Civil ceremonies and elopements are usually marriage ceremonies set pretty quickly or the couple comes to a destination to have a quiet wedding.

If you are seeking a quick but private, intimate and extremely personal occasion, that’s the “elopement” ceremony.  An elopement, for the most part, might have four people – the minister and the photographer along with the two of you. Occasionally there may be a handful of friends or relatives.

Some find picking out the ceremony and vows too overwhelming or just prefer that Rev. Ursula choose.  All ceremonies can be done with or without poems, hand ceremonies or other special insertion.


 

Civil Ceremonies and short Spiritual Weddings ceremonies:

H) 1) This ceremony includes a reading which you may keep as is, omit or choose another

Friends, this is a very special time for _______bride & Groom__________

Let us dedicate this prayer especially to________& ____________

May your love and deep respect for each other sustain throughout the years to come.  May your life together flow with peace and harmony. May your vows be fully realized and may you realize their own true nature together.  May you both promise to do what you think to be right; speak what you think to be the truth; help others in what is fair, accept your mistakes without excuses for them.

May you both accept full responsibility for your actions and reactions. May sincerity of this resolution give you both strength to fulfill your duties towards yourself and others. Amen.

___________bride & groom__________, true marriage is much more than the joining of two persons in the bonds of matrimony.  Rightly understood, marriage is the uniting of two souls already attuned to each other.  When such a basic and primal bond is realized in two people, it is proper that an outer acknowledgment be made.  Such acknowledgement is the prime purpose of this gathering and of this ceremony. (All of us are here)(I am here) to bear witness to your entry into the blessed relationship of husband and wife.

You are joining your lives in true love, _____________and _____________, and you know that, while love certainly includes the warmth and the glow , the excitement of being deeply “in love”, it is much more than that not feeling alone. Love is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your marriage partner as you care about your own welfare and happiness.

However love is not total absorption in each other.  Rather it is looking outward in the same direction  -together.  Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them.   Love makes joys more intense, because you share them.  You are agreeing to be a part of each other’s burdens.  Whatever you decide to accomplish together, _______&_________, please remember that God is with you, and your success is assured.

Reading:

Now, let us reflect on the meaning of these words from an excerpt of George Lamsa about marriage:  In marriage, let your wine mix and your sweet fragrance blend and voices sing in harmony.  And when the day is warm, let the petals of your souls open so the precious perfume of your flowers may fill the air.  For when autumn comes your flower will dry up, but your sweet fragrance will still be in the air, and the sound of trumpets of your hearts will gladden the hearts of those waiting for their round to drink from the Wine of God, and to walk on the path which your feet have trod.

Vows:  click here to choose vows

 Ring-ceremony:  click here to choose a ring ceremony

 Pronouncement  & Introduction as Mr. & Mrs._____________________


 

H-2)

Bride and Groom, this is a very sacred time for you both, so let us begin with a moment of prayer……….(not shown)

___________bride & groom__________, true marriage is much more than the joining of two persons in the bonds of matrimony.  Rightly understood, marriage is the uniting of two souls already attuned to each other.  When such a basic and primal bond is realized in two people, it is proper that an outer acknowledgment be made.  Such acknowledgement is the prime purpose of this gathering and of this ceremony. (All of us are here) I am here to bear witness to your entry into the blessed relationship of husband and wife.

You are joining your lives in true love, _____________and _____________, and you know that, while love certainly includes the warmth and the glow , the excitement of being deeply “in love”, it is much more than that feeling alone. Love is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your marriage partner as you care about your own welfare and happiness.

However love is not total absorption in each other.  Rather it is looking outward in the same direction-together.  Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them.   Love makes joys more intense, because you share them.  You are agreeing to be a part of each other’s burdens.  Whatever you decide to accomplish together, _______&_________, please remember that God is with you, and your success is assured.

Vows:  click here to choose vows

 Ring-ceremony:  click here to choose a ring ceremony

 

Now that you have given yourselves to each other by solemn vows and with the joining of the rings – we thank you God, for your presence here with us, and your blessing on this marriage.  Amen.

Introduction: Mr. & Mrs. ________________________

Congratulations you may kiss the bride.


 

H3) This ceremony includes the vows, ring ceremony and 2 Readings.  You may keep, omit or choose any other vows, ring ceremony or readings. 

We are gathered here today in the sight of God to join this man and this woman in the holy estate of matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God and therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly and advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.  Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined together.

