This is a popularized Medieval ceremony...
It is a short version of the full, original text - for which
some couples then add modern passages or readings to it.
It also is shorter. The core sources are the Book of Common
Prayer of HRM Elizabeth I of England, extracts from the
Sarum Rite and the York Rite, and various other lesser sources.
At the day and time appointed for solemnization
of Matrimony, the persons to be married shall come into
the porch of the Church with their friends and neighbors;
and there standing together, the Man on the right hand,
and the woman on the left, with that person who shall give
the Woman betwixt them, the Priest shall say:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together
here in the sight of God to join together this Man and this
Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate,
instituted of God in Paradise, and into which holy estate
these two persons present come now to be joined.
Therefore if any man can shew any just
cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let
him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
I require and charge you both, as ye
will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets
of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you
know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together
in Matrimony, that ye confess it. For ye be well assured,
that so many as be coupled together otherwise than God's
Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither
is their Matrimony lawful. At which day of Marriage, if
any man do allege and declare any impediment, why they may
not be coupled together in Matrimony, by God's Law, or the
Laws of the Realm; and will be bound, and sufficient sureties
with him, to the parties; or else put in a Caution (to the
full value of such charges as the persons to be married
do thereby sustain) to prove his allegation; then the solemnization
must be deferred, until such time as the truth be tried.
If no impediment be alleged, then shall the
Priest say unto the Man: Wilt the have
this Woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together after
God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt the
love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her, in sickness
and in health; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto
her, so long as ye both shall live?
The Man shall answer: I will.
Then shall the Priest say to the Woman:
Wilt the have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live
together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony?
Wilt the obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep
him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other,
keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?
The Woman shall answer: I will.
Thus ends the formal betrothal. The couple
shall advance to the Altar, led by the Minister, who shall
then turn to the assembled company, and say:
Who giveth this Woman to be married to
The person who gives the Woman shall
answer, and shall place the Woman's right hand in the hand
of the Minister, and then shall retire. Then shall they
give their troth to each other in this manner: The Minister,
receiving the Woman at her father's or friend's hands, shall
cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her
right hand, and to say after him as followeth,
GROOM' VOW: "I, ___________, take
thee __________ to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from
this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer,
for fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, to love
and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God's
holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.
Then shall they loose their hands; and
the Woman, with her right hand taking the Man by his right
hand, shall likewise say after the Minister,
BRIDE'S VOW: I ___________ take thee___________
to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day
forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in
sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom at bed and
at board, to love and to cherish, till death us depart,
according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight
thee my troth.
Then shall they again loose their hands;
and the Man shall give unto the Woman a Ring, laying the
same upon the Book with the accustomed duty to the Priest
and Clerk. And the Priest shall bless the Ring(s) in the
Bless these Rings, O merciful Lord, that
those who wear them, that give and receive them, may be
ever faithful to one another, remain in your peace, and
live and grow old together in your love, under their own
vine and fig tree, and seeing their children's children.
And the Priest, taking the Ring, shall
deliver it to the Man, to put it on the fourth finger of
the Woman's left hand. And the Man holding the ring there,
and taught by the Priest, shall say,
GROOM: With this Ring I thee wed, (here
placing it upon her thumb) and with my body I thee honor,
(here placing it upon her index finger) and with all my
worldly goods I thee endow; (here placing it upon her ring
finger) In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If it be a double-ring ceremony, let
the Woman do the same as the Man, giving him the ring, and
repeating the same words as he. They both shall kneel down;
and the Minister shall say,
Let us pray. O Eternal God, Creator and
Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace,
the Author of everlasting life; Send thy blessing upon these
thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in
thy Name; + that, as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully
together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the
vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof this Ring given
and received is a token and pledge, and may ever hereafter
remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according
to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And here shall be said the LORD'S PRAYER.
Then shall the Priest join their right
hands together, and say,
Those whom God hath joined together let
no man put asunder. Then shall the Minister speak unto the
people. Forasmuch as N and N have consented together in
holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and
this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth
each to the other, and have declared the same by giving
and receiving of a Ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce
therefore that they be Man and Wife together, in the Name
of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The Minister shall add this blessing.
God the Father, God the Son, God the
Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully
with his favour look upon you; and so fill you with all
spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together
in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life
And here the Minister shall turn the
couple to the Company, and they may kiss each the other,
and then proceed from the Altar. And if it be the wish of
the couple to take Communion, they may do it privately,
following these ceremonies.