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David & Emma Wedding Ceremony Outline




The officiant, groomsmen, and the groom walk down to the altar and wait for a bit.


Bridesmaids to the altar, taking their sides.


Emma's father walks her to the altar and stands next to her.


    Thank you all for joining us today. If everyone could please take a moment and silence your cell phones as you take your seats and we can hopefully be out of here before the roads freeze over. We also request that you refrain from taking any photographs during the ceremony.


Opening & Welcome  


       Family and friends, we have been invited here today to share this moment with David and Emma and to be witnesses and supporters of the commitment they share with one another. Together we’re a group of the most important people in their lives and they’ve brought us here to publicly recognize that we’ve all played some special part in the love they share today.  In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other have grown and matured, and now they have chosen to live their lives together as husband and wife.


      Should there be anyone who has cause why this couple should not be united in marriage, please speak now, or forever hold your peace.


(Optional prayer)


Honor the Departed

     Before we begin today Emma and David would like to recognize all of those who couldn’t join us here today, as they are certainly missed but not forgotten on this day of celebration — especially Emma’s grandmother, Marian Williams. We feel her presence with us today, and take joy in the knowledge that she would be thrilled to see Emma marry David with so much love and support from their families and friends.


Giving Away the Bride.


      Speaking of important people, there is no one more important that influenced the lives of Emma and David than their parents. That being said, who gives Emma away in marriage to this man?


Father: Her Mother and I do.


(Optional reading of scripture or poem)


*At this point the Father lets go of Bride’s arm, hugs and kisses her and gives her hand to Groom and sits down. The bride then hands her flowers to her maid of honor and the Groom and Bride then stand there holding hands facing one another. They can be holding hands at this point or standing side-by-side facing the minister.


Message from the Officiant.


       Two people growing together as one is never easy and requires trust, respect, and patience. I want to encourage you both to not “just be yourself” because that’s not how we grow. I think we hear that too often, “just be yourself”. But that implies there is no room for growth or improvement. But that’s not what happens when two people come together as you both are doing today. Today, you are both taking steps to grow closer to each other.


       And we grow by changing and improving and working on making ourselves better. And you will help each other grow by not “just being yourself”, but by trying to be what the other person sees in you and by being the person you think the other deserves. By striving to be better for yourself, but also to be able to offer more than you are now to each other in the years to come. And it may take years and that's okay because there is no time limit.


       Trying to make one thing out of two things will have certain elements of give and take. There is an expectation that you each will accept the other as you are now. You are both “as is”. You have each already taken the time to get to know one another and have decided that this person standing before you is the one you are willing to give pieces of yourself up for, to make room for them in your life. There should also be an expectation that you will both grow and change, as individuals and by becoming more alike.


       This happens by encouraging each other to grow in the areas you want to grow, and by accepting one another's weakness. Yes, you will learn to lean on and rely on each other's strengths, but that’s the easy part. The hard part is acknowledging your weaknesses and asking for help. We can never fix someone and we shouldn't try, that’s not the point. The point is to match, to fit, to line up, and to balance out. This process isn’t easy and often times is messy and it takes time.


       It can also be a lot of fun. To have someone you can always open up to, to share things you never have before. But this requires trust… to be vulnerable… to be real with yourself and with each other. To show them the good parts and the bad. Trust happens by you two knowingly… intentionally… accepting one another as you are now, and as you learn more about one another.


       It takes respect by treating each other as equals and being considerate of each other's strengths and weaknesses. And by giving the other person time to work on their weaknesses which will take patience while this thing you two make together gets stronger. This can be hard to do when you can see the potential in someone. But they need to take the steps to get there the way they need to.


       You will see the other person more and more as a part of yourself and it can be very easy to take even your own heart for granted. It’s consistent presence and work is something that doesn’t require thought on your part, but taking care of your heart does.  This is another one of those hard parts. Remembering that this person, who will feel more and more like they are apart of you, is a whole other person with hopes, dreams, and desires. And by intentionally respecting them for who they are as an individual, will help you grow together even stronger.


       Respecting someone to give them the time they need to grow into whom they want to be will take time. It can take time to figure out who you want to be, which parts of yourself you want to change. You first have to be comfortable with who you are as a person before can start changing what you need to. It’s easy to listen to someone say, “just be yourself” because it does not require any work. And while the work you two are going to have to do is hard, it is worth it, and you won’t be alone.


       It’s easy to be patient with yourself. To give yourself the time you think you need. It’s much harder to be patient with someone else, even with someone you love. Maybe especially with someone you love. But if trust requires respect to put down roots, then respect requires patience to bear fruit. And the fruit of all this growth and hard work and having to not “just be yourself”, is the joy of companionship with this whole other person that has chosen you to spend their lives with.


       And the good news is you have time to figure it out. There is no blueprint or timeline. This will be a journey, an adventure, that many have taken before, but yours will be unique in many small ways that you will both explore together in sorrow and in joy; with growing pains and comfortable silence.  


       With all this internal growth, and internal changes, and things like; trust, and respect, and patience, and things we can’t see or hear or touch, it is helpful to have something to represent all of these things and so much more. Something we will always have with us to show ourselves and others that we have made a commitment to someone.  That we no longer belong to ourselves.


Wedding vows & Exchange of rings.


Wedding rings are a symbol of that commitment and love. The rings are circular, like their love, with no beginning and no end, and also so they fit on our fingers.  


May I have the rings, please? (Best man hands me the rings. I will place each other's rings in your hands) David and Emma, please take these rings and place them on the end of each others ring fingers.


(Optional reading of vows)


**Slide the ring on when they say I do**


Do you, David, take, Emma, to be your wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live? I do (Emma slides Davids ring all the way on.)


Do you, Emma, take, David, to be your wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live? I do (David slides Emma's ring all the way on.)


You may now kiss the bride.


Declaration of marriage.


As witnessed by all gathered together here today, and in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.


I am very proud to present to you all, Mr. & Mrs. David Johnson.

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