Step Two - Basic Elements

Below is a layout of a typical wedding ceremony.  Click on each of the headings in blue to find out more about each traditional element.

 

"Giving Away" 

Why is this a tradition?

 

The historical significance of this tradition is that the woman was considered property of her father or her family until she was "given" to her husband.  The reasoning behind the tradition is more than a bit antiquated, but the gesture remains that a father or close loved one is the number one person in an individual's life until they replace that role with their significant other. 

 

How is this typically done now?

 

The ritual comes right as an individual has walked down the aisle and before the ceremony starts.  These days, there are several options if this is a ritual you would like to include.  

 

 

Traditional Examples

 

  • The most common is:

 

The party and the person/s walking them down the aisle will reach the front of the aisle.  The person/s walking them down the aisle will kiss them on the cheek, shake the other party's hand/hug them/whatever is appropriate at the time and take a seat reserved for him/her/them in the front row.  No words are exchanged.

 

 

  • Often, the celebrant will ask for the blessings of the person/s walking the party down the aisle:

 

Celebrant: Who presents this woman/man/person to be married to this woman/man/person?

Answer: I do/We do

 

Celebrant: Who presents this two people to be married to each other?

Answer (all parents in unison): We do.

 

Celebrant: Who gives this woman/man/person to be married to this woman/man/person?

Answer: They gives themselves, but with their family's blessings.

 

Celebrant:  Who has the honour of presenting this woman/man/person to be married to this woman/man/person?

Answer: I do/We do

 

 

  • If a parent is no longer alive, we can honour them within this ritual:

 

Celebrant:  Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

Answer: On behalf of those of who are here and those of us who are gone, I do.

 

Celebrant:  Does this couple have the blessings of their family for this marriage?

Answer: With the knowledge that (passed parent) would have loved and supported this union, I give my blessing.

 

 

  • OR (in the case of a father who has passed away)

 

 

Before the ceremony starts, when I am giving my speech about turning phones to silent, etc., I can say the following:

 

When walking down the aisle, (Name) has chosen to reserve the space next to him/her/them for its rightful owner - their dad - who is irriplaceable and loved dearly to this day.  It is their request that, instead of seeing them walking alone, you see that he is walking with them in spirit.

 

 

Modern Examples

 

  • You can include the entire audience in a blessing or a "giving away".  It's a pretty cool way to get everyone involved and can be pretty special to hear all of your closest people pledging their love and support for you at once:

 

Celebrant:  Ladies and gentlemen, (name) and (name) would like to know that all people here witnessing their ceremony will continue to love and support their union into the future.  So I ask you, do all (name) and (name)'s closest friends and family bless this union and pledge to support (name) and (name) as they begin their married life together?

 

All guests:  We do!

  • It is more common now to see a groom get his own entrance.  It's cute to see the mother/sister/loved one of a groom walking him down the aisle before his partner gets their own entrance.  This way he gets a proper welcome and usually a cheer from the crowd.

  • It's also nice to see both parties walking down the aisle together, signifying a partnership that is already solid and established.

  • Have fun with the wording.  Make it about you guys.  Some examples:

"Now, before we move onto the next part we are just going to take a moment to go a bit old school here and I would like to ask - who is here today to give away the bride?"

"Hi Frank, there is no getting away from this, this must be a pretty epic day for you. One which we hope will always be a source of pride and joy , as I'm sure Steph always has been. She has been your child, your little girl, your troublesome teen and I do not doubt your greatest hero and cheer squad rolled into one. So on behalf of Troy and Steph I would like to ask - do you proudly give your daughter to be married and do you bless this union between her and Troy?"

 

Fresh Concepts

 

  • In the case of male and female unions, have the bride wait at the front and the groom walk down the aisle.

 

  • Have the party give away their father back to their mother.

  • Don't walk down the aisle at all.  Have both parties mingle with the guests until it's time to kick off.

  • If you like the idea of an entrance but don't like the idea of a formal aisle, scrap it.  Have the individual weave their way through the crowd, greeting guests and loved ones as they go.  This works particularly well in a small and intimate space, such as a bar, garden, or cozy restaurant. 

 

 

None of this stuff floating your boat?

 

Remember, you don't have to go with any one of these examples.  You can alter whatever wording you like or use some wording that you created or heard elsewhere.  You can mash two examples together and use them both, or you can scrap it altogether.  

If nothing here hits the mark and you can't think of something just right, let me know!  That's what I'm here for.

 

 

 

 

 

The Asking

Why is this a tradition?

 

In some other countries and within some religious contexts, The Asking, or the "I Do" part of the ceremony, is a legally required element of the ceremony.  As far as civil ceremonies go, this is not a legally binding aspect so in theory you can scrap it altogether.  However, saying this alone without stating the minimum required legal vows is not enough to legalise your marriage.

