What Are the Exact Words of a Priest at a Wedding?

Updated April 17, 2017

In a Catholic wedding ceremony, a priest always officiates. Although the Mass and liturgy may vary, the priest always uses the same wording for the wedding vows. Knowing in advance what the priest will say can help calm your nerves and prepare you for your wedding ceremony. Speak to the priest who will be marrying you if you have concerns about the wording of the ceremony.

Statement of Intent

Before leading the couple through their wedding vows, the priest makes a statement of intent by asking three questions. These questions are: "(Name) and (name), have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?," "Will you honour each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?" and "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his church?" After each question the couple should respond by saying "Yes."

The Rite of Marriage

In the standard Catholic wedding vows, the priest says, "Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right hands and declare your consent before God and his church." After this, the bridegroom and the bride promise to be true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love and honour one another all the days of their lives.

Acknowledging the Marriage

After the couple exchanges vows, the priest acknowledges their union and declares, "What God has joined, men must not divide." At this point the bride and bridegroom are officially married.

Blessing of the Rings

Before the couple exchanges rings, the priest blesses the rings. The most common blessing is "May the Lord bless these rings which you give to each other as a sign of your love and fidelity." Another possible blessing is "Lord, bless these rings which we bless in your name. Grant that those who wear them may always have a deep faith in each other. May they do your will and always live together in peace, goodwill and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord."

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