What happens at a wedding?
(This is the normal order of service, but there is an alternative one)
The vicar enters, and the bride follows meeting the groom at the front of church.
The minister welcomes the congregation.
A hymn is sung.
The minister will read an introduction explaining what Christians believe about marriage. He or she will also ask, as the law requires, if anyone knows any reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
You will be asked to promise before God, your friends and your families, that you will love, comfort, honour and protect your partner and be 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 vows:
'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'
The couple then exchange a ring or rings as a 'sign of their marriage' and 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 now husband and wife and blesses you and your marriage.
Another hymn is sung.
Readings and talk
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 with some advice about marriage and what makes a good Christian marriage.
In the prayers God's blessing and help is asked for you. 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.
Signing of the register
After you have exchanged your vows, the bride, groom and two witnesses (aged 18 or over) must sign the register. The bride signs with her maiden name. This is a legal requirement and the minister will give you a copy of the marriage certificate. Then you walk out, followed by your guests and photos are taken outside. You are now husband and wife.