 

The reason it is so popular today is because this is the part that so many people see as the 'moment' you become husband and wife.  It' s what we see in the movies, it's what we said during our pretend weddings when we were kids, and it is the most commonly recognised wording within a wedding ceremony.

 

How is this typically done now?

This element usually comes after the introduction and before the exchanging of vows, but can really go anywhere you like.

 

Traditional Examples

 

  • The most traditional wording is:

 

Do you (name) take (name) to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband/spouse, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do you part?

 

Answer: I do

 

 

  • Other examples include:

 

Do you, (name), take this woman/man/person, (name) , to be your wife/husband/spouse; do you promise to be to him/her/them a loving and loyal husband/wife/spouse, to cherish and keep her/him/them in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful only to him/her/them as long as you both shall live? 

 

Do you (name) knowing this man/woman/person’s love for you and returning it, realising his/her/their strengths and learning from them, recognising his/her/their weaknesses and helping him/her/them to overcome them, take (name) to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife/spouse?

 

(Name), will you take (name) as your husband/wife/spouse, in happiness and with patience and understanding, through conflict and tranquility?

 

Do you (name) take (name) to be your lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse? Will you love, respect and honor her/him/them throughout your years together? 

 

 

Modern Examples

  • Many couples tend to opt for more lighthearted/fun wording such as:

 

Are you (name) ready to embark on this crazy adventure of marriage with (name)?  Do you swear that you will be kind, honest, and supportive for the rest of your days together?  And do you swear to try to make the next sixty years feel like sixty seconds?

 

Do you (name) recognise that this union is the biggest, real deal, sincerely meaningful and everlasting thing you’ll ever do?

 

Do you (name) and (name), take each other to be your person, warts and all, with their happy parts and their sad parts, through your difficult bits and your easy bits, for all of life together?

Both parties: We do.

Fresh Concepts

 

  • "The Asking" for your guests.  After your own "I do"s (or even instead of them), we can ask the crowd to commit to supporting you guys on your journey.  It's a pretty great moment to hear everyone in the room resoundingly supporting you together.  It usually goes something like this:

You guys, the ones witnessing this moment today, are the people in (name) and (name)'s life who mean the very most to them.  You've watched this journey from the beginning and you'll watch it for a long time to come.  So I ask you all - do you promise to support this relationship and these two, both individually and together, so that they can continue to grow together through your guidance, encouragement, and love?

Answer: We do!

 

  • Not into the tradionional feel of this ritual?  Change the meaning of it for you guys.  You can both let me know something that the other person does then always denies doing, and we do a little something like this:

Now we're at the part we all know best where we say "I do", but we all know that (name) and (name) have never been the traditional types, and they're not about to let a wedding get in the way of their ethos.  And this day is really about new beginnings.  Fresh starts.  And new beginnings come with honesty.  So...

Jo, do you admit to lying your ass off every time you tell Bailey that you can't cook dinner because the light in the kitchen is giving you a migraine?

Answer: I do.

And do you, Bailey, admit that you are telling porkies when you come home reeking of McDonalds and insist it is all in Jo's head?

Answer: I do.

 

 

None of this stuff floating your boat?

 

Remember, you don't have to go with any one of these examples.  You can alter whatever wording you like or use some cool wording that you created or heard elsewhere.  You can mash two examples together and use them both, or you can scrap it altogether.  

 

If nothing here hits the mark and you can't think of something just right, let me know!  That's what I'm here for.

 

Exchange of Vows

This is the mac daddy of traditional elements.  Some parts of the Vows are legal requirement, and the other parts are not.  Click below to find out all about how to create awesome, memorable vows.

 

Exchange of Rings

Why is this a tradition?

 

The historical significance and meaning behind the exchanging of rings is pretty in-depth, but if you're interested, you can read all about it here.  The ring itself is now worn as a symbolic indication that the person is married to someone.

 

How is this typically done now?

 

The ring exchange is typically done after the vows and before declaring you as a married couple.

 

The exchanging of rings begins with an introduction by the celebrant.  The basic introduction is:

 

(Name) and (name) will now exchange rings as a symbol of the vows they have exchanged.

 

Traditional Examples

 

 

  • When it comes to actually exchanging the rings, the most traditional wording is:

 

With this ring, I thee wed.

 

 

  • Other examples include:

 

Receive and wear this ring as a symbol of my trust, my respect and my love for you.

 

I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness. As I place it on your finger, I commit my heart and life to you. I ask you to wear this ring as a reminder of the vows we have spoken today.

 

Let this ring be a symbol of my promises to you and a reminder of my devotion to you. I am honored this day and always to call you my wife/husband/spouse.

