I believe that a wedding ceremony is the most important time of your whole wedding day. It’s where you promise your life to your spouse – to love and serve them all the days of your life. It’s where you come together as one and where the Holy Spirit will invade, if you invite it to. From the songs to the scripture readings, Jamie and I carefully and thoughtfully planned each section of our ceremony with deep meaning. We planned it to move slow; allowing everyone to have their moment, to enjoy each precious moment, and most importantly, to be bold in sharing the gospel. We sang praises to Jesus, cried, took communion, and had our bridal party pray over us. It was truly a glimpse of heaven and for that I am thankful.
Our officiant was a very special choice for Jamie and I. We immediately knew that we wanted our best friend, Courtney Lancaster to marry us. It was important to us to have someone marry us who truly knew us; separately and together, ugly and pretty, and could stand up confidently to share with our guests what we believed and why we had been called into marriage. Courtney has been my best friend since I was in sixth grade. She was my youth minister, young life leader, lead young life with Jamie and the reason that I know Jesus the way I do today.
Our Ceremony Outline:
Parents & Grandparents: “In Christ Alone”
Bridal Party: “10,000 Reasons”
Bride: “The Anthem”
Giving of the Bride
Declaration of Intent : Short message about God’s plan for marriage
Congregational Hymn : “It Is Well”
Homily : Marriage is a picture of how God loves us
Charge to the Couple
Exchange of Vows
Blessing & Exchange of the Rings
Declaration of Marriage
Bride + Groom Communion (Instrumental – “How Great Thou Art“)
Bridal Party Prayer
Blessing of Marriage
Presentation of the Couple
Recessional : “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go“
We decided to ask our dear friend, Meredith Haake to paint during our ceremony. The idea of having a painting of our wedding ceremony hung in our house to treasure forever brought us great joy and we knew would be a special reminder of that day. It also made a nice show for our guests to see as they were being escorted down the aisle to their seat.
We asked our officiant to announce not to use cell phones or cameras during our ceremony. We wanted our guests to experience the most important part of the day with their own eyes. Since I had a very long aisle, it was important to me for my Mom to be able to see me walking down the aisle with my dad so our officiant also asked our guests to wait for my mom to stand before they did. This was such a sweet moment not only for my Mom but also for me when we locked eyes and she watched me walk down the aisle.
Jamie and I chose to have some of our close friends read two pieces of scripture in our wedding; Colossians 3:12-17 and Hosea 2:19-20. We felt these two verses truly captured the way that Jesus has loved us and the way that we hope to love each other; with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
We wrote our own vows together, promising each other the same lines with a tiny bit of variation. My favorite lines were “By God’s grace, I will affirm and challenge you in becoming all that God has purposed you to be, and will serve Him together with you as one, giving Him the glory and honor.” and in our ring vows, “I promise from this day forward, you will not walk alone. With these words, and with all my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”
As our first act as husband and wife, Jamie and I took communion together off to the side of our ceremony. It was truly a precious moment for us. Immediately after we took communion, we had our bridal party surround us to pray for us. We are truly blessed with the most incredible group of friends. As each word of blessing left their mouth and tears streamed down my cheeks, I opened my eyes to see many of them crying as well. It’s moments like these that I don’t ever want to forget.
Images by Nancy Ray Photography
If you are a bride-to-be or have been married for 15 years, what are you most looking forward to about your wedding ceremony or what is most memorable about your wedding ceremony?