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ELEMENTS OF A WEDDING CEREMONY
 

 

The following are the common parts found in most wedding ceremonies and basic examples of their customary words.

Depending on the tradition and experience of the officiant, all or most will be included or represented in some way.   Order, emphasis, and length of the parts has also historically been dictated by either religious doctrine or the party performing the services.

Although we find that all these segments are fine elements of a marriage ceremony, we also feel that the comfort and enjoyment of those entering into a union is paramount.  We will be happy to discuss what you wish included - and how you prefer each section to be worded.



 
 

~ Opening Prayer / Invocation / Meditation ~
Anything from the Lord's Prayer to "Good Afternoon; let us pray silently together" to a special poem or reading can be used.

~ Introduction ~
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..."

~ Presentation ~
Traditionally "Who gives this woman in marriage?"  Since this is slightly outdated, many officiants ask if the Bride is there of her own free will - and/or if someone is presenting or standing up for her.

~ Sermon / Sobering ~
Traditionally "marriage is an honorable estate and should not be entered into lightly, but soberly, advisedly..." etc.   Most ministers give a brief sermon on the essence of marriage, the meaning of love, the reason we're here today, etc. 
Click here for an example of our personalized, 'themed' sermons.

~ Objections ~
"If there is anyone present who has just cause why these two should not be united in matrimony, speak now...." etc.   Some may still want these words spoken.  However, we're not in the 18th century - and since the Bride has not secretly promised her love to another (at least, we hope not) - and her father has not arranged that she be married to some duke for political and financial gain (at least, we really hope not), these words are not essential.

~ Cautioning ~
Usually a short passage or poem cautioning the couple that marriage is a serious undertaking.  "A husband and wife should not confuse love with that of worldly measures..."  This wording is often viewed as outdated and stiff.   Many contemporary versions exist that have a similar essence and a softer tone.

~ Betrothal / Vows of Intent ~
Traditionally "will you take so-and-so to be your lawfully wedded..."

~ Reminder / Reading ~
Often Corinthians "Love is patient, love is kind..."   Many fine readings or poems that have special meaning can be used instead.

~ Main Vows ~
Traditionally the repeated vows: "good times bad times, sickness health..."
Please see our section titled Words of Grace for more about vows.

~ Ring Presentation / Blessing ~
"These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love..." or similar.

~ Ring Exchange / Ring Vows ~
"Do you give this ring as a token of your love/fidelity/commitment/etc. ?"
Please see our section titled Words of Grace for more about vows.

~ Additional Rites or Traditions ~
Rose Ceremony,  Gift Exchange,  Ceremonial/Communal Meal,  Handfasting,  Unity Candle,  Sand Ceremony,  Incense Charge, 
Other Family or Cultural Tradition

~ Charge ~
Usually a short passage instructing the couple to be nice to one another and live happily ever after - or sometimes a 'helpful hints' section.  There are entirely too many versions of this to count.   Although each officiant often puts a few 'ministerly' things of their own in, you've got alot to say about what we are going to tell you to do in your marriage.  :)

~ Pronouncement ~
Traditionally something along the lines of "You've made your vows and given your rings and now I, the official ceremonial person, say that you are hubby & wifey - and now you can make kissey-face".  There are a myriad of ways to word this section.

~ Benediction / Prayer ~
Some people request the Lord's Prayer here - but many others enjoy more contemporary or esoteric blessings.   When there is no specific preference, the minister often invites the guests to join in blessing the couple and giving thanks.

~ Proclamation ~
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great honor to present to you,
Mr. and Mrs. __________".    (if the bride is changing her name)
...at which point you dash wildly down the aisle...
If you are being officially presented at the reception, we suggest that this be worded differently... possibly "Friends, please congratulate the happy couple!"  and leave the more formal version for the reception.


~ Rehearsal ~
We have found it beneficial to do at least one run of the ceremony privately a few days before the wedding (preferably on location) to insure that everyone is comfortable with the flow, timing, wording, presentation, etc.
If you are having a formal rehearsal for the wedding party and would also like an officiant present, please let us know.

 

 

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