This is not meant to be a definitive definition of how a Church of Scotland ceremony will proceed however will give you an idea of what to expect for your Scottish wedding.
This is taken from the Common Order 1994, published by Saint Andrew Press. Your minister will be able to confirm the exact service they will use.
The wedding ceremony begins with the minister inviting everyone present to share in the service.
A hymn will then be sung. The bride can make her entrance during the singing of this hymn if she prefers.
Once the bride and groom are in position, the minister speaks about the Church’s understanding of marriage, and will ask the couple to confirm their intention to marry. A prayer is then said giving thanks for the gift of marriage:
“We give thanks to God for the gift of marriage and the special gifts bride and bridegroom bring to each other; we ask for God’s grace for them that their marriage be enriched”.
Alternatively, the prayer may request forgiveness for past mistakes and include a declaration of God’s pardon.
A reading may be given here, and the congregation may recite the Apostles’ Creed (an ancient declaration of belief).
The couple will then join hands and exchange their vows chosen from the following two alternatives:
“In the presence of God and before these witnesses I, Adam, give myself to you, Eve, to be your husband, and take you now to be my wife. I promise to love you, to be faithful and loyal to you for as long as we live.
In the presence of God and before these witnesses, I Eve, give myself to you, Adam, to be your wife, and take you now to be my husband. I promise to love you, to be faithful and loyal to you, for as long as we live.”
”I, Adam, take you, Eve, to be my wife. In the presence of God, and before this congregation I promise and covenant to be a loving, faithful, and loyal husband to you as long as we both shall live.
I, Eve, take you, Adam, to be my husband. In the presence of God, and before this congregation I promise and covenant to be a loving, faithful and loyal wife to you as long as we both shall live.”
Either the bride or groom can offer their vows first.
The minister then receives the rings from the best man, and speaks of their significance to the couple and within the Church. The couple then exchange the rings, saying
”Adam, I give you this ring in God’s name, as a symbol of all that we have promised, and all that we share.
Eve, I give you this ring in God’s name, as a symbol of all that we have promised, and all that we share.”
The minister then joins your hands and pronounces you as married.
You both now kneel for a blessing on your marriage and a hymn may be sung. The Marriage Schedule can be signed here, or later in the service.
The minister or a friend will read a religious passage from the Bible that you will have selected beforehand. The minister will then address the congregation, speaking about marriage, and perhaps offering advice for the couple.
A further prayer is said for the new marriage:
“We pray for the new marriage, for the home that will be shared, for the families from which the couple have come. For the whole human family, and remember with thanks those who have died who contributed much to our families, church and society.”
After a final hymn, the minister blesses the newly weds and the congregation. The couple then lead the wedding party, followed by the guests, out of the church.