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Order of Service at a Civil Marriage Ceremony
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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