The second part of the marriage ceremony "sets the stage" for the marriage which is about to occur. Here are the activities or "Elements" that make up Part 2 of a wedding ceremony. Each is accompanied by a brief description of the Element and its role in the ceremony, including whether the Element is "required", "usually included", or "optional" in a ceremony. Any "required" Elements must be included in your ceremony. "Usually included" Elements are used in most (but not all) ceremonies. "Optional" Elements are those that are used less frequently in ceremonies.

Except for Readings and Rituals (which can occur almost anywhere in a ceremony) the Elements are arranged in the general order they would occur in a traditional wedding ceremony, but feel free to rearrange the order according to what works best for your ceremony. Just click the links to go to various selections for each Element.

Celebrant's Address (optional)
Here, the Celebrant says a few words about love, marriage, or really, whatever marriage related topic the couple would like him/her to address. It is similar to the Homily given by the Priest at a Catholic Mass or the Sermon given by a Protestant Minister. The Celebrant's Address is not included on this site since it is often unique to each couple and each ceremony.

Charge to the Couple (optional)
The Charge to the Couple is a reminder to the Bride and Groom that they are declaring before God (in religious ceremonies), one another, and those assembled, that they recognize the importance of their pledge, and are committed to honor it for the rest of their lives.

Affirmation of the Community (optional)
The Affirmation of the Community is the parents, families, and/or guests chance to say "yes" to all they are witnessing. It is their opportunity to offer their blessings and support to the marriage.

Statements of Appreciation (optional)
The Statements of Appreciation give the Bride and Groom a chance to express what they love about one another. In essence, it proclaims what each partner sees in the other, and why they are choosing this person to wed.

Expression of Intent (usually included, but required if not using Vows)
Having heard about the challenges and joys of marriage in the previous parts of the ceremony, the bride and groom are invited here to make public their intention to marry. The Expression usually ends in the traditional "I do" or "I will."

Readings (optional)
There are many readings suitable for a marriage ceremony. The readings on this page are divided into four parts - 1. Biblical Readings of the Old Testament; 2. Biblical Readings of the New Testament; 3. Non-Biblical Readings; and 4. Poetry. For each Reading a suggestion will be made as to whom the reader might be - either a guest, the Bride, the Groom, or the Celebrant.

Rituals (optional)
There are many types of rituals you can include in your wedding ceremony. The rituals on this page are divided into five parts - 1. Child Recognition Rituals; 2. Cultural Rituals; 3. Flower Rituals; 4. Religious Rituals; and 5. Family and Other Rituals. For each ritual, we suggest in which part of the ceremony it might occur (i.e. Preceding the start of the ceremony, in Part 1 - the Opening of the Ceremony, in Part 2 - Setting the Stage, in Part 3 - Consummating the Marriage, or in Part 4 - the Closing of the Ceremony) and if the ritual demands a very specific place in the ceremony, we'll indicate that also.

Next: Part 3 - Consummating the Marriage