The Ceremony – Phase 3
Putting It All Together – Part 3.3
The third phase of our uncommon wedding ceremony is the official portion, what we will call “The Announcement of Marriage” for lack of a better phrase. This part of the ceremony includes a few well known parts and a few added uncommon touches to make this day most meaningful. Allow me to discuss each one in detail and in the order that they might appear.
- The Giveaway Affirmation
You are probably well acquainted with the giving-away-of-the-bride in a traditional ceremony, a bride’s father has the honor of giving his daughter away to the groom. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this gesture, Pamela and I decided to build upon it. We decided to involve not only the father of the bride but the bride’s mother. In our uncommon ceremonies, the bride’s father escorts the bride and is joined by the bride’s mother at the exchange point. When in place, the groom’s parents stand and the bride’s parents both affirm the giving of their daughter to the groom with all parents represented. In the same way, the groom’s parents affirm the acceptance of this bride into their son’s life as he proceeds to take his bride by the arm. The parents are then asked to take their seats. In this way, both parents have a very symbolic role in the handoff affirmation.
- The vows
In any wedding the vows are very important. For our ceremonies we choose not to use traditional vows, but Biblically based vows that align with our faith, as I mentioned earlier. In many cases, the couple will also prepare their own special vows to share with each other.
- The Ring Exchange
The ring exchange is a symbolic part of the ceremony where the bride and groom pledge themselves one to the other in matrimony.
- The Charge to the Audience
In most ceremonies, the groom is charged to love and honor his wife and the bride is charged to love and honor her husband. Pamela and I decided to have a charge given to the audience, where the audience has to affirm “I do” as well. We charge the audience with looking out for the success of this couple. The audience as I’ve mentioned is this couple’s world. It’s this group that has hands-on interactions with both bride and groom. We’ve added a charge for the audience, so that Pamela and I are not the only ones on the hook when we get to Heaven in the event this marriage is unsuccessful. We are all fighting and working towards its success. I can’t count the number of times someone has mentioned to me how much they appreciated being considered for such a charge. You see it’s these people gathered together who care the most for the couple and are willing to fight for their wellbeing.
- Pronouncement to Your World
While the pronouncement of any ceremony feels like it’s the ending, we think of it as simply the beginning. The pronouncement is the confirmation that this new entity (family unit) has been formed. As it’s said that any person who truly believes in Christ becomes a new creation where the old has passed away to the new creations that’s been born, so we believe that when a couple is joined together in Christ the old persons are no more, but a new person as a couple emerges. 
- The Reception and Communion
In the church world, we have what we call communion to show and share our connection with our Lord. In the same way, a reception is our way to show and express our connection with each other as one new family, a family that’s been merged by these two individuals becoming one. We call this communion time a reception where this is feasting and a time of joy.
- The Marriage Certificate
You can’t have a marriage until you have a marriage certificate or license. A marriage certificate is necessary for a legal marriage. Without a marriage license, the ceremony while good is incomplete. We ask each couple we serve to obtain two copies of this certificate: one for themselves and one for the officiant to keep on record. Following the ceremony, the license is made official. This certificate is likened to a diploma and has great value for the awesome accomplishment it represents for this new husband and wife.
The steps in a ceremony as you can see are the business and ceremonial portions of the event. Marriage is an awesome accomplishment and should be viewed that way. It’s the reason there is a reception; it’s an event that should be celebrated.