Concerning the Service

Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a
woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that
one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the
ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage
conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church.

A priest or a bishop normally presides at the Celebration and Blessing
of a Marriage, because such ministers alone have the function of
pronouncing the nuptial blessing, and of celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

When both a bishop and a priest are present and officiating, the bishop
should pronounce the blessing and preside at the Eucharist.

A deacon, or an assisting priest, may deliver the charge, ask for the
Declaration of Consent, read the Gospel, and perform other assisting
functions at the Eucharist.

Where it is permitted by civil law that deacons may perform marriages,
and no priest or bishop is available, a deacon may use the service which
follows, omitting the nuptial blessing which follows The Prayers.

It is desirable that the Lessons from the Old Testament and the Epistles be
read by lay persons.

In the opening exhortation (at the symbol of N.N.), the full names of the
persons to be married are declared. Subsequently, only their Christian
names are used.

Additional Directions are on page 437.

422    Additional Directions