Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B

Quaker Wedding

Last weekend I went to my first quaker wedding, which was a very enjoyable occasion and unlike any other wedding I've been to.

They are based on the usual meeting for worship so have periods of silence, although there were plenty of words on this occasion. Quakers have the ability to conduct their own weddings, and a registering officer is appointed by the Area Meeting to register weddings in the district. They don't actually do the marrying, following on from George Fox's words "for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses", but conduct the legal side of completing the certificate.

The wedding was of the warden of our meeting house, and took place at Alton Meeting House since she started coming to Quaker meetings there. It's an old meeting house, and quite small so it was packed with about 70 people. In fact, they had to sit a few people in the hallway and opened the doors to the meeting room so they could see in, which gave it an old-fashioned feel.

Everyone came in and sat in silence, with the two people to marry sitting next to each other in the inner circle. The registering officer stood up and explained what was to take place - which was a relief to the non-Quakers, who were looking a bit deer-in-the-headlights in the beginning. After a few minutes the bride and groom stood and held hands, then each spoke these words "Friends, I take this my friend [name] to be my wife, promising, through divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and faithful husband, so long as we both on earth shall live.", and vice versa. On this occasion, they exchanged rings, but that's not necessary.

They sat down again, and then a few more minutes of silence passed. One of the quakers who knew the warden from Alton stood and spoke of their delight in the marriage, and then other people offered their words. It was a lovely celebration since once the family and friends saw the simple process they took the opportunity to join in, and there were some marvelous words of love and support. After about 45 minutes the couple signed the certificate and it was read aloud by the registering officer, they then left with the officer to sign the register. The meeting ended with everyone shaking hands, and then we all signed the certificate, so they have a record of everyone who attended the wedding.
Tags: quakers

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