The marriage service

Beginning the service

WeddingTraditionally, the bride and groom enter the church separately – the groom first with the best man, and the bride at the time set for the start of the service, on the arm of her father or another relative or friend, (it does not need to be a man). However, the bride may enter alone if she so wishes, or the couple may enter together.
The minister will welcome the congregation. Your family and friends have an important role to play as witnesses and supporters of your marriage.
The minister will read an introduction explaining what Christians believe about marriage. The minister will also as, as law requires, if anyone knows any reason why the marriage should not lawfully take place.


Click here for a short selection of popular hymns for wedding services.


You will be asked to promise before God, your friends and your families, that you will love, comfort, honour and protect your partner and faithful to them as long as you both shall live.
The minister will also ask the congregation to declare that they will support and uphold your marriage.


Turning to each other, the bride and groom take each other’s right hand, and make the follow vows:

“To have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
in love and to cherish,
till death us do part.”


The couple then exchange a ring or rings as a ‘sign of their marriage,’ and as a reminder of the vows:

“With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”


The minister will then declare that you are husband and wife. The minister does not ‘marry you; you marry each other. The minister just directs you in this, and then tells everyone that you have done it properly.


In the prayers, God’s blessing and help is asked for you both. There may be a prayer for the gift of children, but every couple will have their own feelings about this, so it’s best to discuss the details with your minister.

You may wish to help choose the prayers and/or to write you own. Again, discuss it with your minister. Down the [Download not found] for a sample copy of the marriage service, which contains the standard prayers.

Readings and talk or sermon

It is usual to have one or more readings (one of which should be from the Bible), and the minister will generally give a talk or short sermon.

Click here for a short selection of popular Bible passages suitable for wedding services.

Signing the register

After you have exchanged your vows, the bride, groom and two witnesses must sign the register. This is a legal requirement, and the minister will give you a copy of the marriage certificate.