Wedding Guidebook

From the Open Files of:

NW Synod of Wisconsin Resource Center (715) 833-1153

Contributed by:

St. John's Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, WI

This file is available in
.pdf version MS Word version for editing

1804 Highland Avenue Eau Claire, WI 54701 834-9571
The Wedding Book

October 2004 Revision

"That you have chosen to be married in the Christian Church means your
wedding at St. John's will be a worship service."

Marriage is a Liturgy of the Church
Who may be married at St. John's?

Getting Started

1. Initial Arrangements
2. Marriage Preparation
3. The Pastor
4. The Wedding Coordinator
5. The Organist
6. The Custodian
7. Musicians
8. The License

Planning the Wedding Worship Service

1. Outline of the Marriage Worship Service
2. Decorations
3. Unity Candle
4. Recorded and Instrumental Music
5. Vocal Music
6. Suggested Scripture Readings
7. The Exchange of Promises
8. Holy Communion

Additional Notes

1. Ushers
2. Bulletins
3. Photography
4. Alcoholic Beverages
5. Smoking Policy
6. Throwing Rice or Bird Seed
7. The Reception
8. Fees
9. Invitations to pastors for receptions and rehearsal dinners
10. Things to bring with you to the rehearsal (checklist)

 Marriage Service from the Lutheran Book of Worship


Marriage is a Liturgy of the Church------ [ TOP ] 

We rejoice that you have chosen to be married at St. John's. After years of guiding couples through the process of preparing for marriage, we realized the need for a set of uniform guidelines. Our staff has created this booklet to help you plan your wedding at St. John's.

People from all cultures and all religions get married. As a result, marriage is not the sole possession of the church. That you have chosen to be married in the Christian Church means your wedding at St. John's will be a worship service. Therefore, as is the case in all Christian worship, our primary focus is on God. We come together to praise and thank God for the good gifts that the Creator has showered upon the human family and upon the church. God gives us marriage as the foundation for human community. Marriage brings us a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come.

As you come before the altar to pledge your love and life-long faithfulness to each other, the Church offers what it has been authorized by Christ to give: God's blessing. As you kneel you will hear the words which make a Christian wedding unique: "The Lord God, who created our first parents and established them in marriage, establish and sustain you, that you may find delight in each other and grow in holy love until your life's end. Amen."

Who may be married at St. John's?------ [ TOP ] 

In keeping with the nature of Christian marriage, only people who have a commitment to Christ and are active members of a worshiping congregation are married at St. John's.

Members who worship regularly and are active in the life of St. John's, and family members (children or grandchildren) of active St. John's members may be married here provided we receive verification from their home church that they are active members. In these cases the couple must also fulfill the requirements for marriage at St. John's (see section on Marriage Preparation, below).

Persons who have been married in a civil ceremony are welcome to have their marriage vows blessed by the church. (Inform the pastor if this is your situation.)

Getting Started------ [ TOP ] 

As you read through this wedding booklet you will notice that some traditions associated with weddings are no longer practiced at St. John's. Some practices have been discontinued for practical reasons and others for theological reasons. In each case we have tried to explain why these traditions have been discontinued.

The following arrangements should be made before making further plans for your wedding:

1. Initial Arrangements------ [ TOP ] 

Your preparation for a wedding at St. John's began with your initial consultation with the Pastor. At that time you were given this Wedding Book and Wedding Information Sheet. You also received some verbal information regarding the nature of weddings at St. John's, expectations regarding marriage preparation and fee schedule.

When reserving a date, please remember that Holy Week (the dates of which change each year) begins on Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter Sunday. Since this is a period of time when all the attention of the church is directed toward the mystery of redemption, no weddings take place at St. John's.


  • Normally, only ONE wedding is scheduled per day. In the rare instance that a second wedding is scheduled, that wedding party must comply with St. John's scheduling needs.
  • 2. Marriage Preparation------ [ TOP ] 

    Couples being married at St. John's are expected to participate in marriage preparation activities. This includes the Prepare/Enrich inventory that is administered by the pastors. The Prepare/Enrich inventory may take up to two follow-up sessions and is designed to assist couples in exploring several different areas of their relationship in an intentional yet personal manner. The pastor reserves the right to ask for additional counseling activities if it is deemed necessary.

