I’ve only done a few weddings, so I’m certainly no veteran. Â That said, I did get some great advice from some godly men and I’ve done a lot of studying over the years on the purpose of marriage. Â If it would help you in your own ministry, I’ve provided for you a general outline for the wedding ceremonies I’ve done. Â You’re welcome to utilize the whole thing, take the parts that you like, or forego the whole thing. Â For what it’s worth…
2)Â Opening Remarks
â€œDearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join [Groom First & Last Name] and [Bride First & Last Name] in holy matrimony, which has been created by God and is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore â€“ is not by any â€“ to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly â€“ but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together â€“ let them speak now or forever hold their peace.â€
3) The Giving in Marriage
“Great.Â Now then, who gives this woman to be wedded to this man?”
4) The â€œI Doâ€™sâ€
â€œYou guys ready?Â Yâ€™all doing okay?Â Then, please respond to the following by saying, â€˜I do.â€™â€
â€œ[Groom], do you take [Bride] to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, until death parts you?Â Do you?â€
â€œ[Bride], do you take [Groom] to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, until death parts you?Â Do you?â€
5) Explanation of Marriage
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to officiate your wedding.Â This really is a blessing to me.Â What I want to do for the next few moments is twofold: 1) I want to remind all of us, and particularly you two, about the infinite significance of marriage, and 2) I want to protect myself because I believe that God will hold me accountable for making sure, to the best of my ability, that you two understand the eternal weight of the commitments you are making today.
But before we get there, Iâ€™d like to pray for you guys.
[Groom] and [Bride], of all the stated purposes for which God created marriage, it may be well argued that none is more significant than the purpose listed in Ephesians 5.Â I am well aware that these verses are familiar to you, but do listen to them carefully because God will hold you accountable for obeying them.Â Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul wrote these words concerning marriage to the church at Ephesus:
â€œWives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.Â For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.Â Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.Â In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.Â He who loves his wife loves himself.For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.Â â€˜Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.â€™Â This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.Â However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.â€
The Role of Wives
[Bride], Paulâ€™s first comments are directed at you, and they are tremendous.Â He says that the way you relate to [Groom] is to be a living portrait of the way the church is to respond to Christ.Â How do you do that?Â The passage gives two primary ways: submission and respect.Â You are to submit to [Groom] in all things and you are to show respect to [Groom] in every way.Â But I want to qualify this statement a little bit, since the word â€œsubmissionâ€ has nearly achieved curse word status in our culture.Â First, the submission of wives does not mean that God likes men better than women.Â And submission in no way makes wives inferior to men.Â And both Paul and Peter make this very plain.Â Paul reminds the Colossians that gender doesnâ€™t affect oneâ€™s standing before God, and Peter refers to men and women as co-heirs of the â€œgrace of life.â€Â So gender and worth are not related.Â Secondly, letâ€™s be clear in saying that submission to [Groom] does not mean that you are to have none of your own thoughts, desires, or opinions.
But, God has given unique roles to be filled by both men and women.Â And [Bride], you, as the soon-to-be wife of [Groom], will be held accountable by God to humbly submit yourself to [Groomâ€™s] authority and decision-making, so far as they do not violate Scripture or your own conscience (Rom. 14).
So the question is, â€œWhatâ€™s the purpose of wives submitting to husbands?â€Â There are several answers to this question, but the most foundational purpose is that wives have been uniquely called to be the living portrait of how the people of God are to relate to the Lord.Â In other words, you have the privilege and responsibility of modeling for the world and for [Groom} the way Godâ€™s people are to submit to and honor Christ.Â And this is a beautiful, beautiful thing.Â And a very difficult thing.Â In 1 Peter 3, Peter discusses the submission of wives to husbands in the midst of a discussion on suffering.Â He tells the wife that she is to model her submission to her husband after Christâ€™s submission to His earthly authorities, who subjected Himself to gross injustice.Â Does that mean that submitting to husbands is miserable, joyless work?Â Absolutely not.Â And, in fact, it better not be!Â And, [Groom], weâ€™ll discuss that in a minute!Â But it does mean that your submission cannot be contingent on [Groom] being worthy of your submission.Â Even on, and perhaps especially on, the days when [Groom] is an insensitive, selfish jerk, the world needs to see in you a model of submission.Â So, your job is a very difficult, yet very beautiful one, and I am confident in the Lord and His abilities that you will bring Him glory in the way you fulfill your role.
The Role of Husbands
[Groom], God has also given you a unique role as the husband, and it is also tremendous.Â Your job is to reflect to the world and to [Bride] the way Christ loves His people. Â In other words, your love for your wife needs to look like the love that Christ has for His church.Â And this is why [Brideâ€™s] job of submission ought to be an absolute joy.Â In the same way that it is an absolute joy to submit to the Lord Jesus who loved His enemies to such a dramatic degree that He not only humbled Himself by becoming a human, but by becoming the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who paid for the sins of His people by the shedding of His own blood.Â His love was infinite in extent.Â And Ephesians 1 tells us that Christ was not haphazard in His dealing with the church; rather, He deliberately planned out His own death for the church before the world was ever created.Â It was calculated and deliberate.Â And, [Groom], your love for [Bride] should be extensive, calculated, and deliberate.Â When you said, â€œI do,â€ just a few moments ago, you essentially said to [Bride], â€œI am going to spend the rest of my life modeling my self-sacrificing for you after Christâ€™s self-sacrificing for His bride, the church.â€Â And in fulfilling this very difficult role, you will make [Brideâ€™s] very difficult role of submission a deeply joyful experience.Â And obviously, you cannot present [Bride] holy and blameless to God like the Ephesians 5 passage statesâ€”only Christ can do thatâ€”but your privilege and responsibility is to love and nourish and cherish [Bride] the way Christ loves, nourishes, and cherishes you.
