken with him.
responsible for seeing that the church is left clean and in its original
If anything is moved for the pictures, the photographer is condition. Plan to have a reliable person or two walk through the church
responsible for seeing that it is returned to the original place. Objects on after the wedding to pick up any personal items left behind and make
the altar are not to be moved or touched with bare hands, as this causes sure everything is in order.
tarnishing. If candles are lit for pictures, they should be extinguished as
soon as they are no longer needed. One of the groomsmen will be Fees for wedding events are necessary to cover the extra
trained at the rehearsal to take care of this. expenses involved, which the church is not able to underwrite. They
include: Member Non-Member
Flash pictures may be taken during the processional and Santuary service $25 $300
recessional, (from the aisle, not the altar area) but no flash pictures are to Reception $25 + serving $75 + serving
be taken during the marriage service itself, since this tends to disrupt the Rehearsal dinner $15 + serving $50 + serving
reverent occasion. It is advisable to print a note in the wedding bulletin Sexton $50 $100
with this request. Your photographer may take pictures during the Member rates will be applied if the bride or groom are participating
service without a flash, assuming the sound of his equipment is not members of the church. The Church Council will resolve any questions
disruptive. as to whether or not the member rate should be applied in a particular
Videotaping the service may be desired and is best done from
behind or to the side of the congregation. Video cameras on tripods or A damage deposit of $50 is due from both members and non-
hand held should not interfere with the movement of people and should members. It is due at the time the initial reservation is made. The
not be so conspicuous as to be a distraction to the participants or guests. amount is refunded after the wedding if there is no damage to the church
An unattended camera on a tripod may be placed toward the front if it is or grounds and the wedding group cleans up afterward.
not a conspicuous distraction. If you wish to use the video camera
mounted on the balcony, the Pastor can put you in contact with an Payment of all fees is due at least two weeks before the wedding
operator. Plan to give them an honorarium. and is refundable. For non-members, one half of the fees is due at the
time the reservation is made and is refundable until two weeks before the
Wedding Bulletins wedding. Checks should be payable to the Lutheran Church of the Good
Wedding bulletins are not necessary but can be an added touch. Shepherd and can be mailed to the church or given to the pastor or
You must purchase your own bulletin covers. The church may assist you secretary.
in ordering them or you can get them from local printers or Christian
bookstores. Expect the cost to be about $25 per hundred. Consult with If food is provided at the church for the wedding party, it must
the pastor about printing the order of service and other contents. If you be kept within the kitchen and tile floored area and the kitchen must be
want the church to print the bulletins, have the copy of the contents and left clean. No equipment, such as roasters, coffeepots, etc., shall leave
the bulletin covers to the church office at least two weeks before the the church kitchen. If items are broken, the party using the kitchen will
wedding and plan to check back to proof it before it is printed. replace them.
Receptions at the church are served by the Ladies Mission Checklist for Preparing for the Wedding Ceremony
Guild. A consultation is arranged in advance. Check with the pastor for
name of the contact person. The wedding party arranges for the set up of At least five months before the wedding:
the tables, chairs and decorations and taking them down and cleaning up - Pray for God to guide and provide for you in this life changing time.
afterward. The church hall can seat a maximum of 300 persons. - Begin meeting with the pastor for planning and counseling.
The wedding party arranges for the furnishing and preparation of - Pay the $50 damage deposit to the church.
the food, for disposable products, and a minimum of four servers and a - Begin to line up musicians, attendants and ushers for the service.
kitchen crew to serve and clean up. The Guild provides two members to
advise and assist. A fee of $2.00 per guest is charged for use of the At least three months before the wedding
kitchen and serving the wedding if church dishes are used. The fee is - Arrange reception details, plan honeymoon
$1.50 if paper products are used instead. Cleaning of linens will be - Engage a photographer, if desired
arranged by the guild and billed to the wedding party, plus $10 for this - Plan invitations
At least one month before the wedding:
Dressing rooms for the wedding couple and attendants are - Finalize music plans with the musicians and pastor.
available. These rooms are also used for other church activities. You - Order bulletin covers, if desired, send invitations.
may hang clothing in them as early as the night before the wedding. - Arrange for flowers, gown, tuxedos, rehearsal dinner, cake, etc.
Check with the pastor on exceptions. Do not leave purses or other - Have necessary paperwork and tests for license.
valuables in the dressing rooms during the service. We are not able to be
responsible for their security. You may wish to lock them in a vehicle. At least two weeks before the wedding:
Be sure that all clothing and personal articles are removed from the - Get the marriage license and deliver it to the church.
building immediately after the wedding. The church will be locked once - Pay fees for use of the church
everyone has left. - Provide the copy for the service bulletin.
- Arrange any transportation or food for the wedding party, etc.
Alcohol is not permitted on the church grounds. Those who are - Be sure attendants, etc. know the time of the rehearsal.
intoxicated may be asked to leave (with an escort for their safety). If the
bride or groom is intoxicated, the wedding will be postponed. Smoking At the rehearsal
is not permitted on the church grounds. (There are no containers for - Have attendants, ushers, parents, etc. present on time.
cigarette butts.) Please also avoid strong perfumes out of consideration - Review and walk through entire service as planned.
for those who may have unhealthy reactions. - Show attendants where they will dress, etc.