Opening Prayer:

Let us pray:  Almighty everlasting God, whose presence is the happiness of every condition, and whose favor makes holy every relation, we call upon You to be present and favorable to these, Your servants, that they may truly be joined in the honorable estate of marriage.  As you have brought them together by Your providence, sanctify them by Your Spirit, giving them a new frame of heart fit for their new life together, and enrich them in all grace, to enjoy comforts, undergo the cares, endure the trials and perform the duties of life together under Your heavenly guidance and protection, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Groom, do you take this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together in holy estate of matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, and in forsaking all others, keep only unto her so long as you both shall live?

Bride, do you take this man to be your wedded husband , to live together in holy estate of matrimony, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health, and in forsaking all others, keep only unto her so long as you both shall live?

Reading 1:

And now abide in faith, hope and love, these three; but greater is love.  Love is always patient, love is always kind.  Love is not jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish.  Love does not take offense, and it is never resentful.  Love takes on no pleasure of sin, but delights in truth.  Love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.  Love does not end. (1 Corinthians 13)

Vows:

Will you join your right hands together and repeat these words after me:

I, Groom, take you, bride, to be my wedded wife.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

I, Bride, take you, Groom, to be my wedded husband.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

 Ring Ceremony:

The wedding ring is a beautiful symbol.  It has no beginning and no end and therefore is a symbol of love unending.

Bless O Lord, these rings, that they who hive them and they who wear them may abide in your peace and continue in Your favor unto their life’s end, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  As a token and seal of this covenant which you have made and as a symbol of your continual love devotion to God and to each other, will you place the ring on the third finger of the left hand and repeat these words after me:

Groom:  With this ring, I thee wed and to you – I will be true as long as we both shall live.

Bride: With this ring, I thee wed and to you – I will be true as long as we both shall live.

Reading 2:

What is Marriage?  By Helen Steiner Rice

 Marriage is a union – of two people in love, and love is sheer magic- for its woven of Gossamer dreams, enchantingly real, that people who love – are privileged to feel-

But the “exquisite ecstasy”- that captures the heart – of two people in love- is just a a small part of the beauty and wonder and MIRACLE of the growth, fulfillment and evolvement of love, for only long years of living together and sharing and caring – in all kind of weather both pleasure and pain, the glad and the sad, teardrops and laughter, the good and the bad, can add new dimensions and lift love above the rapturous ecstasies.

“Falling in love”- for ecstasy passes – is replaced by something much greater – that cannot be defaced, for what was “in part” – has now “become whole” – for on the “wings of flesh”, love entered the “soul”!

And now it is the duty of both to delight each in the life of the other.  To remember that they are to be ever one and undivided; to preserve this union faithfully and see to it what God has joined together, no man shall put asunder.

For as much as you, Groom and bride, have consented together in holy wedlock and have witnessed the same before God and have given and pledged your faith, each to the other,…by the authority vested in me by the State of Georgia and in the name of God, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Introduction as Mr. and Mrs. ______________________________

You may kiss your bride.


 

H-4) Civil Ceremony –

This ceremony  includes vows, ring ceremony and a reading.  It can be included as is or you can go to Vows, Ring Ceremonies or Readings to choose your own.  

Begin with Prayer:

Family and Friends, this is a very sacred time for bride and groom so let us begin it with a prayer.  I invite all of you to close your eyes and turn within to the Presence of God.

Loving Spirit, grant bride and Groom, that in giving and forgiving they may receive everlasting joy.  Bind them together with cords that cannot be broken.  Bind them together in love.  Grant that they may always take delight in each other, and that each will remain with the other’s heart and desire.

Heavenly Spirit, Everlasting God, have compassion on bride and groom as they speak their vows today and be with them in all their undertaking. We now realize that God’s richest blessings are being poured out on this couple, and we see them blessed with an abundance of all good.  We see your minds illumined by divine wisdom, and your hearts quickened by divine love.  And now let us affirm these things in an awareness that we are in the living loving indwelling presence of God.  Amen.

(At this point I could ask the parents of both the bride and groom)

Now who blesses this union of  bride and Groom?

(They all would answer together=” WE do!”)

Family and friends, we are gathered here today not to witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is.  We do not create this marriage, because we cannot.  We can, however, celebrate with Bride and Groom and their families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken place in their lives.

Today Name and Name proclaim their love and commitment publically and we gather here today with them  in the new life they now undertake together.

(Words to the Bride and Groom)

Name & Name, this wedding ceremony is designed to be able to handle the difficulties of life as well as to be the source of companionship and joy.  May this be true for you as you propose in your hearts to honor each other and to exercise patience and sacrifice for the good of another.

