Matrimony: Celebration and Blessing
In the Episcopal Church and its Book of Common Prayer, the church service in which people are married is called the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage. We are eager to assist couples, when at least one person is a practicing person of faith, as they prepare to be married. For more information, please review our guidelines and policies for marriage at Trinity Church.
What if neither the bride nor bridegroom is a practicing person of faith?
Years ago, when the vast majority of citizens were church members, and births, marriages and deaths were generally marked in churches, it was natural that weddings should happen there as well. Therefore, ministers, ordained persons, are given license by the state to certify the exchange of wedding vows by signing the marriage license and returning it to the clerk who issued it. In the Episcopal Church, the marriage made by the exchange of vows before witnesses is blessed by a priest in the name of God.
Increasingly people planning their own weddings do not have a church of their own, so they begin the search for a church where the wedding can be held. We do not encourage persons who do not wish to be members of a church to have a “church wedding.” We believe a wedding should reflect the values of the couple being married and should do so beautifully, and their wedding should not be encumbered by church rites that are not embraced by the couple.
In the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, we witness the public exchange of vows, and we ask God’s blessing on the marriage, thereby making the marriage both a civil union and a sign, an image, of Christ’s relationship with his Church. Throughout the preparation for the wedding and the marriage, the expectation is that the persons to be married have accepted the church’s values as their own.