Sacrament of Marriage
- The Sacrament of Marriage
This sacrament service should be sacred in nature. Secular readings and songs are not appropriate during the service, but could be shared during the wedding reception or another part of the celebration.
- Prelude and Seating of the Guests
The guests and family members are seated during the playing of the prelude, with the parents usually seated just prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The instrument used is often organ, piano, or a small string ensemble. Commonly chosen pieces include Pachelbel's "Canon in D" and J.S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
- Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is delivered by the officiating minister as a brief welcome and explanation to the congregation. It emphasizes that those gathered are now a specially assembled congregation, diverse in many ways, but united in their support of the bride and groom. Invite the congregation to participate as witnesses, and to realize that for the next few moments they are engaged in worship. Remind the congregation that all worship, including weddings, is God-centered.
- Processional: "Trumpet Voluntary" Jeremiah Clark
The wedding processional usually includes the bride and bridegroom, along with their attendants. If several people are involved, it is wise to rehearse the processional. Indeed, many couples now choose to have a rehearsal of the entire ceremony, often on the day before. Manuals on weddings will often contain sample processionals and ways to organize the wedding party.
- Minister's Welcome
The minister now has opportunity to welcome the wedding party and the congregation, and to make a statement about the nature and purpose of the sacrament and the couple's wish to make a covenant with God and one another.
- Prayer of Invocation
The opening prayer includes an invocation of God's spirit. It may contain statements of praise and thanksgiving. It should not be a prayer of blessing, which comes later in the ceremony.
- Reading of the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
The entirety of I Corinthians 13 is read. A contemporary language version of the text, such as the New Revised Standard Version, may be easier for the congregation to understand.
- Charge to the Bride and Bridegroom
The minister delivers a five to ten minute homily. It contains counsel to the couple, which could include the following:
• Serve as one another's advocates.
• Accept each other as a gift from God.
• Establish a Christian home of joy.
• Treat one another with mutual regard.
• Learn to speak honestly and openly with each other.
• Develop a spiritual life together.
• Recognize that marriage is a journey that is not always easy.
• Constantly seek a deeper meaning and relationship.
- Reading and Lighting of the Candles
If the couple chooses, the ceremony could include a special reading and/or lighting of candles placed in the front of the church. The reader(s) could be selected family or friends, and the candle lighting might also include the parents or other significant persons in the lives of the bride and groom.
- The Exchange of Vows and Rings
The exchange of vows in the Community of Christ should include Doctrine and Covenants 111:2b. This can be artistically placed at the end of other statements of vows. The vows made by the man are to be identical or very similar to those made by the woman, without gender distinction. They can be repeated in short phrases, first stated by the minister, or delivered directly by the bride and bridegroom. Some couples may choose to write their own vows. The rings can be exchanged at the conclusion of the vows or incorporated into the vows by using a statement like, "With this ring, I promise to……."
- Prayer of Blessing
The minister offers a pastoral prayer of blessing on the lives of the bride and groom. This blessing is a significant point in a religious wedding that does not and cannot occur in a civil marriage ceremony.
- Pronouncement and Presentation of the Couple
The minister officially declares the couple married by words such as, "By the authority given me as a minister within the Community of Christ and by the laws of this state, I pronounce you a married couple, husband and wife." The pronouncement may be followed by the couple exchanging a kiss. At this point, in the UK and Australia for example, legal documents may be signed in accordance with the law of the land. In many cases, it is traditional for the newly married couple to face the congregation as the minister ends with words such as, "Dear family and friends, it is with the greatest of pleasure that I present to you Samantha and Jonathon Jones." No attempt should be made to prevent the congregation from applauding at this juncture.
- Recessional: "Trumpet Tune" Purcell
The wedding recessional features a jubilant piece of music or congregational hymn. The bride and groom recess first, followed by the wedding party. Be sure the ushers have been instructed on the mechanics of dismissing the congregation.
Celebration of Love
“Brother James Air” M. Searle Wright
“Largo” Mark Thewes
“Canon in D” Johann Pachelbel
Seating of the Parents
“Adagio” Concerto in C for Violin by Joseph Haydn
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” Johann Sebastian Bach
Processional: “Trumpet Voluntary” Jeremiah Clarke Purcell
Welcome and Greeting
Prayer of Praise
“When Love Is Found” New Century Hymnal 362
OR “Holy Spirit, Bless Your Children” CCS 541
Scripture: I Corinthians 13:8
The Exchange of Vows
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 111:2b
Exchange of Rings
Ministry of Music
During this song, the bride and groom light the unity candle.
Prayer of Blessing
Introduction of the Bride and Groom
Recessional: “Allegro Vivace” George Frederic Handel
—arranged by Lani Smith from the “Water Music” Suite, Lorenz Publishing