- Deliver honorarium payment to musicians & pastor.
Throwing rice, confetti or birdseed is not permitted on the
church grounds. This is not considered to be a Christian custom and it is The wedding day
difficult to clean up. The release of balloons, birds, etc. is strongly - Pray, thanking God and asking for his continued blessing.
discouraged because of the environmental hazards. - Finish all decorating, pictures, etc. ½ hour before service.
- Have someone take along any cards or gifts brought to church.
- Have someone check and clean up church before leaving.
- Try to relax and enjoy the special moment.
ORDER OF HOLY MATRIMONY Wedding Address
Song or Hymn
Declaration of Intent
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Amen Name of bridegroom, will you have this woman to be your
wedded wife, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony as
Institution of Marriage God ordained it? Will you nourish and cherish her as Christ loved
His body the church, laying down His life for her? Will you love,
Beloved in the Lord, we are gathered here in the sight of God
honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all
before His Church to witness the union of this man and this woman
others, remain united to her along, so long as you both shall live?
in Holy Matrimony. This is an honorable estate, which God
Then answer I will
himself has instituted and blessed, and by which he gives us a
Name of bride, will you have this man to be your wedded
picture of the very communion of Christ and His bride, the Church.
husband, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony as God
God has both established and sanctified marriage and has promised
ordained it? Will you submit to him as the Church submits to
to bless therein all who love and trust in him and who seek to give
Christ? Will you love, honor and keep him in sickness and in
Him their faithful worship and service, for the sake of our Lord
health; and forsaking all others, remain united to him alone, so
long as you both shall live?
The lifelong union of husband and wife in heart, body and
Then answer I will
mind is intended by God for the mutual companionship, help and
support that each person ought to receive from each other, both in (The Pastor addresses the parents of the bride:)
prosperity and adversity. Marriage was also ordained so that one Who gives this woman to be married by this man? We do.
man and one woman may find delight in one another, and so keep (Or the Pastor addresses the parents of the bride and groom:)
love pure and holy, avoiding sexual immorality. God has also Do you give your consent and blessing to this couple?
established marriage for the procreation of children, when it is his Then say We do.
will, so that they can be brought up in the knowledge and love of Will you pray for and encourage ____ and ____ in their marriage,
the Lord. remembering at all times that God wills them to live within their
Therefore marriage is not to be entered into inadvisedly or vows until they are parted by death? Then say We will.
lightly but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the
purpose for which it was instituted by God. Christian marriage Marriage Vows
consists in your mutual consent, sincerely and freely given, which (The bride hands her flowers to the attendant. The bridegroom and
you now solemnly declare before God, these witnesses, and each bride, facing each other, join hands and repeat after the pastor:)
other. I, ___________, in the presence of God and these witnesses,
___ and ___ now desire our prayers as they begin their take you ___________ to be my wife / husband,
marriage in the Lord’s name and with His blessing. to have and to hold from this day forward
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
Scripture Readings in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
Gen. 2:18, 21-24; 3:16-17, 19; Eph. 5:21-33; Matt. 19:4-6 till death us do part, according to God’s holy will;
and I pledge you my faithfulness.
Song or Hymn
Exchange of Rings Marriage Prayer (The bride and groom may kneel)
Grant your blessing, O Lord, to this couple who shall wear these Almighty, everlasting God, our heavenly Father, grant that by
rings, that they may constantly remember their solemn pledge, and, your blessing ___ and ___ may live together according to Your
trusting in your mercy, abound evermore in love all their days; Word and promise. Strengthen them in faithfulness and love
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who ;lives and reigns with You and toward each other. Sustain and defend them in all trial and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. temptation. Help them to live in faith toward You, in the
communion of Your holy Church, and in loving service to each
(The bridegroom and bride exchange rings, repeating after the other that they may ever enjoy Your heavenly blessing.
pastor:) Pour your grace on these, your servants, that they may fulfill
Receive this ring the vows they have made this day and reflect your steadfast love in
as a pledge and token their lifelong faithfulness to each other. We pray you of your
of wedded love and faithfulness. infinite mercy to grant to this bridegroom and bride grace,
prosperity, and happiness in body and soul. Use us, as members
May the giving and receiving of these rings always be a with them of the body of Christ, to support their life together;
symbol of the unselfish sharing of goods that you as husband and through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns
wife will practice without ceasing in times of blessing and in times with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
of suffering; and be a reminder of the excellent Christian virtues
with which you will adorn your marriage. To this end, may God Lord’s Prayer
bless you through the heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
Pronouncement of Marriage
give us this day our daily bread;
Now that ____ and ____ have committed themselves to each and forgive us our trespasses
other in Holy Matrimony, have given themselves to each other by as we forgive those who trespass against us;
their solemn pledges, and have declared the same before God and and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
these witness, I pronounce them to be husband and wife, in the For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. forever and ever. Amen.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
Amen. (The bride and groom rise and the bride receives again her flowers)
The almighty and gracious God abundantly grant you his favor Benediction
and sanctify and bless you with the blessing given to Adam and
The Lord bless you and keep you.
Eve in paradise, that you may please Him in both body and soul
The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
and live together in holy love until your life’s end. Amen.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Lighting Unity Candle
Song or Hymn