Vows: 

(Minister addresses Name) Name, do you before these witness take this woman, “Name” to be your lawful wedded wife; and do you promise that from this day forward you will be her faithful husband, for better or worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, to love her and cherish her, till death do you part?

Name:  I do.

(Minister addresses Name ):Name,  do you before these witness take this man, Name, to be your lawfully wedded husband; and do you promise that from this day fo rward you will be his faithful wife, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love him and to cherish him, till death do you part?

Name: “I do.”

Reading:

Now let us reflect on the meaning of these words – by  Kahlil Gibran:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together even when the white wings of death scatter your days.

And you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.


 

Any ceremony can be enhanced  and combined with any other Readings , Candle-, Flower (Rose)-,Greek Crown-, Hand-, Sand Vessel, Shell-or Water-, as well as Wine box letter ceremonies!

 

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

RING CEREMONY

We bless these rings, symbols of purity and of love, in the name of the one love, the Infinite love of God, of which all human love is a reflection.  We bless also Name and Name, who give and wear these rings, in the name of Divine Love. May these rings serve not as locks, binding you together, but as keys, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know, and thus bringing you closer in the infinite love that links you, spirit to spirit, and soul to soul.

Name, please place the ring on the third finger of Name’s left hand and repeat after me:

Name, with this ring . . . I thee wed . . .  and with it . . .  I bestow upon thee . . . all the treasures . . .  of my mind . . . of my heart . . . and of my Soul.

Name, please place the ring on the third finger of Name’s left hand and repeat after me:

Name, with this ring . . . I thee wed . . . and with it . . .  I bestow upon thee  . . . all the treasures . . . of my mind . . .  of my heart . . .  and of my Soul.

Name  and Name, under the authority vested in me by the state of Georgia and in the name of the Living God whose Presence blesses very true marriage, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure to introduce to you for the first time as husband and wife ,

Mr and Mrs. Name ,

Congratulations – you may kiss the bride!


 

H-5)  This ceremony includes the Vows, The Hand Ceremony, Ring Ceremony and Lighting of the Candles

Weddings are a happy occasion – a time when family and friends come together to share the joy and happiness of a man and a woman who have chosen to spend their lives together.

Weddings are also a time for celebration and today we celebrate the love that is shared between two very special people Bride and groom.

Now who gives Bride to be married to Groom?

We are gathered here in the presence of nature, before family and friends, to join Groom and Bride in matrimony.

The Hand Ceremony:

Bride and Groom, please face each other and take each other’s hands, so that you may see the gift that they are to you.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.

These are the hands that will work along side yours as together you build your future.  These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way.  These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.  These are the hands that will give support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.

These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.  These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

These are the hands that will lift your chin to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Vows:

Groom, do you accept Bride as your wife, to share your life openly with her and to honor and tenderly care for her, to cherish and encourage her fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of your lives?

Bride, do you accept Groom, as your husband, to share your life openly with him and to honor and tenderly care for him, to cherish and encourage his fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of your lives?

Groom, please repeat after me:

I, Groom take you Bride, as my friend and love…., beside me and apart from me…,in laughter and in tears…, in conflict and in serenity…, asking that you be no other than yourself…, loving what I know of you…, trusting what I do not yet know…, in all the ways that love might find us.

Bride, please repeat after me:

I, Bride, take you Groom, as my friend and love…., beside me and apart from me…,in laughter and in tears…, in conflict and in serenity…, asking that you be no other than yourself…, loving what I know of you…, trusting what I do not yet know…, in all the ways that love might find us.

Ring Ceremony:

Groom, as you place the ring on Bride’s hand repeat after me:

This ring I give to you…as a token of my love…and devotion to you.  I pledge to you all that I am…and all that I ever will be as your husband…with this ring , I gladly marry you…and join my life to yours.

 Bride, as you place the ring on Groom’s hand repeat after me:

This ring I give to you…as a token of my love…and devotion to you.  I pledge to you all that I am…and all that I ever will be as your wife…, with this ring, I gladly marry you…and join my life to yours.

 Special ceremony selection for Lighting of the Unity Candles:

(Mother or parents can be incorporated by lighting the candle for their child and handing it to them.)

Groom and Bride, you have given each other rings, symbols of the perfection, the beauty and the strength that you will discover within yourselves and within each other as you demonstrate the commitment you have made here today.