    In addition to the premarital counseling sessions, couples are required to attend an evening workshop lead by St. John's pastors and staff. These workshops will be offered at varied times and may be attended 6 to 9 months prior to your wedding date. During these times you will meet other couples who are also getting ready to be married at St. John's and explore together the nature of Christian marriage and family life, as well as receive input into the planning of your wedding ceremony.

    3. The Pastor------ [ TOP ] 

    The Pastor who will officiate at your wedding service has been called by St. John's Lutheran Church to "preside at rites of the church". That means it is the responsibility of the Pastor to see that your marriage service is performed in keeping with the policies of the congregation and within the tradition of the Christian Church.

    If you would like a particular pastor to officiate at your wedding, please say so at the time you make reservations for your wedding. We will try to honor your request, but cannot guarantee that it will be granted. The pastors also reserve the right to substitute for one another when necessary.

    If you would like to invite another pastor to participate in your wedding service please remember that the pastor from St. John's will be the officiant and will decide the extent of participation by the guest pastor.

    4. The Wedding Coordinator------ [ TOP ] 

    All weddings (except for very small private weddings) will utilize the services of a wedding coordinator (WC) who will be assigned to your wedding approximately six weeks in advance of your wedding day. The WC should not be confused with a personal attendant. Rather, the WC is primarily a pastoral assistant. They can be of assistance to you by answering many questions regarding the wedding process if and when the pastors are not available. The primary task of the WC is to assure that your wedding service flows as smoothly as possible. They will conduct the rehearsal, and be on site to assist the pastor and wedding party on your wedding day until the service is over.

    5. The Organist------ [ TOP ] 

    The regular church organist administers use of the organ at St. John's. Normally, the organist of St. John's will play at all weddings where organ music is desired. We will provide you with the name of the organist and it will be your responsibility to contact her/him directly to discuss the music. If our organist is not available, she/he will suggest a substitute. Should you desire another organist, she/he should be trained and have experience with a pipe organ. Permission for the substitute must be obtained from the church organist.

    6. Custodian------ [ TOP ] 

    While most of the activities of our church custodians take place behind the scenes, they are an essential part of the wedding team. They are responsible to make sure that the physical plant is in order for your wedding and for worship the day after your celebration.

    7. Musicians------ [ TOP ] 

    In addition to an organist, some couples like to incorporate a vocalist or instrumentalist (e.g. flute, trumpet, etc.) within the ceremony. Please discuss this with the organist in your initial phone contact. This will allow plenty of time to schedule extra rehearsals.

    Vocal and instrumental musicians are responsible for checking to see that their microphones are on and working properly.

    8. The License------ [ TOP ] 

    For all but the blessing of a civil marriage, couples must secure a license to marry from the state of Wisconsin. The License may be obtained by contacting the Eau Claire County Clerk's Office, 721 Oxford Avenue, Eau Claire, WI.

    Planning the Wedding Worship Service------ [ TOP ] 

    The order for marriage in the Lutheran Book of Worship is not a rigid form. The liturgy, like marriage itself, is meant to open doors to possibilities, not to exclude creativity. The pastor will discuss liturgical options with you as you meet to plan your wedding.


    1. Outline of the Marriage Worship Service------ [ TOP ] 

    You may use the following outline in order to develop a bulletin for your wedding service. (Please see the complete service printed at the end of this booklet.) 
    • Prelude (organ, instrumental music)
    • Procession (organ, instrumental or congregational hymn)
    • The Greeting
    • Prayer of the Day
    • Hymn or Solo (optional)
    • Lessons (one or two scriptural passages may be read here)
    • Sermon (optional)
    • Hymn or Solo (optional)
    • The Exchange of Vows and Rings
    • Pronouncement of Marriage
    • The Blessing
    • The Lighting of the Unity Candle (optional)
    • Hymn or Solo (option - during the lighting of the unity candle)
    • Blessing by parents and wedding party (optional)
    • The Prayers
    • The Lord's Prayer
    • The Benediction
    • Introduction of the Couple (optional)
    • Recession (organ, instrumental or congregational hymn)

    The pastor who presides at the wedding is the final judge as to what is appropriate. Assisting ministers may be used to read the statement about marriage, to read lessons, or to assist in the prayers. These assisting ministers may be lay persons.

