The Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

The Invocation Explained

The invocation marks the official beginning of the wedding ceremony. The officiant greets the guests, introduces the couple, and announces the purpose of the gathering.


  1. The officiant welcomes the guests. This is usually done by saying something like, "Dearly beloved and honored guests...".
  2. The officiant introduces the couple to the wedding reception. "We are gathered here today to join George Clooney and Tilda Swinton…"
  3. The officiant states the purpose of the gathering. "in holy matrimony."
  4. The officiant asks the wedding reception if anyone has reservations about the couple getting married. "If any one can show just cause why they should not be married, let them speak now or forever hold their peace". This part is not required or included in all invocations. It is also rhetorical, as no one in the wedding reception is expected to respond. Historically, this exists to show that the marriage is done publicly and that the community that the couple belongs to approves of the marriage.


  1. The officiant speaks to the wedding reception.
  2. The couple stands facing each other to the left and right (and slightly in front) of the officiant.


There is no requirement to include spiritual language in the invocation. Using words like "holy", "blessed", etc. should be used only if they reflect the values of the couple. So instead of saying, "we are gathered here to join Steve and Mike in holy matrimony," you could say something like "we are gathered here to join Steve and Mike in wedded bliss."


"We are gathered here today to unite Mark Zuckerberg and Sacha Baron Cohen in the holy bonds of matrimony. If any one can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."


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