Did you know that Ringgold, GA is the “Wedding Capital of the South”? Well, it is, and that’s because hundreds and hundreds of couples get married there every year.
And where do many, if not most of them choose to tie the knot? The Ringgold Wedding Chapel. Go check out their website and read about its history, including some of the more famous names who’ve gotten married there (Dolly Parton and Carl Dean, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Bob Harvey from Jefferson Airplane, etc.).
Anyway, I’ve been conducting weddings at the Ringgold Wedding Chapel for a few weeks, now. It’s been interesting, to say the least. 🙂
Some of you may think me crazy, or even a heretic, for agreeing to marry people in a wedding chapel. Believe me, I get it. There used to be a day when I wouldn’t do a wedding for anyone unless they first agreed to extended pre-marital counseling. Now, I marry people the same hour I meet them.
But why do I do it? You see, the people that come into the chapel to get married don’t just walk in and say, “Marry me!” No, they have to book the chapel and pay a fee, plus have all their paperwork in order. However, those that want to get married could just as easily go to a courthouse, but they don’t; they choose to be married by a minister.
If these couples are going to get married somewhere, no matter what, I figured why not seize the opportunity to present the Gospel to them through a ceremony that highlighted a biblical model of marriage? It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s a chance to plant a seed, if nothing else.
So, I wanted to share with you guys my wedding script. It’s what I read for each and every wedding, making adjustments as needed, sometimes adding more when appropriate. When the service is over, I give the couple the script I used (with their names written in the blanks) for a keepsake, Scripture references and all.
Greetings, everyone! My name is Rev. Anthony Baker, and on behalf of __________________ and ________________, I would like to welcome you to this wonderful occasion.
We are gathered together here, today, in the sight of God and all you witnesses, to join this man and this woman together in holy matrimony. It is holy because marriage was not invented in a court room or a judge’s chamber, but in ages past by God Himself. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly, but should be entered into reverently, advisedly, and in the fear of God.
He is watching, and He will never forget the vows you two will be exchanging. And, not to leave anyone out, God also knows every one of you here as witnesses, and He will know whether or not you encourage and support this couple in the days and years to come.
To Bride: ______________, are you willing to proceed with this ceremony? Answer: “I am.”
To Groom: _______________, are you willing to proceed with this ceremony? Ans.: “I am.”
The Giving of the Bride (optional)
Who gives this woman to be married to this man? Response: “I do,” “We do,” “Her mother and I do.”
Father in Heaven, Creator of all things, we thank you this day for your mercy and grace and for giving us the wonderful gift of marriage. Lord, please bless us with Your presence, bless the union of this bride and groom, and be glorified by all that is said and done today. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen!
Statement of Marriage
As I mentioned before, marriage was not created by men, nor was it ordained in a courtroom; marriage was created by God Himself. We know this from reading the second chapter of Genesis. There, God created Adam, then Eve, and brought her to the man. Adam then said of Eve, “This is now bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Genesis 2:24 reads: “This is why a man shall leave his father and mother and bond with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Marriage is the institution in which God ordains a man and a woman to come together in love, with undying commitment, as a testimony to others of God’s love for us.
When times get hard, you don’t run away, throw in the towel, and say, “I quit!” Why? Because Jesus, as our example, said to His disciples, “I will never leave you” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). As a further example to us, even after all we did to Him, after all He went through, He still carried the cross – He gave His all.
Marriage is more than a 50/50 relationship; it’s 100% both ways. But even when one of you doesn’t live up to the other’s expectations – it will happen – true love carries the extra burden, forgives, shows mercy and grace. That is one reason why the apostle Paul tells us in the 5th chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). The sacrificial love of Jesus was to be mirrored in the marriage relationship. To sum it up, Paul went on to say in verse 33: “…each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”
_______________ and _______________, the greatest love of all, the truest love of all, is not a love that demands of each other, or expects of each other, but gives all that one has without any expectations. 1 John 4:10 (NLT) says, “This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” Therefore, the greatest advice I can give is if you want a long-lasting, wonderful marriage, love each other more than yourself, for loving each other IS loving yourself.
_______________ and ______________, now that you understand something of the reason for marriage, are you ready now to confirm your commitment to each other, before God and these witnesses, by the saying of your vows? Response: “We are.”
Then please turn to each other and join hands.
_______________ (groom), in taking ______________ to be your wife, do you so promise to honor, to love, and to cherish her in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in hardship as in blessing, until death alone shall part you? Groom responds: “I do.”
