Sample Wedding Ceremony
“Brian was extremely professional and a pleasure to work with. Not only were we pleased with Brian’s flexibility of material to be used in the ceremony, he provided us with a number of readings that we could choose to include. We received a number a compliments from our guests about how much they loved the ceremony. I would recommended his services to anyone looking for an officiant!”
“Reverend Lyke was highly recommended by numerous vendors in the Carmel area and he did not disappoint. This was the most thoughtful, personal, and inclusive ceremony I have ever witnessed. Reverend Lyke clearly listened and understood what the bride and groom shared with him about who they are and what they wanted their wedding to be. If you care about your ceremony, you will be so glad you chose Reverend Lyke.”
“Brian was extremely professional and easy to work with when it came to our ceremony details. We told him what we wanted and he helped us build a personal and very memorable ceremony. He also got to know us on a personal level and put together some beautiful words at our ceremony that brought me to tears. Brian is the best of the best. Thank you Brian!”
This is an outline of a typical wedding ceremony. It contains elements which you may want to include in your ceremony. For me the important thing is that what is said and done is an accurate reflection of your values, beliefs, and intentions for your life together. You should be totally comfortable with every aspect of your ceremony, or it’s not your ceremony.
The minister, groom and his men (and sometimes women) are waiting as the bridal party comes to join them. I then ask the one escorting the bride:
Who presents _______to be married to ____________?
Not everyone wants this question asked. If this is your first marriage, and you want a traditional ceremony, this question is appropriate.
Words of Welcome
I begin by welcoming everyone and putting what is to follow in context. If the ceremony is interfaith (Christian – Jewish, for example) I am careful to make an opening statement that is inclusive of both traditions and acknowledges the One God from whom we all come. This welcome sets the tone for what follows.
If you have family or other loved ones who are not able to be present because of illness, distance or death, I am happy to welcome them among us in Spirit. Though absent in body, they are still part of the circle of love that surrounds you.
This is where I speak for a few moments about marriage and the deeper meaning it contains. I don’t say the same thing at every wedding and I strive to make the ceremony personal for each couple. Some themes are: the importance of friendship, love and commitment; marriage as a spiritual practice and means of growth; the relationship between keeping your own identity and individuality as you enter this most intimate of relationships, and so on. These remarks are addressed not only to you, but also as a reminder to those gathered with you.
Expressions From The Gathering
Some couples really like this because it is a way of involving those who have come to celebrate with them. I offer the opportunity to your guests to share some words from their heart about how they feel as they see you taking this step together. This takes the ceremony into a deeper place as your friends and family share their joy on this occasion. This element is rarely chosen for large ceremonies but works well at smaller ones.
If you choose to do this, it’s useful to let guests know in advance that this will be part of the ceremony so they can be prepared. I’m careful not to let this go on too long. I like doing this because I think the ceremony is enhanced by the participation of those who know and love you and have witnessed the development of your love for each other.
If there is a soloist or special music or a reading you’d like to include, this would be a good place to insert it.
Question Of Intent
This is the question, asked of you both, which signifies your intention to be married. The groom answers first. The question as I am currently phrasing it is:
________do you choose ________to be your wife (husband), companion and friend, and do you promise to love and respect her (him), and honor her (him) as your partner through all of the changing times of your life? If so, say, I do!
This question may be phrased in other ways as appropriate. This is just one example.
The Blessing of The Gathering
Do all of you give your blessing to this marriage? If so, make some happy sound!
I ask for the rings and speak briefly about their significance and what they represent. I give the groom the ring he will give the bride, and give her the ring she will give him.
The vows are the high point of the ceremony. Everything builds to this. Some couples choose to write their own vow which they may read or say from memory. Others want to say their own words trusting what’s in their heart at that moment and don’t want to read or memorize anything. (Brave souls!) Others may repeat a vow after me, like the traditional one below.
I, _______take you, ________to be my wedded (wife, husband), to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; in joy and in sorrow; to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. I give you this ring as a sign of my promise.
However you choose to do it, it’s the moment when you are asked to really be there with each other. Forget that there are people watching and look at your sweetheart and feel the love you have for each other, and out of that connection, say your vow. Even if no one can hear you, they will feel what you are communicating to each other.
Vows of The Gathering
This is where I invite those gathered with you to support you as you grow in your marriage.
Prayer of Blessing
I offer a prayer of blessing for you as a newly married couple. If a prayer is not appropriate for you, I’m happy to offer words of blessing not in the form of a prayer.
Declaration of Marriage
I announce that you are now husband and wife and invite you to embrace and kiss.
I present you as Mr. and Mrs. __________, or however you’d like to be introduced.
You walk out together, followed by the rest of the wedding party.
Other elements (unity candle, sand ceremony, special music, ritual of inclusion for children, etc.) may be inserted in the ceremony where appropriate. This is merely an outline of the flow of a typical ceremony. And for same sex couples appropriate changes in the wording will be made.
My experience is that many couples will spend a great deal of time finding the right place for their ceremony, selecting the food and wine for the reception, the dresses for the bridal party, the flowers, and the photographer to capture it all, and not really give that much thought to the ceremony itself. I think part of the reason for this is that many who are getting married today are not deeply grounded in any spiritual tradition and simply don’t know where to begin. I believe the ceremony, itself, is the centerpiece of the wedding and that couples would do well to interview a number of officiants to find one with whom they feel comfortable and compatible, and who can assist them in creating a ceremony that has meaning for them.
I also have a good list of photographers, and musicians with whom I have worked whom you might wish to call or interview as well as readings and vows that I’m happy to share. If any of what you have read here resonates with you, give me a call, or send me an email, and let’s arrange an initial consultation. There is no charge or obligation connected with such a meeting.
If you choose not to use my services, I wish for you much joy and happiness. Married life is a wonderful and challenging adventure; may you enjoy and learn from your journey together.
Considering A Church or Small Chapel Ceremony? Click here for details!
NOTE: This is raw footage (NOT a finished video) but will give you a taste of a typical ceremony.