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June 2000

On Weddings and Covenant Renewal Celebrations

Our first wedding theme issue, ten years ago (RW 16; June 1990), has remained one of our most popular, even though we ran out of back issues long ago. We still get requests to reprint it from pastors who continue to use their worn copy for wedding planning sessions with couples. And we’ve also heard many requests to do a new wedding theme issue. So we decided to do . . . both! (See p. 47 for information on getting RW 16 on the Web.)

Resources for Planning Wedding Services: An annotated list

Baker’s Wedding Handbook: Resources for Pastors. Paul E. Engle, ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994. 183 pp. $16.99. 1-616-957-3110;

Sample services from a variety of denominations, all taken from official sources of those denominations. Also some alternative services (a “brief” service, a contemporary service, remarriage, renewal of vows, and so on.) Also includes some resources for wedding rituals (unity candle), alternative vows, Scriptures, prayers, and homilies.

A Wedding Prayer

Heavenly Father, our Creator and Redeemer, we bless you and praise your name.

From the very beginning you made male and female, and longed for men and women to find love and to create new life together in marriage. Marriage, at its best, wonderfully helps us see your love for us and our faithful love for each other.

You have blessed the relationship of your children [name] and [name], and have so joined them together that they might mirror the union of Christ with his Church.

Marrying in the Lord: A seasoned pastor's advice on planning and celebrating a wedding, page 1 of 2

I should have known better. It was, granted, quite a strange request. Almost bizarre. But I thought I could work with it. I thought that perhaps it could be made into something meaningful; something, in fact, faithful to God’s Word. Besides, it was a garden wedding—an informal setting compared to a sanctuary. Perhaps in that context it just might communicate.

Organ and Vocal Music for Weddings: An annotated list

Ten years ago, Joe Galema prepared an extensive list of organ and vocal music for our wedding theme issue (RW 16, June 1990). Here he provides several new pieces with very complete and helpful information, including publisher, suggested use, key, timing, and level of difficulty.

Rather than repeat the entire original list (of five very full pages), we present here his additions. However, the entire updated list is available for downloading from our website:


Contemporary Songs for Weddings: An annotated list

“Household of Faith” by Brent Lamb and John Rosasco. Solo version in The Greatest Love (Sparrow; cassette available); duet version (low, medium/high voice) in Wedding Music (Word) and Enter In—101 Solos and Duets (Lillenas); moderate.

A couple’s commitment to build their marriage and family on a Christian foundation. For the conclusion of a marriage ceremony or during the unity candle ceremony.

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs for Weddings

Some weddings are primarily a dialogue between the wedding couple and the presiding minister, but it needn’t be so. Inviting the gathered wedding guests to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” provides a corporate opportunity to express musical praise for God’s love to us, to offer sung prayers for the wedding couple, and to encourage everyone to practice the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.

A Wedding Sampler: Resources for the wedding service

Each denomination has one or more wedding forms that are good starting places for planning a wedding service. Many other creative resources are also available. Several samples are included here from sources briefly reviewed on p. 45.

Affirmation by Families and Congregation

Do you, the families of [name] and [name],
give your love and blessing to this new family?
We do.
We (I) give our (my) blessing and promise our (my) loving support.

Wedding Wonders: How could she tell her daughter that life would be so much worse--and so much better--than her wedding?

With a month to go before the day to end all days; with little left to plan but some finishing touches on the gourmet lunch Crissy had finally decided on (after rejecting her mother’s advice to keep it simple); with what seemed an entire year of intensive research and development on weddings behind both of them; with Crissy’s crumpled Kleenex still sitting on the table, wet with tears shed voluminously about whether she’d picked the perfect colors—Anne Blanchard, mother of the bride-to-be, grabbed a bottle of wine from the cupboard abo

Worship -- taking a closer look: A four-week teaching series with resources for worship planning, sermon discussion, and home devotions, page 1 of 2

Sermons on praise in the narrow sense (Ps. 95) and on worship in all of life (Rom. 12) are immensely important to preach. But suppose that you want to preach about the worship service, the liturgy, the event of gathering in Jesus’ name (for more on these three meanings of the term worship see p. 46). Perhaps worship has become a source of conflict in your congregation. Perhaps you want to deepen the congregation’s experience of common worship. To preach about worship, what text would you preach? Where in Scripture would you look?

On Three Meaning of the Term Worship

Q. In our congregation, we’re spending a lot of time and money on the worship service. But don’t we worship in all of life? Why do we put so much energy into the worship service?
Q. If we show up on Sunday morning to “worship,” why is there so much opposition to singing worship songs? Isn’t that the whole point?

Wedding Quilt

Weddings are a lot of work! One aspect of my own wedding that was the biggest shock to me—and probably to anyone who has helped plan a wedding—is how much time and energy are focused on an occasion that is over after a few short hours. All that effort sometimes feels like a waste of time and talent! So what follows is a banner design that—though constructed specifically for a wedding—can be used throughout the year to illustrate the theme of Christ-centered relationships.



Here’s a first for Reformed Worship: we’ve made all the wedding articles and resources from past issues of Reformed Worship available on our website: Most of the resources come from RW 16, our first wedding theme issue. We’ve also included one resource from RW 47:40. You’ll find resources on wedding customs, a wedding checklist, music suggestions, and much more.

Marrying in the Lord: A seasoned pastor's advice on planning and celebrating a wedding, page 2 of 2

Other Symbols
  • In Sri Lanka, the couple is asked to join hands. The pastor thenpours warm water over all four of their clasped-together hands,collecting it in a basin he holds just beneath their hands. He asks,“Can anyone separate the water in this basin, sorting out which watertouched the hands of the groom and which water touched the hands of thebride?” He then states emphatically, “So also you are no longer two butone, and from this day forward, all that passes through your handsbelongs neither to the one, nor to the other.