    2. Decorations------ [ TOP ] 

    The paraments (altar cloths) at St. John's are designed and used according to the church year. They are not decorations. Thus the paraments may not be changed for your wedding in order to coordinate with colors you have chosen. At times, other appointments are used in front of the church to emphasize liturgical seasons. These too, are not to be changed for weddings. Decorations may be placed on the pews, however no adhesive substances may be used to secure them.

    For safety reasons, the use of aisle runners has been discontinued at St. John's. The flooring is not conducive to safe use of an aisle runner.

    Floral decorations may be used. Real flowers are encouraged for use in the chancel and on the altar. Please check with your wedding coordinator regarding the use of church flower stands.

    In addition to the candles upon the altar, St. John's also has aisle candles and free standing candelabra that you may use for a small fee. Check with your wedding coordinator to reserve these candles and to arrange their placement in the church. The use of these and other decorations should be discussed with your wedding coordinator.

    3. Unity Candle------ [ TOP ] 

    The Unity Candle is a recent innovation in the marriage service. Lighting the candle visually symbolizes the joining of two lives in marriage. Symbols make a lasting impression so it is important that we use them with care. You are invited to light a unity candle during your marriage ceremony if you desire. The pastor officiating at your wedding will discuss the most appropriate methods of lighting the candle and the messages these methods denote to the congregation. Note: You are responsible to provide your own unity candle along with two tapers (side candles and holders).

    4. Recorded Music------ [ TOP ] 

    Some couples ask to use recorded music. While there is nothing inherently wrong with recorded music, you should know that live accompaniment can head off many of the technical difficulties associated with recordings. Missed cues and long pauses are uncomfortable for everyone, and ultimately detract from the beauty of the occasion. We strongly suggest that you refrain from recorded music.

    4b. Instrumental Music

    Throughout the centuries music has been one of the primary vehicles that the church has employed to praise and thank God. There is a vast selection of music that is particularly appropriate for wedding ceremonies. Remember that your wedding is a worship service. Therefore it is important to choose music that emphasizes our praise and thanks to God. Purely secular music is best left to be used at your reception or wedding dance.

    In addition to the suggestions listed below, the congregational organist has many selections and will assist you in your musical selections. If the organist has a question regarding the appropriateness of a song you will be asked to contact the pastor who is presiding at your wedding for final determination. Please remember: "Whenever music is employed in the service and by whatever instruments or voices, it should be of high quality and not cloud the mood of the service with triteness or sentimentality. It should moreover be within the ability of the performers at hand to play or sing with assurance." (Manual on the Liturgy p. 348).

    Recommended organ music for processionals:

    • Canon in D - Pachelbel
    • Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring - Bach
    • March (from Occasional Oratorio) - Handel
    • Prince of Denmark's March (Trumpet Voluntary) - Clarke/Purcell
    • Processional in C - Hopson
    • Processional (from Water Music Suite) - Handel
    • Trumpet March - Lully-Wolff
    • Trumpet Tune in C - Lau
    • Solemn Processional (from Water Music) - Handel
    • Wedding Processional and Air - Bach-Leupold

    Recommended organ music for recessionals:

    • Allegro (from Symphony #4) - Boyce
    • Allegro Maestoso (Walter Music) - Handel
    • God of Grace arr. - Manz
    • Hornpipe (from Water Music) - Handel
    • Psalm 19 - Marcello
    • Prelude in Classic Style - Young
    • Now Thank We All Our God - Post
    • Rigaudon - Campra
    • Rondeau ("Theme from Masterpiece Theater") - Mouret
    • Trumpet Tune - Clarke/Purcell
    • Trumpet Finale - Manfredini-Wolff 

    Inappropriate for use in the church is Wagner's Wedding March from the opera Lohengrin, and Mendelssohn's Wedding March from Midsummer Night's Dream, because they are not in keeping with the intent of a worship service to praise and thank God.

