What happens at a church wedding?
A wedding ceremony in the church is legally valid as marriage. It differs from a civil wedding in that it includes God's blessing of the couple, prayers, hymns and Bible readings. The order of the ceremony can be found on the page Liturgies in other languages.
To love and honour each other
A church wedding speaks of Christian faith, hope and love. We give thanks for the love that we have met throughout life. We also talk about forgiveness, faithfulness and mercy as well as about love as a gift. The blessing that the couple receives provides strength from God who is greater than us and our love.
There are many wedding traditions in Denmark. One of them is that the bride must wear something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue. At the wedding party several traditions remain, some of which are: The groom has his socks cut, the bride and the groom kiss when the guests drum with their cutlery, and the couple dances a wedding waltz at midnight. You do not have to follow any of the traditions to get married in the church.
If you want to hold a wedding
You can get married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark if one or both of you are members of the church. When you want to hold a wedding or a church blessing ceremony you need to contact the church where you want to hold the ceremony. You also need to decide about your future family name, find two witnesses and meet the pastor who will conduct the wedding ceremony.
Same-sex weddings in the church
Since 1989 it has been possible in Denmark for same-sex couples to enter into legally registered partnerships. Due to a new law implemented in 2012, same-sex couples can now enter into civil marriage as well as be married in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark, thereby granting them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
A wedding for same-sex couples is almost identical for a heterosexual couple and contains hymns, bible reading, the pastor’s speech to the wedding couple and, finally, a blessing. A new wedding ritual has been written for same-sex couples. Read it here.
Due to theological reasons pastors have the right to exercise discretion on whether or not they will wed a same-sex couple. A minority of pastors in ELCD may choose to do so. If that is the case, the dean is required to find another pastor who will wed the couple. The couple still has a right to be wed in their local church.