The Structure

This is an example of a traditional Ceremony conducted by a Wedding Celebrant.  This does not reflect the structure of a Portuguese Ceremony, where the structure is set and you are not able to build in personal Vows or Readings.

There are many options, which you can choose for different elements of the Symbolic Ceremony.  You can also adapt any element to make it more personal to you.

Bridal Entrance Music

Bride walks the aisle to join the Groom.

The Giving Away

This is when the Father of the Bride, or any other person giving the Bride away, formally does so by answering “I do” to the question:

“I now ask you, who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

The Opening

The opening is usually a greeting to guests, combined with some sentiment of the occasion – either generic or more personal.

Poems and Readings

A poem or reading can be delivered by the Celebrant, a special friend, a member of the family or the Bride and Groom and can reflect the joy of marriage.  They can be anything you want and you can have just one, or a few scattered throughout the Ceremony.

The Asking

There are many examples of wording that can be used as an introduction to the Asking. Here is one example.

“True marriage is more than joining the bonds of marriage of two people; it is the union of two hearts. It lives on the love you give each other and never grows old, but thrives on the joy of each new day. Marriage is love. May you always be able to talk things over, to confide in each other, to laugh with each other, to enjoy life together, and to share moments of quiet and peace, when the day is done. May you be blessed with a lifetime of happiness and a home of warmth and understanding.”

The Asking would then begin like this:

“________ and ________, drawing on the trust you have placed in me today, I will ask you to speak in truth from your hearts, your commitment to this marriage and to each other.”

The Vows

Vows may run from traditional to customised. You are free to add your own embellishments, loving words, funny promises (I promise to do the washing up every night) and inside jokes. Also, couples may like pieces of several of the vow examples, while not finding any one example that completely reflects their preferences. Pieces from several can be blended together to make the “perfect” one.

There are 3 formats or “styles” for vows (and also ring exchanges):

Echo – Celebrant says “Please repeat after me”, then reads the vow one line at a time, with participant repeating each line, one line at a time, until the vow is complete.

I Do – Celebrant begins with “Do you”, then reads the entire vow, followed by the participant’s response of “I do”

Recital – a more personal vow, spoken while looking directly into the partner’s eyes, and without prompt by the Celebrant. This format can be tricky, especially if the vows are long and complex. It is ok to read this from a piece of paper rather than trying to recite it from memory.  In fact I strongly suggest you have them written down just in case emotions take over.

Exchanging Rings

Some couples both choose to wear a ring, on other occasions just one person (usually the Bride) has a ring.  Your Ceremony can be designed to suit the choices you make. There are different options for the words used and whether you would like a prompt from the Celebrant, repeating the words after the Celebrant or saying your own words.

Here are a couple of examples:

“I give you this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

“With this ring, I thee wed.”

“Through this ring, I accept you as my (wife/husband), now and for all time.”

Response (optional):

“I will forever wear this ring as a sign of my commitment and the desire of my heart”

“I will wear it gladly. Whenever I look at it, I will remember this joyous day and the vows and commitments that we have made.”

Sealing the Deal!

This is the part where you get to have your first kiss as husband and wife!!

Unity Ceremonies

If you are having a unity ceremony such as a unity candle or sand ceremony, it would fit nicely in now. 

Declaration of Marriage

The Celebrant will now offer you their congratulations and present you as Husband and Wife.