You’ve carefully chosen your wedding guest list, inviting those who will celebrate with you as you make the important commitment of marriage. They will applaud as you kiss and raise a glass to toast you as newlyweds! While their presence implies their support of you as a couple, there are some unique ways to include your guests in the ceremony, so that they will continue to encourage your commitment throughout your married life.

When Ethel and Kyle were married in 2011, they not only planned a beautiful celebration for their day, but they also asked for continued blessings throughout their married life. Honoring Ethel’s Filipino heritage during the ceremony, they chose wedding sponsors to publicly commit to offer support and counsel to the newlyweds. The sponsors were two long-married family members who promised to be a source of encouragement to the newlyweds, providing guidance to help them preserve their marriage covenants and acting as an example through their own longevity in marriage.

Kellie and Paul chose to include their guests by incorporating a ring warming ceremony. Their wedding rings were placed in a special box—a mesh bag works well, too—and given to the best man to hold. After repeating their vows to each other, Kellie and Paul asked that their bridal party and immediate family offer a blessing on their rings. The best man held the box, holding one hand over it in blessing, and silently thought of his good wishes for the couple. The box was then passed down the line of groomsmen, who each blessed the rings. This ritual continued as the family members and then the bridesmaids offered their blessings. While the rings were being passed, all other guests were asked to silently express a wish or prayer for the couple, for their marriage and future together. As their officiant, I said to their guests, Your positive thoughts and energies will bless these simple objects of metal with more than just the hopes and dreams of Kellie and Paul. As they wear them on their fingers from now on, these rings will also hold the blessings of their family and friends. Watching their wedding rings being blessed and passed was truly a touching experience for the couple.

You might choose to invite your guests to verbally show their support by asking them to promise to uphold the important tradition of marriage and, more specifically, the happiness and success of your union through the highs and lows of your life together. Your guests’ enthusiastic We will! during the ceremony acknowledges the support and blessing of your community as you begin your married life together!

—Rev. Jeri Murphy

About Rev. Jeri Murphy: Jeri is a non-denominational minister who has been performing weddings in the Sacramento area for more than a decade. She works with each couple to create a unique wedding ceremony that celebrates their love and sets the stage for their long and happy life together as a married couple.