 

I give you this ring as a symbol of the vows we have shared.  Wear it proudly to show the world that I am your husband/wife/spouse and you are my wife/husband/spouse.

 

Modern Examples

  • Couples often play with the wording to make it a little more fun or personalised.  Some examples:

 

Let's wear these rings and show the world we were crazy enough to marry each other.

(Name), I love you.  Here is a ring.  Can we go steady for life?

Wear this ring and think of me and know that I love you.  Also, don't lose it.

  • Alternatively, play with the wording of the introduction a little bit:

 

This is the point in the ceremony where we usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end.  But we all know that these rings do have a beginning.  Rock is dug up from the earth.  Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees, then molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished.  Something beautiful is made from raw elements.  Love is like that.  It's messy, sometimes difficult work.  It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings.  It's the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. This ring is (name) and (name)'s promise to accept each other's imperfections and recognize each other's beauty.

We are about to exchange rings because (name) was not EVER going to say no to a bit of extra bling.

Fresh Concepts

 

  • Can't wear rings in everyday life or work?  Exchange a different item rather than rings, like a watch or necklace.

 

  • Have a ring warming ceremony where the rings are secured in a small bag and passed around to the guests prior to the Exchanging of Rings so that each guest can put their own little blessing on the rings.  By the time they get to you, they have everyone's good thoughts and well wishes with them.

 

 

None of this stuff floating your boat?

 

Remember, you don't have to go with any one of these examples.  You can alter whatever wording you like or use some cool wording that you created or heard elsewhere.  You can mash two examples together and use them both, or you can scrap it altogether.

 

If nothing here hits the mark and you can't think of something just right, let me know!  That's what I'm here for.

 

Declaration of Marriage

Why is this a tradition?

 

At the end of the ceremony, once you have exchanged vows and rings etc., the celebrant will pronounce you both to be husband and wife.  Then they will say "You may kiss the bride!".  

Historically, this was the first kiss that the bride and groom (theoretically) would have had with each other.  The gesture was to celebrate their union and announce that the bride would no longer be (ahem) needing the white dress.  These days it's simply a celebratory first kiss as a married or committed couple.

 

 

How is this typically done now?

 

 

This is done after all of the elements of your ceremony have been done.  Generally, we pronounce you husband and wife, you sign your documents, then I introduce you for the first time as a newly married/committed couple.  

 

Traditional Examples

 

  • The basic wording is:

 

Through what I have witnessed today, I pronounce you both to be husband/wife/spouse and husband/wife/spouse.  You may kiss your bride (or groom, or spouse).

 

 

  • You can add onto this basic format.  Here are some examples:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, (name) and (name) have declared before all of us that they will live together in marriage.  They have made promises  and commitments to each other and they have symbolized them by taking vows and exchanging rings.  And so, as witness to this ceremony, I am very proud to pronounce them to be husband and wife/husbands/wives/spouses.

You may kiss your bride (or groom, or spouse).

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, (name) and (name) have declared before all of us that they will live together in marriage. They have symbolised it by their vows and exchange of rings. On your behalf I now pronounce them man/woman/person and husband/wife/spouse.

As a celebration of this union, you may kiss you bride/groom/spouse.

 

You have both exchanged vows in my presence and in the presence of the people you love.  As witness to the promises you have both made, I now pronounce you to be husband and wife/husbands/wives/spouses.

You may kiss your bride/groom/spouse.

 

Modern Examples

  • Instead of having one person do all the kissing:

Ladies and Gentlemen, please help me in congratulating (name) and (name) as they seal their new marriage with a kiss.

You may kiss each other!

Lauren, you may kiss your groom!

  • Typically, we will do this part and then you will sign your wedding paperwork before I stand you back up and announce you both for the first time as husband and wife.  You can, however, choose to do the signing first and then this part.  That way, you can pronounce you both as husband and wife, and straight away you can get a cheer from the crowd while I introduce you as Mr. and Mrs (or Mr. and Mr/Mrs. and Mrs.) Whoever.  Then you walk straight back down the aisle and get hugs all around.

Fresh Concepts

  • Have a guest/loved one come up and do the pronouncing.

  • Have ALL the guests pronounce you.

  • Not into the PDA thing?  Instead, high five it like a couple of nerdy legends.  For dramatic effect, include this bad boy.

 

 

None of this stuff floating your boat?

 

Remember, you don't have to go with any one of these examples.  You can alter whatever wording you like or use some cool wording that you created or heard elsewhere.  You can mash two examples together and use them both, or you can scrap it altogether.

 

If nothing here hits the mark and you can't think of something just right, let me know!  That's what I'm here for.

Vogue Vows ©2018 Johanna Ferris

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