    5. Vocal Music

    If you are wondering about whether or not a vocal selection is appropriate for your wedding, here is a tip: If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, the music is probably appropriate:
    1. Does the music/text reflect praise and/or thanksgiving to God?

    2. Is the song based on, or does it reflect a scriptural theme?

    3. Is this song in the form of a prayer?

    Acceptable Vocal Music:

    • A Nuptial Blessing - Proulx
    • Love -Van Dyke
    • The Greatest of These - Moe
    • Wedding Hymn (Ptolemy) - Handel
    • Wedding Prayer - Dunlap
    • On Eagles Wings - Joncas
    • My Heart Ever Faithful - J.S. Bach
    • The Gift of Love Arr. - Hopson
    • And Now We Join - Halfvarson
    • All The Glory - Gaither
    • Author of Love - Clark
    • Where There is Love - Haas
    • Wedding Song - Stookey
    • Two Candles - Salsbury
    • God, A Woman and a Man - Green
    • Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us - Bradbury
    • Household of Faith - Lamb/Rosasco
    • Parents’ Prayer - Davis
    • Irish Blessing - Stookey
    • In This Very Room - Harris
    • The Prayer - Sager & Foster

    The following selections are examples of vocal music that are inappropriate for use during a wedding worship service:

    • I Swear • You're my Hero • Endless Love
    • Speak Softly, Love • The Wind Beneath My Wings • Love Can Build a Bridge • Keeper of the Stars  • Amazed

     Congregational Hymns:------ [ TOP ] 

    Since the wedding service is a worship service, it is appropriate for those gathered to sing together. A hymn also adds to the sense of participation in the service by those attending. Hymns may be sung in place of other vocal music or instrumental procession and recession. The following hymns from the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) are suggested for your consideration.

    At the beginning of the service, during the processional or immediately following the opening prayer: 

    • Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now - 253
    • We Praise You, O God - 241
    • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty - 543
    • Holy God, We Praise Your Name - 535 
    • I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry - 770 (WOV)

    During the service following the lessons or homily or during the lighting of the unity candle:

    • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - 315
    • O Perfect Love - 287
    • Hear Us Now, Our God and Father - 288
    • Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus - 487
    • Heavenly Father, Hear Our Prayer - 289
    • The King of Love My Shepherd Is - 456
    • When Love is Found - 749 (WOV)

    At the end of the service or for the recessional:

    • On What Has Now Been Sown - 261
    • Now Thank We All Our God - 534
    • Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven - 549
    • Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee - 551
    • Let All Things Now Living - 557
    • Earth and All Stars - 558
    • Shine, Jesus, Shine - 651 (WOV)

    For additional hymns please check the sections of the LBW for "Beginning of Service," "Marriage" and "Praise and Adoration."

    6. Suggested Scripture Readings------ [ TOP ] 

    Usually, two scripture lessons are read during the wedding service. You may choose to have more or less. The following is a list of scripture passages couples frequently ask to have read. It is not meant to be exhaustive, merely to stimulate your thinking.
     Old Testament Readings: General Theme 
    • Genesis 1:26-31 Male and female created by God
    • Genesis 2:18-24 God creates man and woman
    • Genesis 24:48-51,58-67 Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
    • Ruth 1:16-17 "Do not press me to leave you"
    • Song of Solomon 2:10-13 Love in the Spring
    • Song of Solomon 5:16 What my lover is like
    • Song of Solomon 8:7 Unquenchable love
    • Isaiah 61:10-11 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord
    • Isaiah 63:7-9 The steadfast love of God
    • Jeremiah 32:38-41 God's faithfulness
    • Jeremiah 33:11 The voice…of gladness
    • Psalms: 29, 33, 34, 63, 100, 117, 127, 128, 136, 150
    • Hosea 2:19-20 "And I will take you for my wife forever"

