Formal Religious Ceremony for an Older Couple

This ceremony was written with the couple.  They provided poetry and guidance in every part.

Welcome and Opening Prayer:

Beloved,  We are gathered here in the presence of God to witness and bless the exchanging of vows that will bind ____________ and ____________ together in the covenant relationship of marriage. When this ceremony has ended, they will leave as husband and wife having been joined together by our loving God.

We know the institution of marriage is not a casual one and should not be taken lightly. And you both have spent a great deal of time in discernment around this moment.  We give thanks to God that we stand here with you today!

Your relationship already demonstrates what your marriage will be: the union of two lives—two hearts that beat as one—so welded together that they walk together; they work together; they bear each others burdens and share each others joys.

Let us pray:  Gracious God, you are always faithful in your love for us.  Look mercifully on ____________ and ____________ who have come to seek your blessing.  Let your Holy Spirit rest on on them so that with steadfast love they may honor the promises they make this day, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Words of Commitment:

In honor of this moment in your lives, you have each prepared something to say to each other.

(Bride):  When I became a widow, I thought about what my life had been like, and realized that my marriage had been in God’s plan for me.  I started to wonder about His plans for my future.  What did He want me to do? What did He expect of me? I prayed about it and finally realized that not only did I need someone in my life-someone who would love me and whom I could love in return, but someone might need me to be part of their life.

When we met I was not thinking in terms of a new life partner. But the more we were together the more I felt good being with you and bereft when apart. Thinking back on the last two years I feel that there were new plans for me forming.  Plans that were for you and for me.  It was all in God’s time. Our love has been built step by step and grown until we are where we are today.

(Bride shared a poem she write in 1982.)

(Groom shared his thoughts in the moment.)

The Vows

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity.  Therefore, marriage is to be entered into with reverence.  So now, I invite you to make vows to each other – promises that tell each other of your commitment.

____________, will you have ____________ as your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

____________, will you have ____________ as your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Friends, do you offer your blessing to ____________ and ____________ and promise to do everything in your power to uphold them in their marriage?  If so say:  I do.

Please join hands:

I, ____________, take you ____________, to be my wife/husband, 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, until we are parted by death.

Exchange of Rings:

You have chosen to symbolize your marriage with the exchange of rings.  These rings are a sign to all of the uniting of ____________ and ____________ in marriage and symbolizes the never-ending nature of their love.

Let us pray:  By your blessing, O god, may these rings be to ____________ and ____________ symbols of unending love and faithfulness, reminding them of the covenant they have made to each other today, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

____________, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.

(Groom shared a poem that he wrote for the occasion)


Prayer:  Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we come to you in awe of your majesty, power and love. We recognize you as the source of all that is good in life. We thank you for giving us life and sustaining us each day with your blessings.  We are thankful that not only have you meet our needs in every way and that you also have provided us with the gift of each other.

We pray that you will now look down favorably upon ____________ and ____________ and the union they are forming today. We pray that you will shower your blessings upon them. May they always have you and your will as a part of it, realizing that their commitment is not only to one another but to you.

Bless them with much happiness, strengthen them in times of adversity and keep them always in your care.  May their love for you and for one another continue to grow and abound. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Lord’s Prayer (Sung by soloist)

Now that ____________ and ____________ have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring in the presence of all of you, by the authority of the state of California and that of our great and wonderful God I pronounce that they are husband and wife.  You may kiss the bride.

Friends, I am very happy to present Mr. and Mrs. ____________.

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