The following are standard elements and language for use in officiating weddings. I’ve compiled the following from a variety of traditional protestant Wedding services. Feel free to take or adapt any of the following for your own use.
Giving of the Bride
Officiant: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
Father: “Her mother and I.”
Call to Worship
Our Lord Jesus said: “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8).
Let us worship God as we now witness the marriage of (Groom) and (Bride – full names). May God be glorified this day in the lives of this couple and in the years to come.
Preface & Charge
Dear friends, we are gathered together in the sight of God and before this people to witness the joining together of (Groom) and (Bride – full names) in marriage. Marriage was instituted in the beginning by God himself, who created us male and female for each other, signifying to us the spiritual union that is between Christ and his Church. In his earthly ministry, Jesus blessed marriage with his presence and power at the wedding in Cana. By his death, he gave the supreme example of love for husbands and wives to emulate. Marriage is regulated by God’s commands. And Holy Scripture demands that it be held in honor by all.
Marriage, therefore, is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but prayerfully, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the purposes for which it was ordained. It was ordained that children might be raised in the nurture and instruction of the Lord, to the praise of his holy name. It was ordained so that those who have been given God’s gift of marriage might live chaste and holy lives, as befits members of Christ’s body. And it was ordained for the mutual delight, companionship, and support that husband and wife ought to have in one another, whether in prosperity or adversity.
Into this holy manner of life, (Groom) and (Bride – first names) come now to be joined.
Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Most gracious God, fountain of life, love, and joy, look with merciful favor upon your servants who are now to be joined in marriage. Enable them always to remember and keep the vows which they are about to make as they enter into covenant with one another and with you, in accordance with your Holy Word.
Ever-blessed God, whose presence is the happiness of every condition, be present with (Groom) and (Bride). As you have brought them together by your providence, sanctify them by your Spirit; give them a new frame of heart fit for their new estate; give them the grace to enjoy the comforts, undergo the cares, endure the trials, and perform the duties of life together as is fitting for Christians under your heavenly guidance and protection.
We pray all these things because of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Declaration of Consent
At this time, (Groom) and (Bride), please turn and face each other (hold hands) for your declaration of consent.
Marriage consists of your mutual consent, sincerely and freely, which you now solemnly declare before God, these witnesses, and each other.
(Groom), will you have (Bride) to be your wife, to live with her according to God’s ordinance in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor her, and keep her in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer; and, forsaking all others, will you be faithful to her as long as you both shall live? Then say: I will.
Groom: I Will
(Bride), will you have (Groom) to be your husband, to live with her according to God’s ordinance in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor him, and keep him in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer; and, forsaking all others, will you be faithful to him as long as you both shall live? Then say: I will.
Bride: I Will
Exchange of Vows
Let us now witness your vows to one another.
(Groom), please repeat after me:
“I, (Groom), / in the presence of God and these witnesses, / take you, (Bridge), / to be my wedded wife, / to have and to hold / from this day forward, / for better, for worse, / for richer, for poorer, / in sickness and in health, / to love and to cherish, / ‘til death do us part, / and I pledge to you my faithfulness.”
(Bride), please repeat after me:
“I, (Bride), / in the presence of God and these witnesses, / take you, (Bridge), / to be my wedded wife, / to have and to hold / from this day forward, / for better, for worse, / for richer, for poorer, / in sickness and in health, / to love and to cherish, / ‘til death do us part, / and I pledge to you my faithfulness.”
Giving of Rings
(Groom), what symbol do you give as a pledge of your love and faithfulness? Groom: A ring.
Please, repeat after me: “(Bride), receive this ring / as a token of my promised love and faithfulness to you.”
(Bride), what symbol do you give as a pledge of your love and faithfulness? Bride: A ring.
Please, repeat after me: “(Groom), receive this ring / as a token of my promised love and faithfulness to you.”
Let us pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, our heavenly Father, having joined (Groom) and (Bride) in marriage, grant your grace that they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant made between them.
We praise you that you have consecrated marriage for such an excellent purpose, that in it is signified the spiritual union between Christ and his Church. Look mercifully on these your servants, therefore, that (Groom) may love (Bride), according to your word, as Christ loved his bride the Church, and gave himself for it, cherishing it as himself; and also that (Bride) may be loving, amiable, responsive, and faithful to (Groom).
Strengthen them in faithfulness and love toward each other. Sustain and defend them in all trial and temptation. Help them to live in faith toward you in the communion of your holy Church, and in loving service to one another.
Grant your blessing, O Lord, to these your servants, that they may be ever mindful of their solemn pledge and, trusting in your mercy, abound evermore in love through all their days.
We pray all these things because of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Num 6:24-26)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor 3:14)
Pronouncement & Kiss
By their promises, (Groom) and (Bride) have bound themselves together in marriage before God and these witnesses. In accordance with the laws of God and this state, I, therefore, pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no one separate.
(Groom), you may kiss your bride!
Introduction of Couple
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. (groom’s full name)!
Sample Wedding Service
- Giving of the bride
- Call to worship
- Preface and charge
- Opening prayer
- Scripture readings
- Homily (brief sermon)
- Declaration of consent
- Exchange of vows
- Giving of rings
- Closing prayer
- Introduction of couple
- Closing announcements