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A Ceremony With Five Optional Endings (You can cut & paste elements from this ceremony into other ceremonies)

WELCOME STATEMENT
Minister:
Welcome: On behalf of BRIDE and GROOM, I would like to welcome all of you here today. Each of you has given something of yourself into their lives, and they want you to know that they will always treasure your love, your encouragement, and your support. And, because you are all so special to them, they feel that it is important that you be here with them today as they begin this exciting new chapter in their lives.

PRESENTATION: (If this applies)
Minister:
And now I would ask, who presents this woman to be married to this man?
(
Father or escort of Bride replies: "I do.” or “I and her mother do.")

Since we are gathered together today in the sight of God to witness and to bless the marriage of
GROOM and BRIDE. It’s appropriate that we begin with a prayer.

PRAYER
Minister:
Let’s pray: O Lord, this is a happy day for all of us because this is the wedding day of GROOM and BRIDE. They come now before You, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. We ask that they always be as true and loving as they are at this moment and that You fill their hearts with kindness and understanding. Help them to be sweetheart, helpmate, friend, and guide to one another; so that together they may meet everything that life has to offer. May their home be a place of love and harmony and bless this day, their wedding day, and walk beside them forever. Amen.

OFFICIANTS STATEMENT
Minister:
A poet once wrote these words about love:

Suddenly there's no more mystery
It feels like you're the other half of me
We've only just begun
Our two hearts now beat as one.


With those words in mind, as you face each other, holding the hands of the one you are about to marry, I'd like you to think about the significance of those hands.


These are the hands that will give you
strength when you need strength
comfort when you seek comfort
and tenderness when you long for tenderness.
These are the hands that countless times will wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will hold all of those who you love.
And these are the hands of your best friend
holding your hands on your wedding day
as you promise to love one another and work together to build your future as husband & wife.


GROOM and BRIDE, you've gathered your friends and family together to celebrate this special day with you. And, I can tell just from their faces that they love you both very much. And that's important. We need the love, encouragement, and the support of our friends and our relatives.


But I also think that a minister should say a few words regarding marriage, and I do have some advice I'd like to share. But what I'd like to say today is more than just “common sense” and more than just “my experience”, because what I’d like to share with you is from the Bible. For among other wonderful things, the Bible is filled with stories of people forming relationships, marriage and living together thereafter.


The Bible says that a strong and long-lasting relationship is founded on love. And I think that’s important, because as important as this ceremony is for many reasons, we would not be here today and you would not be about to pledge your lives to one another, if you did not already love one another.


So, I think it’s important that I say a few words about what love is -- and there is no better definition of Love than that which is found in the Bible, where in 1st Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul, describing love, tells us:


Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
It does not boast nor is it proud.
It is not rude or self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
love always protects, always trusts, and always hopes.

It always perseveres--
And Love never fails.


So, a marriage that lasts is not just two people living together; and it’s much more than just signing your names to a piece of paper. No, a marriage that lasts is MUCH more. It’s an agreement between two people who have pledged to love each other, to trust each other, and to face all that life has to offer, together.


And though marriage is a powerful commitment, it is not intended to give one person possession or ownership in any way over the other, but just the opposite – to allow freedom for both of you as your merge your two lives and personalities together. It is built on the basic elements of who you are, while in no way subtracting from who you are but adding each of you to a new union which becomes more than the sum of the two parts.

Another way of thinking about this relationship is to think of a good friend, because a good friend is someone you like to be with, go places with, laugh with and cry with. But a best friend is even more than this, because with your best friend you can discuss your ideas, your hopes and dreams, and you understand each others thoughts and needs. Sometimes it seems as though your best friend somehow understands your needs better than you do. Sometimes, only being together is what you need. Sometimes, just holding hands is what you need.

So, in many ways this love that you share is a “best friendship;” but it is also a love and a friendship that has CAUGHT FIRE and soars over everything else on earth. You know, that wherever you go and whatever you do, you are a team facing life together. And even though we know that you cannot always be physically together, the bond that I’m talking about is not the just the bond of your bodies, but the bond of your spirits, your hearts and your love. And when you CAN be together, it’s always a special privilege for a husband and a wife to enjoy the company of the one they love.

