Evangelical Lutheran Weddings

The Lutheran church was founded by Martin Luther in the 1500s.  The Lutheran religion has branched out in many directions, but the Evangelical Lutheran church is the most commonly recognized branch of this Protestant religion.  The religious teachings of Martin Luther are still at the center of the church.  Evangelical Lutheran weddings tend to be formal, but some individual churches may allow more informal services. 

Evangelical Lutherans strongly believe that a Christian wedding is a ceremony conducted in worship.  As such, the wedding ceremony should demonstrate God’s love for the Church and Jesus Christ, which models the love that should exist between a married couple.  This is why most Evangelical Lutheran churches encourage formal wedding ceremonies.  Most formal Evangelical Lutheran ceremonies include:

  • Sacred hymns
  • Solemn, traditional vows
  • Houses of worship
  • Scripture readings
  • Prayers of the rite

Because Evangelical Lutheran pastors take marriage to be a holy union, they often wish to meet with the couple several times before the wedding ceremony date.  The pastor usually speaks with the couple in depth to learn about the couple’s family, personality, spirituality, and sense of community.  He then counsels them and makes sure that they recognize the church’s support in their union, and that God will bless the union. 

There are several different ways to say your vows in an Evangelical Lutheran wedding.  One example is:
            “I______, take you ____, to be my husband/wife from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.” 
This vow is simple enough, but still contains all the elements necessary in a vow.  A more formal, and more beautiful version of this vow is:
“I _____, take you __, to be my husband/wife, and these things I promise you:
I will be faithful to you and honest with you;
I will respect, trust, help and care for you;
I will share my life with you;
I will forgive you as we have been forgiven;
And I will try with you to better understand ourselves, the world, and God;
Through the best and the worst of what is to come for as long as we live.”

This vow is lengthier, but it conveys the commitment and effort that will be necessary in the marriage and it also allows for you to add or remove specific promises to each other.  (See our section on personalized vows for more information)

For a very formal ceremony, you will probably want to stick with traditional vows, and it is a good idea to speak with your pastor about what your vows will be.  Less formal ceremonies allow you more autonomy in choosing your vows, but you should still discuss this with the officiant of your ceremony.