    New Testament Letters: 

    • Romans 12:1-2 A living offering
    • I Corinthians 7:1-7 Marital duties of husband & wife
    • I Corinthians 12:31-13:13 The song of God's love
    • Ephesians 5:21-33 Marriage and the church
    • Colossians 3:12-17 Live in love and thanksgiving
    • Philippians 2:5-11 Attitudes to build a marriage
    • I John 3:16; 4:7-19 Teaching on love

    The Gospels: 

    • Matthew 19:4-6 Faithfulness in marriage
    • John 2:1-10 The Wedding at Cana
    • John 15:9-12 Love one another
    • John 17:22-23 Christ's prayer for love and unity

    You may select a reading from each category if you choose. The order of worship indicates that at least one lesson should be read. In addition to readings from the Bible, a selection from a secular source may be used if it is in harmony with the spirit of a Christian Worship service and with the biblical understanding of marriage. Be especially careful with poetry. Many love poems are personal and private expressions not appropriate for public reading at a wedding.

    7. The Exchange of Promises------ [ TOP ] 

    You have the option to choose from several different vows. Please inform the pastor as to your choice at least a week before your wedding.

    1. I take you, ________________ to be my wife/husband, from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us. (Printed in Lutheran Book of Worship)

    2. I take you, ________________ to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world and God; through the best and worst of what is to come until death parts us.

    3. I take you, ________________ to be my wife/husband, I promise before God and these witnesses to be your faithful husband/wife, to share with you in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to forgive and strengthen you, and to join with you so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live. 

    4. _________________, I take you to be my wife/husband, from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of our life together to be loyal to you with my whole life and with all my being until death parts us.

    You may wish to write your own vows. They should be consistent with the biblical understanding of marriage and should make clear that the promises are a life-long commitment. The pastor must approve the wording you choose if it is not a form found in the Lutheran Book of Worship or this booklet, since it is the pastor who, as a representative of the Church, must certify that a marriage has taken place. If you write your own vows, be careful not to promise the impossible. The vows printed above may serve as a good outline for the writing of your own promises.

    8. Holy Communion------ [ TOP ] 

    As baptized Christians, you may request that your marriage be set in the context of the celebration of Holy Communion. Celebrating marriage in the context of Holy Communion enriches the meaning of marriage and our understanding of the sacrament. Marriage often involves a festive meal; Holy Communion always does. Marriage is a sign of intimacy and union and communion; so is Holy Communion. The Holy Communion abounds in festive marriage imagery in which Christ the bridegroom celebrates with his bride, the Church, the heavenly wedding banquet which knows no end. (from In Love and Faithfulness)

    Holy Communion is a sign of unity, and the Sacrament is not appropriate unless the congregation is invited to participate, for the body and blood of Christ belongs to the whole church.

    If you plan to have Holy Communion as a part of your wedding service, please indicate your intent as you talk with the pastor during your planning session.

    Additional Notes:------ [ TOP ] 

    1. Ushers------ [ TOP ] 

    A minimum of two ushers (more if more than 150 guests) are necessary in order to seat and dismiss worshipers. Ushers should be mature people, as the nature of their task requires confidence and decisiveness.

    2. Bulletins------ [ TOP ] 

    It is helpful, but not necessary, to have printed bulletins to inform members of the congregation of the order of worship and the names of participants in the worship service. You should discuss the use of the bulletin with the pastor. Purchase of bulletin covers and printing are the responsibility of the couple. The St. John's church office does not print wedding bulletins.

    Note: The bulletin is the best place to remind the worshipers that no flash pictures should be taken during the service.

    3. Photography------ [ TOP ] 

    We strongly suggest that formal pictures be taken before the service. There are several reasons for this.