EXCHANGE OF VOWS
Minister:

So, here you stand today to say your wedding vows to one another. Before you do, it's important that you both understand that the vows that you are about to make should not be undertaken lightly but with a great deal of consideration and respect. With that in mind:


GROOM
do you take BRIDE to be your wife; to live together in holy marriage, to love her, comfort her, cherish and keep her, in health and in sickness, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her for as long as you both shall live?
(Groom answers: "I do.")


Then please repeat to her the following vows :

I,
GROOM, take you BRIDE to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, I promise to be your true and loving husband, and to love and cherish you always. I do this because I love you today I will love you tomorrow and I will love you forever.

BRIDE do you take GROOM to be your husband; to live together in holy marriage, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in health and in sickness, and forsaking all others be faithful to him for as long as you both shall live?
(Bride answers: "I do.")

Then please repeat to him the following vows :


I,
BRIDE, take you GROOM to be my husband. To have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to be your true and loving wife. and to love and honor you always. I do this because I love you today I will love you tomorrow and I will love you forever.

RING EXCHANGE

Minister:
Throughout time, the ring has been a symbol of unending love, because like time, the ring has no beginning and no end. It is a circle , the emblem of eternity. Wedding rings are made of precious metal, the purest metal, and the type that is least tarnished and most enduring; to show how lasting and imperishable is the faith which is now mutually pledged.

GROOM, do you have such a symbol of you love for BRIDE?
(Groom answers, "Yes.")

Then, as you place the ring on her finger, please repeat to her the following words:

BRIDE, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and as a reminder that I have chosen you to be the one to share my life.


BRIDE, do you have such a symbol of your love for GROOM?
(Bride answers, "Yes.")


Then, as you place the ring on his finger, please repeat to him the following words:


GROOM, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and as a reminder that I have chosen you to be the one to share my life.


CLOSING PRAYER
Minister:

Let us pray:
We ask you, Lord, to bless this couple whose lives are now joined in an unbroken circle, much like these rings that now encircle their fingers. I ask that they may find in one another, the love that all men and all women hunger to find. May they continue to grow in their understanding of this love, their understanding of one another, and their understanding of You also, Lord, for the rest of their lives. May these rings on their fingers symbolize the touch of Your spirit of love in their hearts forever. Amen.


BENEDICTION

Minister:
May the joy and peace which only God can give, and which cannot be taken away by anything in this world, be yours today and in all life's tomorrows.

PRONOUNCEMENT
Minister:
GROOM
and BRIDE, you have made your vows before each other; and, you have sealed your vows with the giving and receiving of these rings. So now, by the power vested in me as an ordained minister by the State of (Insert State Name Here), I pronounce you to be HUSBAND AND WIFE together and I invite you to kiss one another.


PRESENTATION
Minister:
Please face your family and friends.
Ladies and gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you for the very first time:
MR. AND MRS.
GROOM AND BRIDE + (GROOM'S SURNAME)


**************************************************************************************
Optional Extra Ceremonies:
(Communion/Unity Candle/Sand Ceremony/Rose Ceremony/Breaking Of The Glass)
**************************************************************************************
COMMUNION (This usually comes right the pronouncement and before the presentation of the newly married couple)
Minister:
At his last supper, Jesus Christ took bread and asked God's blessing on it and broke it in pieces and gave it to them and said, "Eat-- this is my body."
(Minister breaks the bread into two pieces and hands the platter with the bread to the Groom, who takes a piece of bread and holds the platter for the Bride as she takes a piece of bread. he then hands the platter back to the minister. Once the minister has received the platter, the Bride & Groom partake of the bread.)


(Minister picks up the cup of wine):


Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it and gave it to them; and they all drank from it. And he said to them, "This is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the new agreement between God and man...."

(Minister then hands the cup of wine to the Groom who drinks from the cup. Then Groom hands the cup to the Bride who drinks from the cup. Then the Bride hands to cup back to the Groom who hands it back to the minister.)

As you have shared this bread and cup, may you always share in the unity and peace of the Spirit.


