Christians believe that marriage is a gift of God and the very best relationship in which to share love and the blessing of family life. At a time when marriage is increasingly difficult for many people, it is reassuring that there are many marriages which endure happily and faithfully for many years. It is so important that we take time to celebrate marriages which are examples of love and commitment. Indeed it is perhaps remarkable that we do not celebrate our marriages more frequently. A Renewal of Wedding Vows service is therefore an opportunity for rejoicing and thanking God for a marriage. It should also be an encouragement to our children and grandchildren that marriages really can be the source of God’s richest blessing for our lives.

If you would like a Renewal of Wedding Vows Service held at a time to suit you and your family please read the information below and please get in touch with our Administrator who will then be in contact with you to help plan your special day.

Some frequently asked questions

1. Why have a Renewal of Wedding Vows service ?
Many couples want to express their love and commitment to each other on a significant wedding anniversary.  This service can be used as an affirmation of the strength of your love and your faith in each other and in God.  It may be that your marriage did not take place in an church and your desire is to recognise the importance of acknowledging God’s blessing upon your marriage.  This service gives you an opportunity to fulfil this desire.

2. Who is the service provided for?
Most people will find that this Christian service provides a special opportunity to celebrate their renewed commitment to each other. The service is not a marriage service, it is the declaration of continuing love and devotion rather than a legal ceremony. Therefore the only condition placed upon those seeking this service is that they are already legally married.  No wedding register is signed on this occasion however the service is recorded in the church register.

3. Where would the service take place?
At one of our four churches: St John’s Peasedown, St Julian’s Wellow, St James’ Foxcote or St Julian’s Shoscombe.

4. Who should we invite ?
You can invite as many or few guests as you like. Some people appreciate the opportunity to invite friends whom they have not seen for some time. For some people the service will be an opportunity to be reunited with guests who were present at their original wedding. Other couples may be especially pleased to be able to include their children or grandchildren in some way. Children and grandchildren can be involved in the service in a variety of ways. You could do printed invitations, or simply call them and tell them about the event. Depending on the size of the guest list, you may like to go out to a restaurant afterwards. You could also have a special cake!

5. What will we say?
Every service will be slightly different. We want this service to be personal and appropriate for you. The following is an outline of the main part of the service.

The Preface
We have come together in the presence of God to give thanks with [N] and [N] for [N] years of married life, to ask his forgiveness for all that has been amiss, to rejoice together and to ask for God’s blessing. As our Lord Jesus Christ was himself a guest at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, so through his Spirit he is with us now.  Marriage is a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace.  It is given that a husband and wife may comfort and help each other, living faithfully together in times of need as well as in plenty, in sadness and in joy, in sickness and in health; it is given that with delight and tenderness they may know each other in love. [It is given as the foundation of family life in which children may be born and nurtured in accordance with God’s will, to his praise and glory.]  In marriage a couple belong together and live life in the community; it is a way of life created and hallowed by God, that all should honour.  Therefore we pray with them that, strengthened and guided by God, they may continue to fulfil his purpose for their life together.

The Renewal of the Vows
The minister says to the couple(s)
I invite you now to recall the vows that you made at your wedding.
Husband and wife face each other and hold hands. The husband says:

I, [N], took you, [N], to be my wife;

The wife says:
I, [N], took you, [N], to be my husband;

The couple say together
:
to have and to hold from that day forward, 
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
till death us do part, according to God’s holy law,
and this was our solemn vow.
Today, in the presence of our family and friends,
we affirm our continuing commitment to this vow.
The minister says to the congregation:
Will you, the family and friends of [N] and [N] continue to support and uphold them 
in their marriage now and in the years to come?
We will.

The Rings
Heavenly Father, source of everlasting love,
revealed to us in Jesus Christ
and poured into our hearts through your Holy Spirit;
 that love which many waters cannot quench, 
neither the floods drown;
that love which is patient and kind, enduring all things without end;
by your blessing, let these rings be to [N] and [N] symbols to remind them of the covenant made on their wedding day, 
through your grace in the love of your Son
 and in the power of your Spirit. Amen.
Each may touch the wedding ring(s) with the words:
I gave you this ring 
as a sign of our marriage.
  With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
 and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
 Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The couple now go and sit.

The Blessing upon the Marriage
Before God and this congregation [N] and [N] have renewed their marriage vows to each other. They have re-confirmed their covenant of marriage by the joining of hands and the exchange of rings. May there be truth and understanding between you as you are a joy and a blessing to each other. May you enjoy length of days, fulfilment of hopes, and peace and contentment of mind. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you; the Lord mercifully grant you the riches of his grace, that you may please him both in body and soul, and, living together in faith and love, may receive the blessings of eternal life. May God bless and keep you always. Amen

6. What should we wear?
It is up to you, some couples like the service to be informal and therefore dress casually others like to dress more formally.

7. Which rings will be blessed, our original wedding rings or new ones?
Many couples use their original wedding rings for the blessing, alternatively you may wish to have new ones or additional rings.

8. What music should I choose?
Music is always an important part of any service and you may like to consider music for the beginning and end of the service, as well as any hymns which you would like to sing. You may like to sing your own favourite hymns or perhaps repeat something used at your wedding. We will be pleased to help with suggestions.  Most people prefer traditional wedding music to enter and leave the church – however our organists are accomplished musicians and very happy to vary music according to your wishes. One of our organists will be in contact with you prior to your Renewal of Wedding Vows service to discuss arrangements with you. Please do choose hymns yourself, perhaps with the advice of the organist, two or three would be normally be suitable. Please see some suggestions below.

Hymns
Choosing hymns can be difficult. Choose well known hymns your guests will know – here are some possibilities to help you try to decide.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
Come Down, O love divine
Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord
Be thou my vision
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
My song is love unknown
Morning has broken
All my hope on God is founded
And did those feet in ancient time (Jerusalem)
Guide me a thou great Redeemer
King of Glory, king of peace
Love divine all loves excelling
Praise ye the Lord
O Worship the King
Praise my soul the King of Heaven

Please make sure that the tune is the one you want!

Entrance Music

Bridal Chorus – Wagner
Trumpet Tune – Purcell
Trumpet Voluntary – Stanley
Trumpet Voluntary – Clarke
Arrival of Queen of Sheba – Handel
Hornpipe (from the Water Music) – Handel

Exit Music

Wedding March – Mendelssohn
Nun Danket – Karg-Elest

9. How much will it cost?
If you wish to have a simple service at church with just a few witnesses and the Minister present then there will be a £150 fee to cover our costs. If you are planning a service with music then a further £100 fee will be levied to cover the cost of the organist.  If you are having your service at St Julian’s Wellow and want the bells to be rung then a further £90 will be levied.  If you require the service of a sound desk operator then a further £40 will be levied.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a meaningful and memorable occasion. Whilst some people may want a more lavish affair, others will find that a quiet and intimate gathering of just a few friends and family will be more appropriate.

10. How long will the service be?
Approximately an hour which includes time for the taking of photographs outside afterwards or inside the church if it is raining.

11. What about Confetti?
This may be thrown by your guests outside the church.

12. What about the Order of service?
Some people have their own orders of service printed. This would have the hymns included and it maybe a good ‘keepsake’ afterwards. The church has facilities to produce an order of service and will be happy to do this for you.

13. Do you have a venue we could hire for a party after the service?
You might wish to consider hiring the Church Hall at Peasedown St John.  Please click here for further details

For more information about organising a Renewal of Marriage Vows service in the St J’s Group please get in touch with our Administrator