Quaker weddings and funerals take the same simple, quiet form as normal meetings for worship.

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...the quality of the relationship of the couple is crucial, not whether they are opposite sex or same sex...

- Quaker faith & practice 16.07

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Quaker marriages

A Quaker marriage takes place during a specially arranged meeting for worship. The couple take each other as partners in a lifelong commitment to faithfulness and love. Each makes the same promise, seeking God's help to fulfil it.

Who attends?

Members of the meeting and those specially invited for the wedding are there. Everyone is asked to help with prayer and support, whether silent or spoken.

Marriage declarations

At the start of the meeting a Friend normally gives a brief overview of a Quaker wedding.

Early in the meeting, the couple take each other by the hand and make their solemn declaration of marriage. Each in turn uses these words: “Friends, I take this my friend, [name], to be my spouse*, promising, through divine assistance (or with God's help), to be unto him/her/[commonly used name] a loving and faithful spouse*, so long as we both on earth shall live."

After this exchange the Quaker marriage certificate is signed by the married couple and two or more witnesses. The local Registering Officer of the Society of Friends reads the certificate out loud, either immediately after the declarations have been made or towards the close of the meeting.

*the word 'spouse' may be replaced by wife; husband; or partner in marriage

Wedding rings

Wedding rings play no formal part in Quaker marriages, but many couples like to give each other rings after they have made their declarations.

Ministry

The meeting continues as it began with a period of silence, during which anyone can speak in 'ministry'. This can be a time when the couple are given inspiration and help which continues to be a source of strength to them during their married life.

It is also an opportunity for those who attend the meeting to ask God's blessing on the marriage and commit themselves to supporting the couple in whatever way they can.

The meeting closes after the elders have shaken hands. As soon as the meeting has ended, everyone is invited to sign the Quaker marriage certificate. While this is happening, the couple and their witnesses go with the Registering Officer to sign the civil marriage paperwork.

Quaker funerals

The meeting for worship for a funeral or memorial meeting has no set form.

It can be held in a convenient meeting place, at the graveside, or both. Gathering in silence, everyone is invited to pray, particularly focusing their prayers on those who have been bereaved.

The silence can be broken by vocal prayer, by someone reading a passage from the Bible or other helpful words. Anyone who feels moved can speak. In this way, the deceased is remembered with love and thankfulness and those who are left behind receive comfort and sympathy.

The meeting ends with the shaking of hands.

Contact us

Marriages

Michael Booth
Church Government Advisor
020 7663 1023
michaelsb@quaker.org.uk

Funerals

Oliver Waterhouse
Support for Meetings Officer
020 7663 1007
oliverw@quaker.org.uk