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Our wedding ceremony was a Bahá'í one. Bahá'í ceremonies are fairly simple in that the only requirement for the bride and groom is, having already obtained consent to marry from all living parents, to each say the phrase "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God" in the presence of two approved witnesses. We added some prayers and quotations, mainly Bahá'í ones, to each side of this.
Before the main programme, Rob Weinberg gave a short introduction to what these vows represent. This was considerably better than the description below which remains as a short introduction to the Bahá'í concept of marriage. We exchanged rings immediately after saying our vows. Once the ceremony was over there was a short period of document signing before the festivities of food, speeches and dancing began.
Bahá'í marriage is both a physical and spiritual union. Husband and wife are expected to continually improve each others spiritual life in this life and those beyond. It is seen as an eternal bond, not broken by death.
There are many laws enshrined in the Bahá'í Scriptures relating to the relationship of husband and wife, ensuring their just and loving actions, setting clear duties for the education of children and detailing frameworks for reconciliation or divorce should, God forbid, things go wrong.
In saying the vows, "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God", Bahá'ís are committing to live their lives together in accordance with these many laws, and to endeavour to improve the spiritual life of their partner. As short a statement as it is, it encompasses a great deal.
As the Bahá'í wedding ceremony is not currently recognised by law in England and Wales we also had a small private wedding at the local registry office earlier the same day, but for us the real wedding was the Bahá'í ceremony to which many of our friends and family were invited.