The best dollar I may have ever spent was on a little blue book with the title A Service Manual for Ministers. I purchased that little manual on a whim and because it was only a dollar. First published by Regular Baptist Press, it’s now available through Baptist Mid-Missions. I think every pastor-to-be should buy it immediately!

This little manual written by J. Irving Reese gives a pastor sample outlines, messages, and orders of service for funerals, dedications, weddings, and the like. This manual became the starting point for my first funeral service and wedding service. Somehow during college and seminary I never really prepared myself for the basics of those important services. Let me share with you some of those programs from Reese, and then I’ll share with you my own standard wedding ceremony.

Reese Program #1

  • Organ recital
  • Special vocal number
  • Ushers light the candles
  • Mothers are seated
  • Special vocal number
  • White aisle runner is laid
  • Processional
  • Wedding vows are exchanged
  • Recessional

Reese Program #2

  • Organ recital
  • Scripture reading
  • Vocal number/congregational hymn
  • Candles lighted
  • Mothers are seated
  • Vocal number
  • White aisle runner is laid
  • Processional
  • Wedding vows are exchanged
  • Recessional

King Ceremony (Basic Template)

  • Music
  • Lighting of candles
  • Seating of grandparents and parents
  • Processional
  • Introductory remarks and giving of bride
  • Couple joins hands
  • Challenge from Scripture (5–10 minutes)
  • Solo or other music
  • Marriage vows and “I do”
  • Exchange of rings
  • Short lesson on the rings (2–3 minutes)
  • Marriage vows
  • Public signing of marriage certificate
  • Special music
  • Pronouncement of marriage and kiss

I’d like to hear from you. How do you order your service? Are there any special additions you make to your weddings?