Wedding2

Revd Rex A E Hunt

LITURGY 2 FOR THE SERVICE OF MARRIAGE

Processional Music

Welcome
A very warm and heart-felt welcome to you all.
We are gathered together to celebrate
the coming together in marriage of (N) and (N).

They have asked me to say on their behalf they are
both pleased and excited we are all here to celebrate their relationship.

And to witness and stand alongside them during this event
in acknowledgment of their decision (time frame) ago
to commit to journeying through life together.

Loving relationships are acknowledged not just in one day,
at one event, but are a cumulative and ongoing shared expression
of care, respect, trust and hope.

The purpose of today is to celebrate and acknowledge
the relationship that already exists
between (N) and (N).

And so we gather and we celebrate, knowing that
by our shared presence with them,
we are saying they, together,
are loved by many others.

We also gather to surround them with
our thoughts,
our prayers if that is your tradition, and
our best wishes
as we share in their joy of their marriage.

OR

Opening Sentences
(i) On behalf of (N) and (N),
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 they will always
treasure your love,
your encouragement,
your support.

And, because you are all so special to them,
they feel it is important that you be here with them today
as they begin this new chapter in their lives.

OR

(ii)  We gather this day as families and friends of
(N) and (N) to celebrate their marriage
surround them with our prayers and best wishes
and to share in their joy.

God is the heart of life.
All  And we are the heartbeat.

May our hearts be filled
with thanks and praise and songs of joy.
All  
We rejoice in the miracle of life
and delight in our participation.

(N) and (N), we welcome you
and we thank you for the privilege that is ours
to share this joyful day with you.

Declaration of Purpose
Marriage is a vision of life together in which two people
live in a unity of body, mind and spirit.

It is a relationship in which
neither takes life from the other,
but in love and grace,
new life is formed between them
which is deeper and more creative
than each living alone.

The love that is born there
may lead to the creation of new life in children
and a safe place for their learning and growing.

In marriage two people dare to make the commitment
to love each other for the rest of their lives.
They do this not because they believe that this will be easy,
but as a grand hope which they share.

(N) and (N) announce their love
as a sign of the beginning of a new journey into life together,
treading into the unknown future
with freedom and grace.

They make this commitment before us
with a real sense of responsibility and care.

They invite our support
in sustaining their relationship
and our joy in celebrating this act of love.

Therefore, on this their wedding day
let us join them in this sacred moment
and surround them with our love.
For we are most human when we are most loving.

Moment of Quietness/Prayer
Let us now join together in some moments of quietness.

And in this quietness let us focus
on (N) and (N) the prayers and best wishes
we have for them today.
(Silence)

Gracious and caring Energy of Love,
you surround us,
you touch our imaginations,
you hold us in comfort in life’s circumstances.

Embrace us in all our living and lift our joy and hope this day.
May it be so. Amen.

Lighting of Candles
Candles, representing the lives of both (N) and (N)
and the union of the two families
will be lit by their mothers/friends/children, (N) and (N).

Wisdom Readings
Let us listen as we reflect on the thoughts of others 
who have written about living and love and marriage.

Biblical/Religious tradition:
Contemporary OR Non biblical (poem, etc):

Music of Celebration

Charge to Couple
True marriage is a comradeship of two 
who strive to grow together in their differences 
for their mutual happiness. 

Who work for the achievement of their common ideals.

The decision to marry,
made in the context of human uncertainty,
requires tremendous faith: 
        faith in yourselves as individuals
        and in the strength of your relationship;
faith that you will be able in your marriage
to deal with whatever the future holds.

Statement of Intent
Groom stands
After the Groom has declared his intent, the Bride stands

(i) (N) do you wish to be married?
I do.

Are you willing to affirm that you will receive (N) to be your wife?
Will you love her,
sharing with her your joys and sorrows,
your needs and dreams?

Will you offer her the freedom and support
she needs to fulfil her own life? 
I am and I will (with God's help).

(N) do you wish to be married?
I do.

Are you willing to affirm that you will receive
(N) to be your husband?

Will you love him,
sharing with him your joys and sorrows,
your needs and dreams?

