Sample Civil Marriage Ceremony
I provide this sample ceremony from Service Alberta only as a starting point for couples.
We are gathered here today to witness the formal joining of (groom).....and (bride).... in the legal state of matrimony. You are to be married according to the orders, customs, and the authority granted by the government of the Province of Alberta.
Matrimony, as understood by us, is a state enriched by a long and honorable tradition of devotion. According to the law each participant is equal and supports the common rights of one another to the marriage.
Marriage is not just a ceremony here today. It is a commitment for life. Therefore, it is not to be entered into thoughtlessly, or irresponsibly.
There must be a desire for lifelong companionship. Couples will support and comfort each other, thought the changing experiences of life. May you laugh together in joy, grieve together in sorrow, and grow together in love.
Marriage means caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your marriage partner as about your own well-being. Marriage also means working together to create and sustain a home in which the marriage may flourish. With this understanding (groom).... and (bride)..... wish to be joined in marriage.
If any persons can show just and sufficient reason why these two persons may not be joined in matrimony, let them now declare reasons, or else from this time forward, keep their peace. I now call upon you both in the presence of these witnesses, to repeat after me: Let the bride say: I DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE THAT I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY LAWFUL IMPEDIMENT WHY I, (bride).... MAY NOT BE JOINED IN MATRIMONY TO (groom)...... Let the groom say: I DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE THAT I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY LAWFUL IMPEDIMENT WHY I, (groom).... MAY NOT BE JOINED IN MATRIMONY TO (bride)...... As no impediment was declared or admitted, I require you to give answers to these questions: Do you (groom)....promise to give to this woman the love of your person, the comfort of your companionship, and the patience of your understanding? Will you share with her equally the necessities of life as they may be earned or enjoyed by your self; and to respect the dignity of his own personal rights? Answer: I DO
THE MARRIAGE VOWS
Now would the groom and bride please face one another, join hands, and let the groom repeat after me: I CALL UPON THOSE PERSONS PRESENT TO WITNESS THAT I, (groom).... DO TAKE THEE, (bride)....TO BE MY LAWFUL WEDDED WIFE, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, IN WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCES OR EXPERIENCES LIFE MAY HOLD FOR US.
Let the bride repeat after me: I CALL UPON THOSE PERSONS PRESENT TO WITNESS THAT I, (bride).... DO TAKE THEE, (groom).... TO BE MY LAWFUL WEDDED HUSBAND, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, IN WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCES OR EXPERIENCES LIFE MAY HOLD FOR US.
THE RING EXCHANGE
Having declared these marriage vows, let the groom place the ring on the third finger of the bride’s left hand, repeating after me: (bride).... I GIVE YOU THIS RING THAT YOU MAY WEAR IT AS A LASTING REMINDER OF OUR MARRIAGE VOWS AND AS A SYMBOL OF MY LOVE AND COMMITMENT TO YOU. Let the bride say after me: I ACCEPT THIS RING AS A SYMBOL OF YOUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT. If a second ring is presented, let the bride place the ring on the third finger of the grooms left hand, repeating after me: (groom).... I GIVE YOU THIS RING THAT YOU MAY WEAR IT AS A LASTING REMINDER OF OUR MARRIAGE VOWS AND AS A SYMBOL OF MY LOVE AND COMMITMENT TO YOU. Let the groom say after me: I ACCEPT THIS RING AS A SYMBOL OF YOUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT.
(groom).... and (bride).... you have consented in marriage, and have declared your solemn intention in this company, before these witnesses and in my presence. You have exchange this ring(s) as the pledge of your love to each other; you have joined your hands to accept one another.
Now upon the authority vested in me by the Province of Alberta, I pronounce you “husband” and “wife”.
(Commitment may be sealed with kiss)
As you begin your marriage, let your home be a haven of peace in the midst of a busy and changing world; let your relationship be one of complete truth, love and understanding between marriage will yield what you give to it. May you enjoy a long life, fulfill your hopes, feel content as you live day by day, and keep your promises to one another.
To make your Ceremony unique , there are many extensions to add to the traditional Ceremony.
In this ceremony the hands are blessed to show the unity of the couple. It focuses on connecting the hearts of the couple being married.
Breaking of the Glass
At the end of this ceremony a glass or bulb is wrapped in cloth and broken by being stepped on by the groom.
Hand Fasting Ceremony
The couples hands are bound using rope or cord to symbolize two becoming one. This is a traditional Scottish and English ceremony.
Blended Family Vow Ceremony
There are many couples being married and forming blended families. This ceremony allows the partner to speak to each one of the children and offer words of love and support. They may even want to give a gift to the children.
This beautiful tradition takes place before the signing of the Marriage Register. The couple takes a small vase of sand and pours it into a larger one. This is a way of symbolically showing the joining of the bride and groom while still showing that they remain as individuals. This can also be used as part of the blended family ceremony where each member of the family adds sand to the large vase.
In the wine ceremony the couple chooses a bottle of wine that is placed in a decanter on the signing table. After the signing of the Marriage License the couple drinks from the same cup to represent their two hearts becoming one.
At the end of the ceremony champagne is presented to the couple as they toast one another. What a great way to move from the ceremony into the reception.
Love Letter / Wine Box Ceremony
A love letter is written by the bride and the groom and sealed in a wine box along with a favourite bottle of wine. The box is opened at the couples 5 year anniversary and the letters are read as a way of reminding each other of the love and devotion that is felt between the couple.
Ring Warming Ceremony
Wedding rings are a common symbol for the commitment that a couple makes to each other on their wedding day. In this ceremony the rings are passed to each family member where they are given an individual blessing before the rings are exchanged.
A rose or flower of the couple's choice is exchanged between the bride and groom during the ceremony. This gift is a symbol of their commitment to each other and their chosen flower can be presented to each other at anniversary to remind them of their love and devotion to each other.
Rose Ceremony to Mothers
Roses are presented to the mothers or special women in their lives to pay tribute and as a way of showing love and respect.
Guests, family members, and the wedding party are all presented with small polished stones upon their arrival to the ceremony. They hold the stones and make a special wish for the couple's future. Guests may also be provided pens to write their names on the stone. At the end of the ceremony the stones are collected in a container.
Moment of Recognition to Parents
Some couples choose to take time during the ceremony to thank their parents for the love and inspiration they have given them.
Memorial Candle Ceremony
To remember departed loved ones a single candle remains lit throughout the ceremony.