_______________ (bride), in taking ______________ to be your husband, do you so promise to honor, to love, and cherish him in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in hardship as in blessing, until death alone shall part you? Bride responds: “I do.”
Do you have rings?
The Exchange of Rings
You will now seal your vows “to honor, to love, and to cherish” by the giving and receiving of rings. I would like for you to look at your rings for just a moment. What you see is symbolic of two things. First, of course your rings are round. That symbolizes something that is never ending, a union that cannot be broken, and that is what your marriage should be.
But secondly, I would like for you to think about the precious metal that these rings are made of. The metal is precious because it was hard to find and what it endured to become what you will wear. The metal in these rings went through a furnace, through testing, through times of purifying. Your marriage will also have times of trials and tribulation, times when you’ll be put through the fire. And when those times come, look at those rings you will be wearing and remember this: The longer you stay together, the more fires you endure, the more precious your marriage to each other will be.
_______________ (groom), place the ring on ___________’s finger and repeat after me:
Groom: “I, ________________, take you, ________________, to be my wedded wife to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Joyfully and willingly, I commit myself to you and to you alone.”
________________(bride), place the ring on _____________’s finger and repeat after me:
Bride: “I, ________________, take you, ________________, to be my wedded husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Joyfully and willingly, I commit myself to you and to you alone.”
Gracious Father, we thank you for creating us in your image so that we might know You and what true love is. Through your power and blessing we ask You to enable these two to keep their vows and be renewed daily in their love and commitment to each other. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Unity Candle, Sand Ceremony (Optional)
_______________ and ______________, we have witnessed the pledging of your love and commitment to each other, and the sealing of your vows by the exchanging of rings. Thereby, under the authority of God’s Word, and in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia, it is my privilege to pronounce you husband and wife!
_____________ (groom), you may kiss your bride.
Introduction of Newlyweds: I now present to you Mr. & Mrs. ______________________.
Officiated by: Rev. Anthony C. Baker, M.Min.
So, what do you think of my wedding script? Feel free to use it if you want.
What do you think of sharing the Gospel in this way?
Would you word anything differently?
6 responses to “Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!”
This is so cool!
I was recently drafted to help perform weddings around Arizona. I was given a trial run of a few weddings over the past two months. I am now friends with some couples, others I met at the rehearsal. I like this new partnership because the owner of the ministry requires pre-marital counseling, at the very least with him, for a bare minimum of three hours spread out over at least three sittings (in person or over video conferencing).
I will have to remember to send you the link to the website when my page is added.
It amazes me how often we swim in the same streams of ministry 🙂
Have you been requested to perform same sex marriages? Although I do not know if they are legal in your state. If so, how do you respond?
I only ask because they are legal in our country of Canada, and Clergy can can be given a difficult time if the attempt to refuse on grounds of Biblical belief.
Thank you Pastor, God Bless you.
Thank you bringing up that point. I’ve had this discussion many times with same-sex marriage supporters who angrily deny that making same-sex marriage legal would force anyone against his will to perform the ceremony. However, it’s patently obvious that’s the ultimate goal, for any refusal to do so is blasted as bigoted hate. Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience carries no weight with those who are insistent their beliefs be validated.
So far, I’ve not been asked to perform a same-sex wedding. This wedding chapel does not provide them, if for no other reason than that the owner chooses to hire only pastors who hold to a traditional view of marriage.
As for now, Americans still have the right to refuse to marry a same-sex couple, but the battle will continue as long as it takes for the LGBTQ+ advocates to succeed with their tyrannical agenda. Speaking only for myself, I will never, under any circumstances, regardless of any man-made law, betray the Word of God and my Savior by taking part in the perverting of what God has ordained only to be between one man and one woman.
Hallelujah! I praise our Saviour, Lord, King Jesus for your stand Pastor. Our Pastors, as well as church leadership have the same beliefs.
It is so important and necessary for people in each fellowship to hold our Pastors before the Lord in prayer, daily, interceding on their behalf. Many challenges, attacks, obstacles, temptations come against Pastors that the congregation is not aware of, and we don’t need to be told specifics. Scripture tells us to pray for our Pastors, and those in leadership. Scripture also tells us that Holy Spirit will guide our prayers, leading us and teaching us what to pray for and how to pray.
When we pray for our Pastors, we all are blessed and benefit as Holy Spirit anoints and guides Pastors in preparation and preaching.
God Bless you, your family and congregation, Pastor.
Thank you. Seriously. I appreciate it.