Will you offer him the freedom and support
he needs to fulfil his own life? 
I am and I will (with God's help).

OR

(ii) (N), will you give yourself to (N) to be her husband,
to live together in the covenant of marriage?

Will you love her, comfort her,
honour and protect her,
and, forsaking all others,
be faithful to her,
as long as you both shall live?
I will.

(N), will you give yourself to (N) to be his wife,
to live together in the covenant of marriage?

Will you love him, comfort him,
honour and protect him,
and, forsaking all others,
be faithful to him,
as long as you both shall live?
I will.

OR

Statement of Intent
(Depending on above…)

Marriage is a vision of life together by two individual people.

It is a relationship in which neither takes life from the other,
but in love and grace,
new life is formed between them
which grows even deeper and more creative over time
and with shared experiences.

(N) and (N) have invited our support
in sustaining their relationship,
and our joy in celebrating this act of love.
For we are most human when we are most loving.

So (NNN) and (NNN),
you are to marry each other, and you’ve invited us all
to gather here to witness this important occasion…
        I invite you now to declare your intent publicly.

(N): Nearly (time frame) (N) and I decided to get married.

Today, in this public ceremony and celebration of marriage,
I honour the commitment I made then, to (N).

I do this because I want to communicate and share
the happiness I experience from our love.

I do this because I want to share my life
with you in marriage, in the full knowledge
there will be both joys and sorrows in the days ahead.

(N): I remember, when we decided to be married, how we
talked about our future, feeling both scared and excited.

So today I too publicly honour the commitment I made
to you, (N) that day in (location, city).

And I make this declaration that I want to share my life
with you in marriage, in the full knowledge
there will be both joys and sorrows in the days ahead.

Blessing by the Families
(N) and (N) are about to become husband and wife.

(N) and (N), (N) and (N) on behalf of the two families,
will you give your blessing to (N) and (N)
in their new relationship?

Will you support them with the freedom and love which they need?

Will you share your experiences and wisdom with them,
and seek to learn from them as well?
We do and we will (through the grace of God).

Affirmation by Friends
And to you, the friends of (N) and (N)
your love and friendship have helped bring
(N) and (N) to this moment in their lives.

Will you continue to love and support them
in who they are as a couple?
We will.

* The Vows
Several samples will be offered

Exchange of Symbols/Rings
(i) What symbol do you give in this marriage?

Rings.
Who holds the rings?
I do.
The rings are presented to the celebrant

Your rings are circles and a circle is the symbol of
the sun, the earth, the universe, of wholeness, peace and unity.

Like circles, your rings have no beginning and no end
and in the sacred tradition of marriage,
rings have come to symbolise
love and the endless union of body, of mind and spirit.

These rings will be worn by (N) and (N)
to show to the world their love and commitment to one another.

May the presence of these rings always remind you
of the love you have pledged and the life you willingly share
with one another from this moment on.

Let us take a moment to send our prayers, our thoughts and our love
to these rings, so that as (N) and (N) wear them,
        they will carry our love with them, as well.
Silent prayer

These rings, now blessed, are a symbol of love and faithfulness.
They seal the vows of marriage and represent
a promise of forever love.

I, (N), give you (N) this ring as a token of my love and commitment to you.
As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.
I choose you to be my wife this day and forevermore.

I, (N), give you(N) this ring as a token of my love and commitment to you.
As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.
I choose you to be my husband this day and forevermore.

OR

(ii) The joining of your lives into one common life
did not begin and does not end
with this service of marriage.

It is a continuing process
to which you have given yourselves publicly today.

Each day you must make again the decision
to engage in life together.
The celebrant receives the rings

The metal in these rings has little value except in its use today.
Your words today are gone as you say them.
But as you say them
your lives are changed forever.

We pray a blessing on these rings.
Let them be to (N) and (N)
a symbol of unending love and faithfulness,
to remind them of the covenant
which they have made this day.

(a) (N) as a symbol of my decision to share our life together,
and of our faith and love,
I give you this ring.

(N) as a symbol of my decision to share our life together,
and of our faith and love,
I give you this ring.

OR

(b) (N), I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage
and of the vows which we have made today.

(N), I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage
and of the vows which we have made today.

