Example Of A Wedding Ceremony That Includes Both Greek Orthodox
and Christian Traditions
As a wedding Officiant I have the joy of performing ceremonies for all religious backgrounds. As an Officiant I can create a ceremony to fill the spiritual needs of a couple, who are of different faiths, do not belong to a church, or do not practice a religion.
In our planning meeting we will talk about what traditions or customs that each of you would like to include in your ceremony. Today I am sharingwording for a wedding ceremony that includes the bride’s Greek heritage and the grooms Christian upbringing.
The Greek Orthodox /Christian wedding ceremony are quite easy to combine since both religions honor the Holy Trinity- The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. In fact in the Greek Orthodox ceremony, many elements are done 3 times as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Both ceremonies place God at the center of the marriage and remind the couple to seek the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In a Greek Orthodox ceremony the couple is joined together in faith, and in oneness of mind, in truth, and in love. They acknowledging that their love is rooted in God, who is love itself.
In a Christian ceremony the couple makes a covenant (a solemn promise) to each other in the presence of God. This ceremony will include an invocation (beginning prayer to invite God to be present and bless this ceremony) as well as other elements.
In the ceremony below I have combined some elements of both religious traditions. There are other Greek Orthodox traditions that you can include such as the wine/common cup. The sharing of wine symbolizes that they now share with each other every joy and sorrow. The couple I made this ceremony for will be doing a wine toast at their reception so we left it out of the ceremony
Another Greek tradition is the bride and groom are given white lighted candles to hold. The
lighted candles symbolize the purity of their lives, which should shine with the light of virtue. In the ceremony below I combined the Catholic unity candle lighting and The Greek Candle lighting. Also in a Greek ceremony when the couple completes their walk around the table the Officiant will take the bible and use it to separate their hands saying “What God has joined together let man not out asunder (separate)”. This is traditionally said after the pronouncement in a Christian ceremony
~Please note all my ceremonies can be tailored to reflect same-sex weddings and vow renewals~
Officiant:I address the couple & the guests:
We welcome each of you to this joyful occasion in the life of Groom and Bride. We are gathered here today to celebrate the coming together in love of this woman and this man. We remember that marriage is a time when growing love is made public, when two people share mutual promises before God and before us. We join in our support of them as they offer themselves to each other. We celebrate their joy, their love, and their expectations.
On behalf of the bride and groom I would like to thank you all for sharing this happiest of days with them. They would also like to acknowledge loved ones who are no longer physically with us, but are here with us in spirit today as we celebrate this joyous occasion.
Invocation(this is the beginning prayer to “invoke” or ask god to be present and bless this service)
Let us pray Our Father, love has been your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between two souls which matures into marriage is one of your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless Groom and Bride in their marriage. Surround them and us with your love now and always. Amen.
Charge to Bride and Groom (the charge is addressed to the Bride and Groom. It is a preparation for the vows you are about to take):
The union into which you are now about to enter is the closest and most tender into which human beings can come. It is a union founded on mutual experience and affection and to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ; it is a union in the Lord. Marriage is Gods institution, intended for the happiness and welfare of human kind.
Remember that love alone will avail as the foundation of a happy home. Let Christ be your example. Let the apostle Paul be your teacher, who wrote” Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” If you keep this steadfast love ever before you and remaining faithful to each other, resolutely endeavor to fulfill the vows you now make, God’s blessings will be upon you, and the home you establish will endure through life’s every change.
Betrothal/Declaration of intent (this is when you declare your action or intent to marry is a matter of free will):
To Groom: Groom, will you have Bride to be your wife, to live with her, respect her, and love her as God intends with the promise of faithfulness, tenderness, and helpfulness, as long as you both shall live?
Groom Responds: I will
To Bride: Bride, will you have Groom to be your husband, to live with him, respect him, and love him as God intends with the promise of faithfulness, tenderness, and helpfulness as long as you both shall live?
Bride Responds: I will.
Officiant: Now that you have declared your intentions, I invite you to share your vows with one another. Officiant:Groom, repeat to Bride, after me, these words:
I, Groom, receive you, Bride as a gift of the Divine Grace of God, (Groom says): I, Groom, receive you, Bride as a gift of the Divine Grace of God,
And I promise, to stand beside you and with you always; (Groom says):And I promise, to stand beside you and with you always;
Through times of laughter and tears, (Groom says): Through times of laughter and tears,
Health and sickness, (Groom says): Health and sickness,
In plenty and in want, (Groom says): In plenty and in want,
At work and at play (Groom says): At work and at play
I promise to cherish you, (Groom says):I promise to cherish you,
And to always hold you in highest regard. (Groom says):And to always hold you in highest regard.
For as long as we both shall live (Groom says): For as long as we both shall live
Officiant:Bride repeat to Groom, after me, these words:
I, Bride, receive you, Groom as a gift of the Divine Grace of God, (Bride says): I, Bride, receive you, Groom as a gift of the Divine Grace of God,
And I promise, to stand beside you and with you always; (Bride says):And I promise, to stand beside you and with you always;
Through times of laughter and tears, (Bride says): Through times of laughter and tears,
Health and sickness, (Bride says): Health and sickness,
In plenty and in want, (Bride says): In plenty and in want,
At work and at play (Bride says): At work and at play
I promise to cherish you, (Bride says):I promise to cherish you,
And to always hold you in highest regard. (Bride says):And to always hold you in highest regard.
For as long as we both shall live (Bride says): For as long as we both shall live
Exchange of rings:
Officiant:Maywe please have the rings
At this point the best man will give the rings to the Officiant.