    First, fees for the custodian are based on the assumption that weddings (without receptions held in the church) take no more than three and one half hours. This 3-1/2 hour block must include time for dressing, the wedding service (25-35 minutes) and the reception line following the service (20-30 minutes). Therefore it is important that pictures be done in an efficient manner and concluded at least 20 minutes before the wedding service is scheduled to begin.

    Secondly, you will be able to join your guests at the reception in a more timely fashion by having your pictures taken before the ceremony.

    Some may object to this practice because of the tradition of "not seeing the bride" before her march down the aisle. The origin of this tradition however, dates back to the 1800's and arranged marriages where the groom was not allowed to see the bride's face before the ceremony was completed to assure that he would not back out of the arrangement.

    Please inform your photographer that pictures will be taken before the ceremony and that the time needs to be limited to one hour and fifteen minutes.

    Video taping your ceremony is permissible, but must be done in an unobtrusive manner. The wedding coordinator will talk with your videographer about camera placement. For connection to the church sound system, please consult the Wedding Coordinator.

    No flash pictures may be taken during the wedding service. Please include the following notice in your wedding bulletin:

    Please refrain from using cameras with flash during the ceremony. Thank You.

    4. Alcoholic Beverages------ [ TOP ] 

    It is not uncommon for alcoholic beverages to be consumed at the occasion of a wedding. Should you choose to have your wedding at St. John's, we ask you to inform your friends and family that no alcohol may be consumed on the premises, in the parking lots or on the streets adjacent to St. John's. Ask your friends to take it easy with alcohol at your rehearsal dinner and to abstain completely prior to the rehearsal and wedding ceremony. While weddings are cause for celebration, they are also solemn occasions of worship, requiring a certain standard of behavior. Weddings at St. John's are a privilege, therefore, the pastors and wedding coordinator may dismiss any persons in the wedding party who appear intoxicated. The only beverage allowed in the sanctuary is water.

    5. No smoking is allowed inside the church building.------ [ TOP ] 

    6. No pets allowed in the wedding service.------ [ TOP ] 

    7. Throwing Rice or Bird Seed------ [ TOP ] 

    We ask that NO rice or birdseed be thrown on St. John’s premises. At one time rice was associated with fertility, thus throwing rice over a newly married couple was a symbol, which is no longer understood in our culture. When it was discovered that rice was fatal to the birds that cleaned up the sidewalks after weddings, people began to throw birdseed instead of rice – which of course loses the original symbolism completely. Now it has been noticed that birdseed is extremely slippery and a potential hazard to pedestrians using the sidewalks. Therefore we ask that this custom not take place on church premises. If you feel the need to be showered with something as you leave the church, we suggest bubbles (outside the building.)

    8. The Reception------ [ TOP ] 

    Arrangements for wedding receptions at the church must be made with the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA).

    See Wedding Information Sheet for names and phone numbers.

    9. Fees------ [ TOP ] 

    There are a variety of fees charged and appear on the Wedding Information Sheet that you received when you were given this booklet. Since many wedding dates are reserved over two years in advance the church reserves the right to change fees without notification. Note: Fees are based upon the couple's membership status at the time the wedding is scheduled.

    You are responsible for making separate checks payable to the Organist, other musicians and soloists, the wedding coordinator and the custodian, and to the WELCA if you hold a reception at the church. All checks must be brought to the church AT THE REHEARSAL. Since the organist, custodian and wedding coordinator have already made preparations and scheduled their time, your checks to these persons are not refundable should your wedding be canceled within seven (7) days of the scheduled date.

    10. Invitations to pastors for receptions and rehearsal dinners------ [ TOP ] 

    Many times it is impossible for the pastor to attend either your rehearsal dinner or your wedding reception if it is held away from the church. If you would like either the Pastor or the Pastor and his/her spouse to attend such events, please invite them well in advance (at the same time you send your other invitations is customary). This will give the pastor time to respond to your invitation and avoid surprises.