Now I ask that you turn toward the candles.(NOTE:) Lighting of Candles is good for indoors only!……


 

Pronouncement & Announcement

 

H6) Civil ceremony with Readings

Dear Family and friends, we gathered here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the drawing together of two separate lives. We have come so that this man, Johnny, and this woman, Rachel, may be joined in marriage. Two people in love do not live in isolation from the wider embraces of humanity. To achieve love is not to be absolved of social responsibility. So it is that the institution of marriage is ordained as a public recognition of the private experience of love, and as a sanctifying of both parties to its great purposes. At the same time it represents the desire of Johnny and Rachel to share their joy in each other with you, their family and their friends.

Minister to Father of the Rachel:

Who gives this woman to be wed?

(Father, kisses Bride & passes Rachel to Johnny ( shaking Johnny’s hand and is then seated)

Johnny and Rachel please face each other & join hands!

Minister to Rachel and Johnny:

Love is the most profound experience that can come to humankind. At its best it reduces our selfishness, deepens our personalities, and makes life far more meaningful. Its very nature is to want to give to another, and to feel joy in the joy of the other. Such love can call forth the best qualities in each of you.

Marriage is an estate that is to embody, nurture and protect all the warm and precious values that grow in human companionship and love. Marriage symbolizes the ultimate intimacy between two people. Therefore, it is not to be entered into lightly, but with certainty, with mutual respect, and with a sense of reverence which can include beauty, humor and joy.

A marriage that is to last will be continually growing. Yet the closeness which it assumes should not diminish but strengthen the individuality of each partner. The poet Rilke has written that, “Marriage is not a matter of creating a quick community of spirit by tearing down and destroying all boundaries, but rather a good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude . . . once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as whole and before an immense sky.”

Reading

Khalil Gibran, a renowned poet, echoed these words when he wrote:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Thus it is out of the resonance between individuality and union, that love, whose incredible strength is equal only to its incredible fragility, is born and reborn.

Today’s celebration of human affection is the outward sign of a sacred and inward commitment, which religious societies may consecrate and states may legalize, but which neither can create or annul. Such union can only be created by loving purpose, be maintained by abiding will, and be renewed by human feelings and intentions. It is in this spirit that these two come now to be wed.

Declaration of Intention:

Minister to Johnny: Johnny do you take Rachel, as your wife, promising to tenderly care for her, to respect her individuality, to cherish her as she is, to love her with fidelity? (I do.)

Minister to Rachel: Rachel do you take Johnny, to be your husband, promising to tenderly care for him, to respect his individuality, to cherish him as he is, to love him with fidelity? (I do.)

Vows:

The vows through which you accept each other as husband and wife contain no hidden power within themselves. It is to the extent that they express in words your intention and commitment that they have meaning. In a world where pressures pushing people apart sometimes seem stronger than those drawing people together, your commitment to each other will need to be creatively re-expressed in the coming days and years. The expression in today’s vows is an important and visible milestone in your journey together.

Johnny Please repeat after me (minister):

I, Johnny, take you, Rachel, to be my wife from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being.

Rachel please repeat after me (minister):

I, Rachel, take you, Johnny, to be my husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond; and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being.

Ring Ceremony:

Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round they are, like the sun, like the eye, like the arms that embrace. Circles they are, for love that is given comes back round again. Johnny and Rachel, may these rings remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like the arms which embrace, is a grace upon this world.

Johnny, please repeat after me and place the ring on Rachel’s left hand:

As I give you this ring, I give you my love.

Rachel, please repeat after me and place the ring on Johnny’s left hand:

As I give you this ring, I give you my love.

Wedding Prayer:

O God, give your blessings now to what we have done here. Make this moment fruitful to Johnny and Rachel through an added devotion to one another, through new inner strength, and through a new sense of the sacredness of all life. We do not ask that they be kept from sorrow and trial, but that they may learn from these and be stronger because of them. We do not ask that all life be easy and profitable to them, but that they find life good and worth celebrating. May all their tasks in life, including the task of being human, be easier because they approach those tasks together.  Make them each quick to forgive, quick to laugh, quick to enjoy. Let each so value the personality of the other that he may not wish to alter it into some other course. And let them, in the measure of time that is theirs together, find much joy in small things. Amen.

Pronouncement:

Forasmuch as you Johnny and you Rachel have consented together in wedlock, and have pledged yourselves each to the other in the presence of God and the presence of this company, I do now pronounce you husband and wife. Let all others honor their decision and the threshold of their house.

Closing Prayer:

May all blessings attend you, May joy pervade your lives together, May your home be forever a place of peace and true fulfillment. Thank you God, for your Blessing on this marriage. Amen