Getting married soon? Don’t rush it!
A proper wedding ceremony is important as this is the time to allow the couple’s family members and friends to witness and celebrate their union with them. For Christians, it’s important to allow God to witness and bless the marriage, as well. This is especially true in a world where the divorce rate is almost 50%.
If you’re planning to hold a Christian wedding ceremony but unsure how to, here’s a guide that will help you learn the right order. Read on to find out how the usual ceremony goes.
The Christian marriage ceremony starts with the prelude, following wedding preparations and picture-taking. Music begins to play for about 5 minutes to 15 minutes before people start to walk down the aisle. Guests should now be at their seats, waiting for the wedding party.
The wedding party will now start walking to their proper places, starting with the officiant. If the bride and groom choose to include their grandparents at the wedding party, they’ll walk first, followed by the groom’s parents and then the bride’s mother. An usher, a family member, or a close friend can escort the mother in place of the father.
The groomsmen will then follow with the Best Man being the last to take his position at the right side of the altar. The groom can then walk down the aisle, but he can make a subtle entrance to his position, as well.
The bridesmaids and Maid of Honor will follow the groom’s party, walking to the left side of the altar. The flower girl and ring bearer will then make an entrance at this point.
The last to enter will be the bride, accompanied by the father, who will “give her away” to the groom.
This is the usual order, but there might be some changes based on the preference of the bride and groom. They can add people to the party, for instance. They can also pair up bridesmaids and groomsmen if they are equal in number.
3. Minister’s Opening Remarks, Prayers, and Presentation
In this part, the officiant will address the guests and talk about the reason for the gathering. He/she will also do a wedding invocation, in which they call for God’s presence to bless the Christian wedding service. At this point, the officiant and the guests will join the couple for a prayer.
The minister will then present the groom first and teach him about the role and the duties of a husband. They will do the same to the bride. They will offer passages from the Bible relevant to being a husband, being a wife, and marriage.
4. Groom and Bride Exchanges
In this part, the bride and groom will exchange vows. The officiant may lead them to speak the traditional Christian wedding vows, which include the classic “for better or for worse” lines.
The couple may also choose to recite the vows they wrote themselves. Either way, the groom will say his vows first before the bride does.
They will then exchange rings, given by the ring bearer or held onto by the Best Man and Maid of Honor. The bride shouldn’t have her engagement ring by then, transferred to the right hand or given to the Maid of Honor.
5. Pronouncement of Marriage
The officiant will make the wedding official, pronouncing that the two are now one. This is where you’ll hear the traditional words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
6. The Lighting of the Unity Candle
The lighting of the unity candle symbolizes the union of two people, two hearts, and two lives. In this part, both the groom and bride will go to the unity candle. This is usually a large candle at the center of the candle station.
They will go there with smaller candles, already lit by the Best Man. Together, they will light the unity candle followed by a silent prayer. Music usually plays during the whole process.
If the bride and groom choose to give gifts to their mothers, this is the time to do so. The gift of choice is usually a flower, like a rose. The bride presents it to the mother of the groom and the groom presents it to the mother of the bride.
7. Closing Prayer and Benediction
This part closes the ceremony, with the officiant making some closing comments and reminders to the bride and groom. They bless the marriage, the couple, and all those who’ve gathered with them.
8. Introduction of the New Husband and Wife
The officiant will then introduce the new husband and wife (as Mr. and Mrs.) to the guests. This is also the part where the minister will prompt the husband to kiss the wife.
They will usually say, “you may now kiss the bride,” followed by the actual act. The guests usually clap and cheer for the couple during this time.
Music will start to play, and the bride and groom will begin to exit the church. The wedding party will follow, and then the audience will start to leave, as well. Usually, music is playing while everyone gets up and leaves to follow the bride and groom.
Some couples already have their entourage and guests waiting for them at the exit. This is where they can do another tradition; they throw rice, for example, as the couple exits the venue, signifying abundance, fertility, and good fortune.
Do note, however, some venues don’t allow guests to throw rice as it can harm wildlife. They may not allow things like rose petals, as well, so some people opt for bubbles.
Having a Beautiful Christian Wedding
What’s beautiful about a Christian wedding ceremony is that you allow God to witness your first steps as husband and wife. You allow God to be the center of your marriage, witnessed by all your family and friends.
However, it is not only in a Christian wedding ceremony that you’ll need God’s presence. Don’t hesitate to check out our other guides here to help you stay one step ahead. Develop some habits that will make your spiritual life more meaningful, right here!