And for you, too, we ask, â€œWhy?Â Why should you spend your life looking for ways to sacrifice yourself for the good of [Bride]?â€Â Because Christ designed the role of husbands to be living portraits of His relentless love for His bride, the church.Â [Groom], Godâ€™s purpose for you is to model Christ to the world and to [Bride] by deliberately, sacrificially, and purposefully loving [Bride] for her benefit, even on her not-so-good days.Â If Christ demonstrated His own love in that while we were still His enemies, He died for us, how much more patient and enduring and consistent should your love be for [Bride], with whom you will now be one flesh, on days when she seems difficult to love?Â That is a huge responsibility, [Husband], and I pray that you sense the infinite weight of your responsibility as a husband.Â I am confident in the Lord and His abilities that you, through absolute reliance on Him, will hear Him say, â€œWell done, good and faithful servant.â€
6) Wedding Vows
â€œ[Groom] & [Bride], in light of the biblical picture of marriage, are you ready to move forward?â€
â€œ[Groom] & [Bride] have written their own vows based on Scripture, and have asked their groomsmen and bridesmaids to read the corresponding passages.Â First, [Groomâ€™s] groomsmen will read the passages from which [Groom] based his vows.â€
a. [Groomâ€™s] Vows
(Ps 127:1, Eph 5:25-28, Rom 12:10-13, Ps 30:7-9, James 5:14-16, Matt 19:5-6)
[Bride], before God and family, Iâ€™m asking you to be my wife, as I leave the house of my dad and mom, in order for us to become one united in the Holy Spirit.Â I promise that the Lord will be the foundation of my love for you, so that the labor of love my will not be in vain.Â I aim to love you as Christ loves the church and to make daily sacrifices in devotion to you and to honor you above myself.Â Our faith will be nourished by my efforts to keep us in the Word and a bible community, so that I might always look upon you as holy and blameless.Â I promise to put away my childish ways, and be the man that will humbly lead us both to the path of God.Â If we are rich in anything, I promise to keep the Lordâ€™s name holy and above all of His provisions.Â If we are poor in anything, I promise to keep His name holy and trust that His provisions are good enough.Â I mean to be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer for healing, joyful in hope, and thankful for good health.Â It is my belief that this marriage is the will of God, that you are a blessing to me, and I will forsake all others, holding true to what God has joined together all of my days.
â€œAnd [Brideâ€™s] bridesmaids will now read the passages from which she wrote her vows.â€
b. [Brideâ€™s] Vows
(Romans 15:5, Philippians 4:12, Proverbs 3:3, Mark 10:42-45, John 13:34-35)
I, [Bride], take you , [Groom], to be the husband I have waited for.Â I pray that through encouragement for one another and endurance we may have a spirit of unity as we follow Christ.Â That from right now and throughout our lives together, whether brought low or abounding, facing plenty or hunger, abundance or need, my steadfast love and faithfulness will never leave you.Â I bind them around my neck and write them on the tablet of my heart.Â I am yours.Â And I pledge myself as your servant as we walk through this life together, always being a student of the love of Christ so that I can love you better each day.Â As I stand before family and friends today, I openly declare my love for you and bind myself to you until death should part us.Â Amen.
7) Exchange of Rings or Gifts
“[Groom] & [Bride] have chosen to use rings as symbols of the permanence of their commitments.Â So, if you will repeat after me: I, (name), give you, (name), this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.
8) Lighting of the Unity Candle.
â€œAt this time the bride and groom are going to light the unity candle.Â Please take this time to pray for them… Really.â€
9) Promise of Prayer, Support, Accountability & Encouragement from Those Gathered.
â€œNow, friends and family of [Groom] and [Bride], our role is one of prayer, support, accountability, and encouragement.Â And so if you will make that commitment to them, please say, â€˜We willâ€™ in response to the following question:
â€œWill you, friends and family, vow to pray for, support, encourage, and exhort [Groom] and [Bride] throughout the days of their marriage, so long as you know them?Â Will you?â€
â€œThank you.Â You may be seated.â€
10) Closing Remarks
â€œ[Groom] and [Bride], I am confident that you understand the weight of the vows you have made today and am confident that God, for His ultimate glory and your ultimate good, will sustain and bless your marriage so long as He remains the ultimate focus of it.â€
11) Declaration of Marriage
“So, as a servant of God, and by the power vested in me by the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife.Â And in accordance with the permanence of Christâ€™s love for His church, I remind you both of His own words regarding marriage: â€˜So you are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.â€™â€
â€œ[Groom], you may kiss your bride.â€
13) Introduction of Newlyweds
“It is my pleasure and privilege to present to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. [Groomâ€™s First & Last Name].â€
â€œOn behalf of the bride and groom, I would like to invite you to the reception, which will be held at [Reception Location]. Â If you need directions, you may find them [Place Directions May Be Found!]. Â And, as a last word, the bride and groom have also requested that you not wait to begin eating, but to dig right in!Â You are dismissed.â€