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We wanted share with you the meaning behind each part of the ceremony. All of the photos below were taken inside St. John’s Cathedral, so it will also give you an idea of what the church is like inside.

What to Expect

The Orthodox Sacrament of Marriage consists of two parts: The Betrothal and The Crowning ceremonies.

  • The service lasts about 45 minutes and is conducted in English
  • There are no pews or chairs
  • Everyone is expected to stand, although there are benches along the perimeter of the church for those unable to stand for the entire service

A couple guidelines about dress

  • Shoulders should be covered
  • Skirts should be at least knee length
  • Women are asked to refrain from wearing pants

Throughout the service, things are done in threes in acknowledgement of the Trinity. Marriage is intended by God to be an image of the Trinity. It is the union of three persons, not two. Man and woman are one with each other and one with God.

The Betrothal

Before the wedding, there is a short betrothal inside the church entrance.

  • After being blessed by the priest, the rings are exchanged 3 times between the bride and groom to symbolize that they will be complements to one another. Each will be enriched by the union.
  • The rings are then placed on the right hand, as this is the hand with which promises and oaths are traditionally made.

After the exchange of the rings the priest leads the couple in procession into the middle of the church.The bride and groom are then handed candles which are held throughout the service. The candles represent that the couple will have their way through life lighted by the teachings of Christ.

The Crowning

The bride and groom are crowned as the king and queen of their own small kingdom, the home. The crowns, held by the groomsmen, are a sign of glory and honor. As marriage involves self-sacrifice, they also represent the crowns of martyrdom.

 The Walk

The priest leads the bride and groom in their first steps as a married couple. They walk three counterclockwise turns around the table to symbolize their union with Christ.

(A big thanks to Jerry & Meredith Keybl for letting us use their beautiful wedding photos!)