    11. Things to bring with you to the rehearsal------ [ TOP ] 

    [ ...] Rings [ ... ] License

    [ ... ] Bulletins [... ] Unity Candle and tapers

    [ ... ] Decorations [ ... ] Clothing you wish to have locked up over night

    [ ... ] Payment of all fees are to be made the night of the rehearsal. The list below is provided for your organizational purposes. The amount of the specific fee is listed on the “Wedding Information Sheet” and checks should be made payable to the specific person assisting with your wedding.

    [   ] Wedding Coordinator    [   ] Organist
    [   ] Custodian            [   ] Building Usage*
    [   ] Pew Candles*    [   ] Candelabras*
    [   ] Pastoral Fee

    *Checks for these items are payable to St. John’s Lutheran Church and may be combined into one check.

    ------- [ TOP ] 
    Marriage Service from the Lutheran Book of Worship


    1. The bride, groom, and wedding party stand in front of the minister. The parents may stand behind the couple.

    P The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

    C And also with you.

    A Let us pray.

     Eternal God, our creator and redeemer, as you gladdened the wedding at Cana in Galilee by the presence of you Son, so by his presence now bring your joy to this wedding. Look in favor upon _____________ and ______________ and grant that they, rejoicing in all your gifts, may at length celebrate with Christ the marriage feast which has no end.

    C Amen


    2. One or more lessons from the Bible may be read. An address may follow. A hymn may be sung.

    A The Lord God in his goodness created us male and female, and by the gift of marriage founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come.

    Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden.

    But because God, who established marriage, continues still to bless it with his abundant and ever-present support, we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored.

    P _______________ and _______________, if it is your intention to share with each other your joys and sorrows and all that the years will bring, with your promises bind yourselves to each other as husband and wife.


    3. The bride and groom face each other and join hands. Each, in turn, promises faithfulness to the other in these or similar words:

    I take you, ____________ , to be my wife/husband from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.

    4. The bride and groom exchange rings with these words:

    I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

    5. The bride and groom join hands, and the minister announces their marriage by saying:

    P ______________ and _______________, by their promises before God and in the presence of this congregation, have bound themselves to one another as husband and wife.

    C Blessed be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and forever.

    P Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

    C Amen


    6. The bride and groom kneel.

    P The Lord God, who created our first parents and established them in marriage, establish and sustain you, that you may find delight in each other and grow in holy love until your life's end.

    C Amen

    7. The parents may add their blessing with these or similar words; the wedding party may join them.

    May you dwell in God's presence forever; may true and constant love preserve you.

    8. The bride and groom stand.


    A Let us bless God for all the gifts in which we rejoice today.

    P Lord God, constant in mercy, great in faithfulness: With high praise we recall your acts of unfailing love for the human family, for the house of Israel, and for your people the Church.

    We bless you for the joy which your servants, ________________ and ________________, have found in each other, and pray that you give to us such a sense of your constant love that we may employ all our strength in a life of praise of you, whose work alone holds true and endures forever.

    C Amen

    A Let us pray for _______________ and _______________ in their life together.

     P Faithful Lord, source of love, pour down your grace upon _____________ and _____________, that they may fulfill the vows they have made this day and reflect your steadfast love in their life-long faithfulness to each other. As members with them of the body of Christ, use us to support their life together; and from your great store of strength give them power and patience, affection and understanding, courage, and love toward you, toward each other, and toward the world, that they may continue together in mutual growth according to your will in Jesus Christ our Lord.

    C Amen

    Other intercessions may be offered.

    A Let us pray for all families throughout the world.

    P Gracious Father, you bless the family and renew your people. Enrich husbands and wives, parents and children more and more with your grace, that, strengthening and supporting each other, they may serve those in need and be a sign of the fulfillment of your perfect kingdom, where, with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign, one God through all ages of ages.

    C Amen

    9. When Holy Communion is celebrated, the service continues with the Peace.

    10. When there is no Communion, the service continues with the Lord's Prayer.

    C [Lutheran Book of Worship lists two versions of the Lord's Prayer.]

    P Almighty God, Father, XSon, and Holy Spirit, keep you in his light and truth and love now and forever.

    C Amen


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