Weddings at the Baha’i House of Worship
Many couples who visit the Bahá’í House of Worship and its surrounding gardens see it as an ideal location for their wedding. We are honored to assist couples who wish to utilize the House of Worship for such a special occasion.
Those who are considering the possibility of marrying in these sacred environments are permitted to hold their ceremonies in either Foundation Hall (downstairs) or in the surrounding gardens. No services or ceremonies of any kind other than devotional services are held in the main auditorium, which is dedicated solely to the purpose of prayer and meditation.
It is not necessary for the bride and/or groom to be members of the Bahá’í Faith in order to hold their wedding ceremony at the Bahá’í House of Worship. However, the marriage must comply with Bahá’í law: couples must first obtain consent for the marriage from all living biological parents; and before at least two witnesses, exchange the Bahá’í wedding vow, “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.”
Bahá’í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity….
The true marriage of Bahá’ís is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Bahá’í marriage.
It must be first clearly emphasized that the institution of marriage as conceived and established by Bahá’u'lláh, is extremely simple though of a vital social importance, constituting as it does the very foundation of social life.
An initial interview with the program coordinator at the Bahá’í House of Worship can be scheduled between six weeks to six months before the date of the ceremony. The program coordinator is available to help determine if this is the best location for the wedding, as well as assist with questions relevant to the wedding program. Once a decision is made to have a Bahá’í wedding at the House of Worship, a notice will be sent to the Spiritual Assembly of a local Bahá’í community, which is legally authorized to preside over the ceremony.
The Wedding Ceremony
Compared to matrimonial conception and forms current among existing religions, the Bahá’í conception of marriage is practically void of all ceremonies. There is no officiating priesthood. The two contracting parties simply appear before the Spiritual Assembly and express their desire to be united with the bonds of marriage.
The Bahá’í Writings clearly indicate that the wedding ceremony should be simple, dignified, and free from ritual. Prayers, sacred writings, and music may be included to beautify the ceremony, but the semblance of ritual and antiquated religious tradition should be avoided. For example, since there is no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith, the traditional role of clergy in wedding ceremonies has no place in a Bahá’í wedding.
Some Guidelines for weddings at the Bahá’í House of Worship:
- The couple must provide a Cook County marriage license.
- Receptions must take place elsewhere.
- Wedding attire should be modest and dignified.
- Flowers must be modest
- At least two ushers must be provided by the couple to assist guests.
- The wedding party is responsible for setup and take-down.
- The capacity for Foundation Hall is 300, and the gardens can accommodate no more than 100.
- Photography and video recording should be unobtrusive and quiet.
- Audio equipment will be provided for inside weddings. Amplification is not permitted in the gardens.
- Two witnesses, approved by the presiding Local Spiritual Assembly, will sign the marriage certificate.
- If rings are exchanged, it is preferable that it take place separately from the wedding program.
- The Bahá’í wedding vow: “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God,” is to be spoken separately by the bride and groom in turn.
If you wish to further investigate the possibility of getting married at the Bahá’í House of Worship you may contact the Wedding Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 853-2300.