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There is a long-established, tried and tested Order of Service that we use in the Hambleden Valley, which gives flexibility for your personal choices, and focuses on the Marriage Vows and Declarations, which are both legally binding, and spiritually profound.

It has an elegant simplicity that allows you, and your family and friends, to relax and enjoy the ceremony; so we keep to this order rather than any of the variations you may see elsewhere. We present it to you at this stage to prevent any confusion in your early planning and preparation:  

# Bridal Procession    Priest leads Bride and Escort from door to Chancel              Appropriate music 

Welcome                    Priest greets everyone informally and gives helpful notices

Introduction              Formal words of welcome and opening prayer 

# First Hymn               Couple, Attendants and congregation all standing     

Preface                       Reminders of the spiritual and personal importance of this event

Declarations               Your free and solemn intentions to marry

Vows                           You promise lifelong commitment

Giving of Rings           One or two – blessed, given and received

Proclamation             Priest declares you to be husband and wife

Blessing                       First prayer and blessing of the newly-weds 

[# If you would like three hymns, the second should go here.] 

Collect                         A prayer to gather our thoughts

Readings                     Non-scripture if desired (to be seen before please), then Scripture

Sermon                       A brief word of Christian wisdom and encouragement 

# Second [or Third] Hymn     Priest leads Couple to Sanctuary Step

Final Prayers              For the Couple in their new life together

Lord’s Prayer              Usually the ‘Traditional’ version

Final Blessing              From before the Altar for Couple and Congregation 

Signing of Register    In appropriate part of Church, while music plays 

# Recession                 Couple leads Bridal Party out of Chancel                               Appropriate music 

Most couples like to design and produce their own keepsake order of service, and the order above is a good guide for the interior layout. For simplicity’s sake, the side-headings in bold are sufficient to mark the progress of the service; # simply marks where your approved choice of hymn or music is made, which should be detailed; the full lyrics of your chosen hymns can be included* as might the Lord’s Prayer. Approved non- and Scripture readings should be referenced and their readers named.

Regarding copyright, the Hambleden Valley Churches pay the main Christian Copyright Licensing organisation (CCLI) for the right to have words only printed in Orders of Service used in public worship. This applies to most of the most popular hymns and worship songs used in weddings, funerals and Sunday worship. There are other well-known lyrics, still in copyright, that are not covered by CCLI; their copyright holders are listed in a supplement and you would have to apply for a one-off licence for each of those. Any hymn or worship song that we sing from the churches’ official hymnbooks are automatically covered.

Regarding recorded music, The Hambleden Valley Churches’ licences and agreed policy do not allow for any form of recorded or transmitted music to be played. However, we do have an exceptional organist and choir, who will happily play and sing all manner of appropriate music for the joyful and solemn occasions we celebrate in our churches. We hope this will clarify the musical options available, and that you will thoroughly enjoy the service we are holding for you.

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