Heavenly Fatherwe ask for your blessing on these rings that Groom and Bride are about to exchange. Grant that the love which they feel for one another on this day resides always in their hearts. May these rings forever remind them of the vows which they have pledged to one another today, and may their compassion and kindness for each other always be, as these rings, with no beginning and no end. Amen
To Groom: Groom will you take this ring and place it upon Bride’s finger, and as you do, repeat to her, after me, these words:
I give you this ring, (Groom says) I give you this ring,
As a symbol of my vow (Groom says)As a symbol of my vow
And with all that I am (Groom says)And with all that I am
And all that I have (Groom says)And all that I have
And with it, I may you (Groom says)And with it, I marry you
And join my life with yours (Groom says)And join my life with yours
To Bride: Bride will you take this ring and place it upon Groom’s finger, and as you do, repeat to him, after me, these words:
I give you this ring (Bride says) I give you this ring,
As a symbol of my vow (Bride says)As a symbol of my vow
And with all that I am (Bride says)And with all that I am
And all that I have (Bride says)And all that I have
And with it, I may you (Bride says)And with it, I marry you
And join my life with yours (Bride says)And join my life with yours
For thousands of years, people in Greece have been crowned with wreaths, signifying achievement. In Psalm (8:5) we read "For thou hast made them a little lower than the angels, and have crowned them with glory and honor."
At weddings the wreaths signify mastery of the couple’s home and give honor to the spark of divinity that resides within them both. This is a symbol of how in marriage it is our higher selves that the couple promises to one another and the very best that they have to give.
These wreaths, called "stephana", are bound by a single cord, a cord of love and commitment. The pearls represent romance and sweet blessings. As they are crowned, they are forever united as one.
Officiant to Couple- Please hold each others right hands (This is to symbolize thatit is the right hand of God that blesses; it was to the right hand of the Father that Christ ascended)
Officiant to Best man:“Best man” will you exchange the stephana three times as is custom, as we offer a blessing in each exchange.
Best man holds the stephana above the couple's heads
Heavenly Father you have granted this couple a foretaste of your heavenly blessings on earth by giving them the gift of sacred union. We ask that you make their marriage strong in faith, truth and love, that they may be joined forevermore as one mind, one heart, one spirit.
Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom
Best man exchanges stephana and continue to hold them above the couple's heads
May the Lord Jesus Christ grant this couple a lifetime of mutual love and understanding. May their love and care for one another be always in the foreground of their thoughts, granting them health, happiness and peace.
Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom
Best man exchanges stephana for the third and final time and continue to hold them above the
Holy Spirit, Guardian of all that is seen and unseen, As the Father, Son and Holy spirit are joined in sacred and mystical union may the sacrament of marriage enrich the connection of these two souls that they may grow in depth of love and glory to God.
Bride and Groom are offered one another's stephana to kiss before placement. Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom and the couple is crowned
With the crowns now on their heads, I lead them around the table 3 times. The couple still holding right hand-the Officiant reaches back and places her hand on top of theirs and leads them around the table. The maid of honor follows holding the ribbons from the crowns –On the table should be the bible and the cross (I can provide these if you need). This represents the word of God and our redemption by Jesus. The couple walking around the table symbolizes that Christian living is at the center of their married life and 3 times is for the holy trinity. During the walk a hymn is usually played.
The Removal of the Crowns At the conclusion of the Ceremonial Walk, The Officiant removes the crowns saying: Heavenly Father, grant that Bride and Groom enjoy a long, happy and fruitful life together. Amen
Unity Candle Ceremony
Now we shall celebrate this union as it is symbolized through the lighting of the unity candle.
The lighting of the unity candle can be a very meaningful expression in a Christian wedding ceremony. It symbolizingyour individual spirits, as well as your individual connections with God. In a Traditional Greek ceremonythe lighted candles symbolize the purity of their lives, which should shine with the light of virtue.
Groom and Bride please light the two taper candles. These candles represent your individual spirits, your individual connections with God, all that you are and, all that you have been, and all that you will become.
The center candle represents your relationship. It is the symbol of your marriage, the symbol of the joining of 2 spirits, 2 lives, 2 souls. Now you will take the tapers and light the center candle. As you do so, keep in mind the pledge you made to each other today. It is the pledge of the truth and purity of your every breath. The constant friendship of your hearts, the passion and fire of your spirits and the deepest love your souls have to give. It is the pledge of all that is within you-The only true pledge that one heart can offer to another.
You are now as husband and wife offering yourselves, and all that has come to pass unto each other, towards the creation of your future, and to all that is yet to come. The candle of your marriage shall burn brightly, but the two tapers of yourselves are not diminished. You do not disappear in marriage. You remain you. But in joining, both lights are brighter, each supports the other and miracles can happen. True Love shines brightly and today is but a beautiful beginning of the miracles to come.
Prayer: Prayer of blessing upon your new marriage
Officiant:Let us say a prayer of blessing upon this marriage
We thank you O God for the joy and excitement of this blessed Occasion. It is you who has given us life and experience and you who has led us to this present moment. We ask that you bless Groom and Bride as they begin this new phase of their journey through life. Safeguard them from perils both seen and unseen. Give them such fulfillment of mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others. Let the sun always rise on their good will and let it never set without it. Abide in their home as the one who imparts value to their relationship and meaning to all their efforts. Shelter them from the tragedies so common to human life, or support them that they may stand when visited by adversity. Grant that their wills may be knit together in your will, and their spirits in your spirit that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. Amen
Inasmuch as you, Groom, and you Bride, have thus consented in holy matrimony and have witnessed the same before God, family and friends, by virtue of the authority vested in me as an Officiant and the laws of this state, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
You may kiss the Bride!
Benediction(It brings ceremony to an end. It is another blessing):
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Officiant will prompt maid of honor to hand the bride her bouquet. Bride and groom will face their guests.
It is with great honor I present to you Mr. and Mrs. _________