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Order of Service at a Religious Marriage Ceremony


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The order of service, of sequence of events, at a religious marriage ceremony is usually longer than a civil service.  The timing and sequence of events will depend on the house of worship you’ve decided upon for your wedding, but usually includes the following elements:

  • Opening words: the officiant welcomes the guests, introduces the couple and states the purpose of the gathering.
  • Opening prayer: the officiant sets the religious tone of the ceremony.
  • Charge to the couple: the bride and groom are reminded that they are taking a solemn vow before God and all the witnesses gathered before them.
  • Declaration of consent: the bride and groom confirm that they are entering freely into the marriage contract.
  • Presentation of the bride: the father (or a close relative) usually gives the bride to her husband-to-be.
  • Religious readings: readings will vary depending on the institution.  Check with your officiant for an endorsed list of readings.
  • Exchange of vows: the couple express the covenant between two people.
  • Blessing and ring presentation: the bride and groom exchange rings.  The officiant blesses the couple and the commitment they have made.
  • Declaration of marriage: the celebrant announces that the couple is officially married, and the bride and groom may kiss.
  • Wedding prayers: after the couple have exchanged vows, they ask for God’s blessing.
  • Signing of the register: the happy couple sign the register and the officiant presents the couple with the certificate that precedes their receipt of their formal marriage certificate.


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