Customs and Rituals

Are there Christian rituals of marriage?

Most Christian communities have developed some form of ritual, however brief or simple, to acknowledge and bless the union of two people in matrimony. Marriage ceremonies can occur in church, in the home, or in some place chosen for its beauty or romantic appeal, such as a garden. By custom, representatives of the church community who preside over the ceremonies typically function as the primary witnesses of the union and sign the marriage license, which is then filed as a legal record of the marriage. In that capacity, ministers and priests are acting as representatives of the civil authorities as well, but the ceremony emphasizes the religious context and divine sanction of loving union. Religious weddings often include readings from scripture—perennial favorites are Genesis 2:18-25 on Adam and Eve and Paul’s splendid description of true love in I Corinthians 13—as well as brief homiletical reflections and exhortation to the new spouses. Catholics, and Eastern churches that call the ceremony the “Crowning,” generally situate weddings in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy. Christians generally believe that the couple themselves effect the marriage and that the officials and assembled community are there to witness and support their union.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App