A Beautiful Ceremony













"Thank you so much for coming to our rescue and being a most important part of our special day! We are so happy that we able to have a religious ceremony, and your ceremony was absolutely beautiful."

Lisa & James McElravy


Ceremony for Holy Matrimony

PROCESSION mothers, groomsmen, bridesmaids, Father & bride.

INTRODUCTION
Dearly Beloved, we have gathered here in the sight of God and of this congregation to witness the joining together of Leslie Jeanette Wright and Clifford Earl Stokes. Marriage is an honorable estate instituted by God in the time of man's innocence and signifies the union of Christ with his Church. The Lord Jesus honored a marriage at Cana in Galilee with his presence and there performed his first miracle.

For a Wedding day to mature into a lifelong marriage, God must be present here today, as the third partner in wedlock. For God bids that man and wife love each other as Christ loved the Church. This is love that gives its all, even life itself.

The Bible teaches that marriage is to be respected by all. It must not be entered into lightly, but with prayer, careful thought, and reverence for God, duly considering the purpose for which marriage was ordained.

Marriage was established for the mutual companionship, help and comfort that husband and wife should provide for one another both in prosperity and adversity. It is into this holy estate that Leslie and Cliff come now to be joined.

GIVING AWAY THE BRIDE
Who gives this woman to be married to this man: Her Mother and I.

DECLARING INTENT OF WEDLOCK

Cliff, do you take Leslie as your wife to live together as God has ordained? Will you love her, comfort her honor and protect her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live.

I do.

Leslie, do you take Cliff as your husband to live together as God has ordained? Will you love him, comfort him honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live.

I do.

This promise is for family and friends who are gathered here to witness these holy vows:
Do you pledge to uphold the lifelong marriage of Leslie and Cliff? Will you uphold this sacred union with love, prayer, community, moral and physical support.

And, as you all so pledge before God, will everyone respond, we do. We Do.

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING Ruth 1
"Entreat me not to leave you or to turn back from you.
Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die, there I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely,
if anything but death separates me from you."

VOWS OF HOLY MATRIMONY
I Cliff take you Leslie to be my lawfully wedded wife

I Leslie take you Cliff to be my lawfully wedded husband
to have and to hold from this day forward
as long as we both shall live
for better for worse
for richer for poorer
in sickness and in health
to love and to cherish till death do us part
according to God's holy law this is my solemn vow.

BLESSING & EXCHANGE OF RINGS
The wedding ring is a symbol of marriage in at least three ways.
Its PURITY symbolizes the purity of your love for one another.
Its VALUE symbolizes the cost and preciousness needed for a marriage to succeed.
The UNBROKEN CIRCLE is a token of the vows you are taking today which cannot be broken.

I give you this ring
as a sign of our marriage
all that I am I give to you
and all that I have I share with you
with this ring, I thee wed
and pledge my faithful love to you
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Holy Lord, Heavenly Father, send your blessing upon Cliff and Leslie so that, living faithfully together in love and peace, they may fulfill and keep the vow and covenant which they have made, of which these rings are a symbolic pledge, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING I Corinthians 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, nor does not boast, for it is not proud.
Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, nor is it easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

UNITY CANDLE (or SAND CEREMONY) optional
Just as God ordained from the beginning of time, a Man shall leave his Father and Mother and cleave unto his wife. Adam said to Eve, "you shall be bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." So now the lighting of the Unity Candle (or blending of sands) represents two individuals becoming one flesh and two families becoming one family. Just as two flames unite (or the grains mix together) and join as one so shall Cliff and Leslie's lives unite.

BLESSING OF COUPLE
Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of grace look with favor upon this man and this woman whom you make one flesh in holy matrimony.

Give them the wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their everyday life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in confusion, a comforter in sorrow, and a companion in joy.

Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life.

Give them grace when they hurt one another, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each others forgiveness and yours O Lord.

Make their life together a sign of Christ's perfect love in this imperfect world that unity may overcome division, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.

Give them such fulfillment in their mutual affection that they reach out in love and concern for others.

Grant that all married couples who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed

Bless them and keep them in your perfect love through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

PROCLAMATION & PRESENTATION
Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.
Leslie and Cliff have consented together in marriage and this holy covenant (or sacrament) has been affirmed by God and witnessed by this congregation.

They have made their vows to one another and have declared their marriage by the giving and receiving of rings and by the joining of hands.

By the authority vested in me by God Almighty I now pronounce them husband and wife. Amen.

You may kiss the Bride….

It is my Great pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Stokes.





© 2014 Rev. Dr. David Cole