The Church of Scotland is often very welcoming to international wedding couples and you will find the majority of churches and chapels will be available for you to use for your ceremony.
Three things must happen for the wedding to be declared legal
- The minister must ask the guests present if there are any objections to the marriage.
- Vows must make use of the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife.’
- The wedding schedule is signed by two witnesses, the minister and the newly married couple.
Other than that, the rest of the service is often open to a little adaption subject to approval from the minister performing the ceremony. Many ministers will have their own standard order or structure of ceremony, and most will be happy to talk you through your options and choices. Your choices and ideas are important and whatever you choose should express in some way your own individuality.
- You can have hymns or song or you can include other types of music or nothing.
- You can choose your vows from a selection given by your minister or write your own.
- You can have readings from the Bible, a poem, or the words of a song
- You can exchange rings, receive the one ring or have none. You can use any other symbol, g. light a candle, have communion, offer a gift or a special symbol of affection.
- You can write your own prayers, make a speech or be flexible in what you include in the ceremony itself
- You can play music on CD
- You can use church musicians, such as organists
- You can have a piper play
- You can have a live singer or string quartet
- You can sing hymns or not
You will need music choices for
- When you enter the church
- Any hymns during the service
- During the signing of the marriage schedule
- At the end of the service when you leave
It is very important that you make contact with the organist and/or piper before your wedding to discuss the music
Order of Service
Below is an outline of the general structure of a Church ceremony, showing where there are options for you to personalise your ceremony and what you need to think about.
|Entry of Bride/ Wedding Party||You can choose to enter:|
|At the same time from different places|
|WELCOME||The minister does this|
|Hymn||If you would like hymns, there would often be one here|
|PRAYERS||The minister does this|
|STATEMENT OF MARRIAGE||The minister does this|
|Exchange of Vows||Choose from a selection of options from the minister, or write your own|
|Rings||You can choose:|
|One or two rings|
|Ask the minister to make a|
|Other symbols||If you are having these then this is a suitable place for them|
|Blessing||This is a blessing for you, which you can write or ask the minister to provide|
|Hymn||If you are having three hymns then this is the place to have the second one|
|Reading(s)||These can be biblical or from some other source but should be approved by the minister in advance|
|ADDRESS||The minister does this part|
|Hymn||If you are having three hymns this is another possible place to have the second one|
|Prayers for Others||Names of people can be mentioned here who can’t be with you either through illness, or distance or you can ask to pray for any issues close to your heart|
|Signing of Schedule||The schedule will be signed by the two witnesses, the couple and the minister. Sometimes the minister may complete the details in advance leaving just the signatures to be added during the ceremony.|
|Hymn||This is the place for your final hymn choice usually, although you can instead sing while leaving the church.
|Benediction||The final prayer of blessing for the gathered congregation before we leave the church|
|Leaving the church||You would normally lead the bridal party out of the building|
Your vows can be personalised or your minister might provide you with a variety of options to choose from.
If you are exchanging rings you may like to offer one another a blessing. Other examples of symbols would be to light a candle together or some other similar act or exchange of gifts.
This is what the minister will say immediately after you have exchanged your wedding vows to bless your marriage.
Reading are completely optional but I would not suggest more than three unless they are very short. You can choose almost anything from something biblical to a song lyric, poem and snippet from a story or film. You can have a friend or family member do your readings or the Minister can do them if you prefer.
This is a prayer or blessing for everyone at the close of service and it is likely that the minister will have his or her own favourite words to use.