UNITY CANDLE CEREMONY (This usually comes right after the ring ceremony and may be combined with other ceremonies if desired. This is not recommended for an outdoor wedding)
Minister:
GROOM and BRIDE, you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings. You have committed to share the rest of your lives with each other. Behind me are three candles. The two outer candles represent your lives up to this moment, as individuals. The center candle you are about to light is a candle of Marriage. It represents the light of two people in love. It is a candle of Unity because both must come together, giving a spark of them, to create new light. This candle is also a candle of Commitment because it takes two people working together to keep it aflame. It has been said that life is like a flame: It has its own warmth, and its own brilliance. But it is in the union of the Two that something brighter, warmer, more wonderful takes place.

GROOM and BRIDE, please light the center candle to symbolize the union of your lives. As you have lit this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May the radiance of this one light be testimony of your unity. May this candle burn brightly as a symbol of your commitment to each other. May it give you strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits. The life that each of you experienced now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. May your union be forever blessed.

SAND CEREMONY (This usually comes right after the ring ceremony and may be combined with other ceremonies if desired.)
Minister: I'd like to ask each of you to stand on one side of this table.(BRIDE and GROOM stand next to table)

The vessel of sand closest to you represents all that you are and all that you’ll ever be as an individual. It also represents your life before today. As your two separate vessels of sand are poured into the third vessel, it symbolizes the blending your lives together into one union.

BRIDE and GROOM, after today the individual you no longer exists, just as your single vessel of sand no longer exists. You are joined together and are now one. And just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual vessels, so you are in the covenant that you have formed here today.


These vessels of sand symbolize the sands of time that have brought you together to this moment in time. Each grain of sand in your separate vessel represents a special moment, a decision, a feeling or something that helped shape you into who you are today.


Now, please pour your sand into the center vessel.


As you pour your separate vessels of sand into a common vessel, you as a
separate and independent individual no longer exists. Instead, you blend together into a loving and supportive marital union.

But you can see that the individual grains do not cease to exist just because you have poured them from one vessel into another. In much the same way, your memories, your feelings, your experiences -- everything that makes you who you are now -- are still there. You do not become any less of who you are because of your new union in marriage. You will always be who you are, but you are now united in a team. From this time on, all of the memories, feelings and experiences will be shared by both of you and you will become stronger as you face all that life has to offer -- together.


After today, the individual you no longer exists, just as your single vessel of sand no longer exists. You are joined together and are now one. And just as the grains of sand can never be separated and poured into the individual vessels, so you are in the covenant that you have formed here today.


ROSE CEREMONY (This is usually after the pronouncement & may be combined with other ceremonies if desired)
Minister:
One of the many privileges of being a minister is I'm usually the first one to address the newlyweds as husband and wife -- which you now are Congratulations!

I'd also like to be the one to give you your first gift as a married couple. In my hands I hold two roses, and I'd like to give each of you a rose with the thought that your rose symbolizes the love you have for each other, which, of course, is the foundation of your marriage. (Minister hands roses to husband and wife.)


Now I’d like you to exchange your roses with each other. This then is your first gift to each other as husband and wife. That gift, is the gift of your love.

(Couple exchanges roses).


Too often, when we witness a wedding ceremony, we only think of it as the union of two people. The truth is that a wedding is much more than this; and while it’s true that your new family has been formed here today, it is not true that your “old” family has been left behind. Now, I’d like you to present your rose to your new mother-in-law symbolizing the unity of love that now unites you all as one larger family.

Minister: (To friends and family as couple faces guests)

Earlier I said that each one of you has been invited here today because of your love, encouragement and support. That is true and will forever be true. They need your continued love, encouragement and support. So, while you have heard them make their vows to one another today, I would like for each one of you to make a vow to them. Answer “We Will” if by God’s grace, you promise to do all that you can to uphold and support them in their marriage?


BREAKING OF THE GLASS (This is usually after the pronouncement & may be combined with other ceremonies if desired)
Minister:
The breaking of the glass is, among other things, a symbol of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Mazal tov can loosely be translated as, "I'm happy that this good thing has happened to you."It can be thought of as how fragile our relationships are and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. It's a symbol of HOPE that you marriage will last as long as the glass is broken -- which is, of course, permanently. (If you would like some humor I often add: "Some even say that 'this is the last time that the groom will have to put his foot down.") Hold the glass above your head as I introduce you as Mr. and Mrs. and stomp on the glass saying,"Mozal tov."