Proclamation of the Marriage
Now that (N) and (N) have given themselves to each other
by solemn vows, with the joining of hands
and the giving and receiving of a ring,
I pronounce you husband and wife.

OR

Before God, and in the presence of us all,
(N) and (N) have made their solemn vows.
They have confirmed their marriage by the joining of hands
and the giving and receiving of rings.

In the name of God, Source of Life and Being,
I proclaim them husband and wife.

Acclamation

Wedding Embrace

The Blessing
Bride and Groom kneel 

May God the starmaker cradle and circle you.
May God the storyteller beckon and encourage you.
May God the life changer challenge you and cherish you.
May you walk in the light of God’s love and laughter
        all the moments of your nights and days.
Bride/Groom stand

* Family Greeting

* Hymn

Announcements

Signing of Register/Papers

Music of Celebration  (During signing of register)

Presentation of Marriage Certificate
(N) and (N)
on behalf of all present I too offer you my congratulations
and best wishes for the future.

And it is with pleasure I present you with your marriage certificate.

Lighting of the Marriage Candle
(N) and (N) will now light the Unity Candle,
symbolizing the merging of their two lives.

* Presentation of Flowers or Special Gifts

In Solidarity
God of this (summer) day, present within
and around and among us,
we celebrate your creative
and energising presence in our lives.

• May (N) and (N) be blessed.
May they live lives of love and peace together
and always remember their joy on this day.

May they be honest in their relationship,
ready to trust each other,
so their love may grow in maturity and depth.

May they be there for each other
in times of grief or struggle,
holding each other close in comfort,
drawing strength and courage from each other
and from those around them.
May it be so.
Amen.

• May their lives be full of laughter.
May their home be filled with joy,
as it is joined with the life of others,
and as they grow closer to each other
in the shared journey of life.
May it be so.
Amen.

• May the families of both (N) and (N) be blessed,
that they may be united in friendship and respect.

And may each of us here this day
be given new hope in the commitment to love
and be affirmed in our own love for others.

For we are most human when we are most loving.
May it be so.
Amen.

Closing Sentences
May (N) and (N) find happiness in their marriage.
May they live faithfully together, 
performing the vows and covenant between them made.

And may they ever remain in sympathy and understanding
that their years may be rich in the joys of life,
and their days good,
and long upon the earth.

OR

On this special day, we would assure (N) and (N)
of our care and support
as they plan new experiences
and reach out to new achievements and satisfactions.

Carry our love with you as you go
and call upon us when you will.

Go into your new life together in grace and peace.

Blessing
May the Spirit of Life and Love be evident in all our living.
May the Spirit of Creativity bless us richly in all our living.
May a Spirit of Gratitude, Wonder and Peace
be our gift in all our living.

Every one of us. Every part of us.

May we be blessed.
This day.  And ever more.
Amen.

Farewell
(N) and (N) celebrate your life!

Recessional Music


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Falla, T. C. (ed). 1994. Be Our Freedom Lord. Responsive Prayers and Readings for Contemporary Worship. Revised edition. Adelaide. Open Books Publications.
Fulghum, R. 1995. 
From Beginning To End. The Rituals of our Lives. New York. Bantam Books.
Gordon, K. 1998. A Practical Guide to Alternative Weddings. London. Constable.
Hass, R.; S. Mitchell. 1993. 
Into The Garden. A Wedding Anthology. New York. HarperPerennial.
Liebelt, P; N. Nicholls. (ed). 1996.
Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship Resources for Rural Situations. Melbourne. JBCE.
McRae-McMahon, D. 2003. 
Rituals For Life, Love and Loss. Paddington. Jane Curry Publishing.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1968. 
Great Occasions. Readings for the Celebration of Birth, Coming-of-age, Marriage, and Death. Boston. Beacon Press. 
Silliman, V. B. (ed). 1972
. The Celebration of Marriage. Norway. Oxford Hills Press.
Uniting in Worship. Leader’s Book. 1988. Melbourne. Uniting Church Press.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995. 
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites:
UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA.
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport, 2005.
Michael Morwood. Marriage ceremony. www.greatnewstory.com

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