The Fairy Tale Brides of Britain

The Ceremony Text

The Book Of Common Prayer Ceremony

The Marriage Service

{From The Book Of Common Prayer}

The congregation shall stand as the bride enters and proceeds down the aisle. They shall remain standing as she meets her fiance and all shall sing a hymn:

Then the first Officiate will say:

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in Holy Writ to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained


First, it was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God; and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord and to the praise of His Holy name.


Secondly, it was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.


Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.


Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.


Therefore, if any man can shew just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter, forever hold his peace.

Then the Archbishop of Cantebury takes the service speaking unto the Persons who are to be married, he shall say,

I REQUIRE and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as be coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.


If no impediment shall be alleged, or suspected, the Minster shall say to the Man,

GROOM, Wilt thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

The Man shall answer,

I will.

Then shall the Minster say unto the Woman,

BRIDE, Wilt thou have this Man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's law in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; (alternate ancient ceremony: obey him and serve him, love, honor and keep him); and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?

The Woman shall answer,

I will.

Then shall the Archbishop say,

Who giveth this Woman to be married to this Man?

Then shall they give their troth to each other in this manner. The Archbishop, receiving the Woman at her father's or friend's hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her right hand, and to say after him as followeth.

I, GROOM take thee BRIDE to my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this 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 thereto I give thee my troth (alternate ancient ceremony: plight thee my troth).

Then shall they loose their hands; and the Woman with her right hand taking the Man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the Archbishop,

I, BRIDE take thee GROOM to my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish (alternate ancient ceremony: to love, cherish and to obey), till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and thereto I give thee my troth (alternate ancient ceremony: plight thee my troth) .

Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give unto the Woman a Ring, laying the same upon the book. And the Archbishop shall say a prayer for the blessing of the ring


BLESS, O Lord, this Ring, that he who gives it and she who shall wear it may remain faithful to each other, and abide peace, and favour, and live together in love until their lives’ end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then the Archbishop taking the ring shall deliver it unto the Man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the Woman's left hand. And the Man holding the Ring there, and taught by the Archbishop, shall say,

WITH this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee honor (worship - instead of honor in the older ceremonies), and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, the Man, leaving the Ring upon the fourth finger of the Woman's left hand, they shall both kneel down: the congregation shall remain standing and the Archbishop shall say,

Let us pray.


O ETERNAL God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this Man and this Woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that living faithfully together, may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof this Ring given and received is a token and pledge, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Then shall the Archbishop join their right hands together, and say,


Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.


Then shall the Archbishop speak unto the company.

FORASMUCH as GROOM and BRIDE have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth, either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a Ring, and by joining hands; I pronounce that they are Man and Wife, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen


The Archbishop shall add this Blessing.

GOD the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you, and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting. Amen.


Then shall follow the lesson, read by a honorable friend or relative of Bride and Groom's choice.

   The Lesser Litany Vesicles and Responses shall be sung by the Minor Cannon and the Choirs.

Lord have mercy upon us

Christ have mercy upon us

Lord have mercy upon us


V.  O Lord save Thy servant and Thy handmaid

R.  Who put their trust in Thee

V.  O Lord send them help from Thy holy place

R.  And evermore defend them

V.  Be unto them a tower of strength

R.  From the face of their enemy

V.  O Lord hear our prayer

R.  And let our cry come unto Thee


Then Shall The Prayers Be Read:


Heavenly Father, we thank you that in our early lives you speak to us of eternal life: we pray that through their marriage, Charles and Diana may know You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen


Almighty God, You send Your Holy Spirit to be life and light to all of Your people. Open the hearts of these your children to the riches of  His grace, that they may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit in love, joy, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen


Heavenly Father, maker of all things, you enable us to share in your work of creation. Bless this couple in the gift and care of children, that their home may be a place of love, security, and truth, and their children may grow up to know You and love You in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


 O God, You who are the giver of all happiness because You are the giver of all love, we thank and praise Your name for the love you have given to these your servants, Charles, Prince Of Wales, and Diana, Princess Of Wales. Bless and enrich them in their joy; grant that they may continually grow in their understanding and support of one another so that their home may be to them a sanctuary where they may ever be made new; supply them with the resources they will need to meet the great responsibilities that will fall upon them in their life of service to this Kingdom and Commonwealth; and when, as all people must, they have to go through times of hardship and trial, give them the strength to bring them through victoriously. We thank you for all they mean to us, and will do for us. And as we rejoice in their happiness, grant us all to see that it is in the service of your self-giving love alone, that true happiness can be found, as was shown through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Then shall the Archbishop Of Cantebury lead the congregation in saying:

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Then the Archbishop may add,

O GOD, who hast so consecrated the state of Matrimony that in it is rep resented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church; Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that they may love, honour, and cherish each other, and so live together in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and of peace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen. .

Then continue with the Blessing of the Couple:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pour upon you the riches of His grace, sanctify and bless you, that you ay please Him in both body and soul, and live together in holy love unto your lives’ end. Amen

The congregation standing, all shall sing a hymn

All shall kneel and the Archbishop of Canterbury shall pronounce the Blessing.

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen    

Orlando Gibbons


All shall stand to sing.


God save our gracious Queen/King,
Long live our noble Queen/King,
God save the Queen/King;
Send her/him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen/King.


Thy choicest gifts in store
On her/him be pleased to pour;
Long may she/he reign;
May she/he defend our laws
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen/King.

Then shall the Archbishop of Canterbury precede the Bride and Bridegroom to the signing of the Register.

The Dean with the Bishop of London will conduct HM the Queen and/or HM the King, their consort, the bride's parents and those who are to sign the Register  to the proper place.

After the signing of the Register, all but the bride and groom shall return to their seats. A fanfare shall be sounded and  Prince and Princess will exit and proceed up the main aisle after bowing and curtseying to HM the Queen and/or HM the King.


Taken from the Wedding Vows of the Prince and Princess Of Wales And Duke And Duchess Of York, July 29, 1981 and July 23, 1986.

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