Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA)/Pastoral Offices/An Order for Marriage

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An Order for Marriage

If it is desired to celebrate a marriage otherwise than as provided on page 423 of this Book, this Order is used.

Normally, the celebrant is a priest or bishop. Where permitted by civil law, and when no priest or bishop is available, a deacon may function as celebrant, but does not pronounce a nuptial blessing.

The laws of the State and the canons of this Church having been complied with, the man and the woman, together with their witnesses, families, and friends assemble in the church or in some other convenient place.

1.  The teaching of the Church concerning Holy Matrimony, as it is declared in the formularies and canons of this Church, is briefly stated.

2.  The intention of the man and the woman to enter the state of matrimony, and their free consent, is publicly ascertained.

3.  One or more Readings, one of which is always from Holy Scripture, may precede the exchange of vows. If there is to be a Communion, a Reading from the Gospel is always included.

4.  The vows of the man and woman are exchanged, using the following form

In the Name of God, I, N., take you, N., to be my (wife) (husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

or this

I, N., take thee N., to 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, to love and to cherish, till death  us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I (plight) (give) thee my troth.

5.  The Celebrant declares the union of the man and woman as husband and wife, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

6.  Prayers are offered for the husband and wife, for their life together, for the Christian community, and for the world.

7.  A priest or bishop pronounces a solemn blessing upon the couple.

8.  If there is no Communion, the service concludes with the Peace, the husband and wife first greeting each other. The Peace may be exchanged throughout the assembly.

9.  If there is to be a Communion, the service continues with the Peace and the Offertory. The Holy Eucharist may be celebrated either according to Rite One or Rite Two in this Book, or according to the Order on page 401.

Additional Directions

If Banns are to be published, the following form is used

I publish the Banns of Marriage between N. N. of___________ and N. N. of____________. If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the first (or second, or third) time of asking.

The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage may be used with any authorized liturgy for the Holy Eucharist. This service then replaces the Ministry of the Word, and the Eucharist begins with the Offertory.

After the Declaration of Consent, if there is to be a giving in marriage, or presentation, the Celebrant asks,

Who gives (presents) this woman to be married to this man?

or the following

Who presents this woman and this man to be married to each other?

To either question, the appropriate answer is, “I do.” If more than one person responds, they do so together.

For the Ministry of the Word it is fitting that the man and woman to be married remain where they may conveniently hear the reading of Scripture. They may approach the Altar, either for the exchange of vows, or for the Blessing of the Marriage.

It is appropriate that all remain standing until the conclusion of the Collect.  Seating may be provided for the wedding party, so that all may be seated for the Lessons and the homily.

The Apostles’ Creed may be recited after the Lessons, or after the homily, if there is one.

When desired, some other suitable symbol of the vows may be used in place of the ring.

At the Offertory, it is desirable that the bread and wine be presented to the ministers by the newly married persons.  They may then remain before the Lord’s Table and receive Holy Communion before other members of the congregation.