Prayers used in weddings reflect the best wishes of the officiating minister and the beliefs of the couple.
A History of Prayers Used in Weddings
The tradition of soliciting blessings began in ancient times when new couples often sought the blessings of deceased ancestors or family deities. The Sumerians placed votive dolls or replicas of themselves on the steps of the ziggurats to be blessed by the gods who dwelled there. During ancient Roman weddings, the couple would sacrifice a white bull while a priest would offer the blood as a prayer to the preferred god or goddess. In ancient Jewish culture, the bride would bathe in the water seven times and was blessed after each dip.
In today's culture, wedding prayers are made by the minister, the couple and sometimes the congregation. Prayers used in weddings often include requests for a happy union, a large family or a prosperous future.
Some weddings have only one prayer but many have several. There are different types of prayers and there are different placements for prayers, like ceremonial prayers and dinner prayers at wedding receptions. Ministers often refer to holy books like the Bible to find examples of prayers to use at different times. Here are some examples of prayers at different places in a wedding.
- Benediction: The congregation and the couple are blessed and the preferred deity is invited to witness the event.
- Communion prayers: Christian couples sometimes take communion at their wedding. Communion prayers accepting the blood and body of Christ are appropriate here.
- Unity prayers: During the lighting of a unity candle, the minister may bless the coming together of the two households with a heartfelt prayer.
- Wedding prayer: Before or after the exchanging of vows, the minister blesses the couple with long life and happiness. This is the most common wedding prayer used by many different religions.
- Congregational prayers: The congregation reads these prayers aloud from a program or book. Together they petition heaven for blessings on the marriage and a long life together.
Reading some examples of prayers used in weddings will acquaint you with modern wedding culture. The following two prayers are examples of prayers that could be used in a Christian wedding.
Hear our prayer for John and Sally. We ask that you bless them with a long life of love, happiness and peace. May the home they share be full of joy and gladness. May their lives be as full as your love for them is. Bless their marriage, God, with the fruits of your spirit such as love, patience and goodness. Bless their children and their grandchildren and may their family always be before you as they love, worship and work together. Amen.
We ask for blessings over this couple on this happy day. Even as they have committed themselves to one another, so they commit themselves to you also. Help them Father to love one another just as Jesus loves the church. Give your counsel as they seek your face in your holy word and in worship together. As the years pass, make them one in heart, body and spirit. Multiply their offerings and their good deeds back into their lives as only you can do. We beseech you Father, pour out your blessings
Your Wedding, Your Prayers
Wedding prayers are most often traditional wedding blessings, but you can customize and personalize the prayers. For your wedding, create the appropriate prayers to suit your specific needs. A multi-cultural family may desire a mixed blessing. Families with children may enjoy special prayers for their unique situations. Your wedding prayers should represent your beliefs and your hope for marital blessing.