Wedding service: At the beginning of the Wedding Service, the Priest censes around the table before the altar as he chants Psalm 128, “Blessed are they that fear the Lord, and walk in His ways . . . ” By coming to the altar, the couple offer their lives together to God for His blessing. While offering prayers to “join” the bride and groom to “unite them in one mind and one flesh,” the priest joins their right hands to symbolize their union. The couple holds hands for the rest of the service. The Priest offers prayers for the couple and then blesses the crowns, which are placed on their heads. The crowns have two meanings: First, the couple have come into the Kingdom of God and taken their place as a king and queen in their marital kingdom. Secondly, the couple bears witness to Christ’s presence in their lives. The ribbon joining the crowns represents the unity of the couple. The crowns are exchanged three times to signify the sealing of the complete union.
The bride and groom drink from a common cup to signify the sharing of their lives together—their joys and their sorrows. The Dance of Isaiah is a procession led by the priest as he places his hands on the joined hands of the bride and groom. They process three times around a table on which the cross and the Gospel book are placed, as a reminder that they must keep Christ at the center of the marriage. The hymns sung during the Dance of Isaiah recall the themes of blessing, and the setting apart of the couple from this world to a union with Christ. The best man and maid of honor follow the bride and groom as witnesses, and pledge lifelong moral and spiritual support. The Priest removes the crowns and places them on the Gospel book as an offering of the marriage to the Lord. The priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom. The couple now begin their journey together in Christ at the foot of His altar.
The Epistle reading, Ephesians 5:20–33, explains the mystery and holiness of marriage, as well as the duties and responsibilities of a husband and wife. The Gospel reading, St. John 2:1–11, retells the story of the wedding at Cana, where Christ blessed marriage by turning the water into wine, symbolizing the turning of our passions into virtues.