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The following wedding ceremony from the prayerbook of Edward VI (reigned 1537-1553) was taken from the Internet, where it had been distributed without attribution or commentary. "Corrections" of the extremely loose orthography of the day were made in places where errors in transcription were evident.

First the bannes must be asked three seueral Soondaies or holye dayes, in the service tyme, the people beeyng presente, after the accustomed manner.

And if the persons that woulde bee maried dwel in diuers parishes, the bannes must bee asked in bothe parishes, and the Curate of thone parish shall not solemnize matrimonie betwixt them, withoute a certificate of the bannes beeyng thrise asked from the Curate of thother parishe.

At the daye appointed for Solenizacion of Matrimonie, the persones to be maried shal come into the bodie of ye churche, with theyr frends and neighbors. And there the preist shal thus saye.

Deerly beloued friends, we are gathered together here in the syght of God, and in the face of his congregationm to joyne together this man and this woman on holy matrmonie, which is an honorable estate instituted of God in paradise, in the time of mannes [inncecie?], signifying unto us the mistcal union that is betwixte Christe and his Churche: which holy estste, Christe adorned and beutified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galile, and is commended of Sainct Paule to be honorable emong all men; and is therfore not to bee enterprised, nor taken in hande unaduisedlye, lightelye, or wantonly to satisfye mens carnal lustes and appetites, like brute beastes that haue no understanding: but reuerentely, discretely, aduisedly, soberly, and in the feare of God. Duely consideryng the causes for the whiche matrimonie was ordained. One cause was the procreacion of children, to be brought up in the feare and nurture of the Lord, an prayse of God. Secondly it was ordained for a remedie agaynst sinne, and to auoide fornicatcion, that suche persones as bee maried, might liue chastlie in matrimonie, and kepe themselues undefiled members of Christes bodye.Thirdlye for the mutuall societe, helpe, and coumfort, that the one oughte to haue of thother, boht in prosperitie and aduersitie. Into the whiche holy estate these two presones present come noew to be ioyned. Therfore if any man can shewe any iuste cause why they maie not lawfully be ioyned so together: Leat him now speake, or els hereafter for euer hold his peace.

And also speakyng to the persones that shalbe maried, he shalle saie.

I require and charge you (as you will aunswere at the dreadfull daye of iudgemente, when the secretes of all hartes shalbe disclosed) that if either of you doe knowe of any impedimente, why ye maie not bee lawfully ioyned together in matrimonie, that ye confesse it. For be ye wel assured, that so manye as bee coupled together otherwaies the Goddes woord doeth allow: are not ioyned of God, neither is their matrimonie lawful.

At which daye of mariage yf any man doe allege any impedimente why they maye not be coupled together on matrmonie; And will be bound and suritied with hym, to the parties, or els put in a caution to the full value of suche charges as the persones to bee maried do susteyne to proue allegacion: the the Solemnizacion muste bee differred, unto suche tyme as the trueth be tried. Yf no impedimente bee alleged, then shall the Curate saye unto the man.

[N.] Willte thou haue this woman to thy wedde wife, to liue together after Goddes ordeinuce in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou loue her, coumforte her, honor, and kepe her in sicknesse and in health? And forsaking all other kepe thee only to her, so long as you both shall liue?

The man shall aunswere.

I will.

Then shall the priest saye to the woman.

[N.] Wilt thou haue this man to thy wedde houseband, to liue together after Goddes ordienaunce, in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou abey him, and serue him, loue, honor, and kepe him in sicknes, and in health? And forsaking al other kepe thee onely to him, so long as you bothe shall liue?

The woman shall aunswere.

I will.

Then shall the Minister say.

Who qeueth this woman to be maried to this man?

And the minister receiuing the woman at her father or frendes handes: shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hande, and so either geue their trouth to the other: the man first saying.

I [N.] take thee [N.] to my wedde wife, to haue and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for wurse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to loue and to cherishe, til death us departe: according to Goddes holy ordinuance: And thereto I plight thee my trouth.

Then shall they looce handes, and the woman taking again the man by the right hande shall say.

I [N.] take thee [N.] to my wedde husbande, to haue and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes, and in health, to loue, cherishe, and to obey, till death us departe: accordyng to Goddes holy ordeinaunce: and thereto I giue thee my trouth.

Then shall they agayne looce theyr handes, and the manne shall geue unto the womanne a ring, and other tokens of spousage, as golde or siluer, laying the same upon the boke: And the Priest taking the ring shall deliuer it unto the man: to puy upon the fowerth finger of the womans left hande. And the man taught by the priest, shall say.

With thys ring I thee wed: Thys golde and siluer I thee geue: with my body I thee wurship: and withal my worldly goodes I thee endoew. In the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the Holy Goste. Amen.

Then the man leauyng the ring upon the fowerth finger of the womans left hande, the minister shal say.

Let us pray. O eternal God creator of al mankinde, geuer of al spiritual grace, the auther of euerlasting life: Sende thy blessing upon these the seruauntes, thys manne and this woman, whome we blesse in thy name, that as Issac an Rebecca (after bracellets and jewels of golde geuen of thone to thother for tokes of their matrmonie) liued faithfullt together; So these persons may surely perfourme and kepe the vowe and couenaunt betwixt them made, wherof the ring geuen, and receiued, is a token and pledge. And may euer remayne in perfite loue and peace together; And lyue accordyng to thy lawes; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

Then shall the minister speake unto the people.

Forasmuche as [N]. and [N]. haue consented together in holye wedlocke, and haue witnessed the same here before god and this cupany; and thereto haue geue and pleged theyr trouth eyther to other, an haue declared the same by ioyning of handes: I pronounce that they bee man and wyfe together. In the name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the Holy Goste. Amen

And the minister shall adde this blessyng.

God the Father blesse you. God the Sonne kepe you: God the Holye Goste lighte your understanding: The Lorde mercifully with his fouour loke upon you, and so fil you with al spiritual benediction, and grace, that you may haue remissio of your sinnes in this life, and in the worlde to come lyfe everlastyng. Amen.

Eurodocs Web-weaver: Richard Hacken, European Studies Bibliographer,
Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
Suggestions, corrections and comments welcome: [email protected]

My goal is to help all couples, regardless of their religious affiliation or non-affiliation. I respect all cultures and creeds and deliver a ceremony with dignity and respect, regardless of whether or not I share the same beliefs. Click here for a brief explanation of my beliefs.