Sunnah regarding concluding a marriage contract

Q: What is the Sunnah with regard to concluding the marriage contract? Are there any Hadith about the marriage ceremony? Where is the best place to hold the marriage ceremony? Who should say the marriage ceremony? What is the ruling on the practices of people in South Africa; they let a person recite verses from the Qur'an before the marriage ceremony? What is the ruling on saying a congregational invocation after the marriage ceremony where the orator invokes Allah in loud voice then the attendees raise their hands and say, 'Amen!'?

A: The marriage contract is concluded when the lady's guardian or his deputy expresses approval by saying, for example, 'Ankahtuka', 'Zawajtuka' or similar words which mean 'I give her in marriage to you', (Part No. 18; Page No. 84) and the husband or his deputy expresses acceptance by saying, 'I accept or I am content with this marriage' or similar words. All this has to take place in the presence of at least two reliable witnesses. There are no specific formulas or invocations to be said before the marriage contract. However, it is recommended to recite the Khutbat-ul-Hajah (prelude to a sermon or speech) reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him): 'Praise be to Allah, we praise Him, ask His Help and seek His Forgiveness; We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides aright there is none to lead him astray, and he whom Allah leaves astray there is none to guide him, and I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped (in truth) but Allah, He is One, having no partner with Him, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.' in addition to the following three Ayahs (Qur'anic Verses): O you who believe! Fear Allâh (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islâm [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allâh)]. (Part No. 18; Page No. 85)  O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwâ’ (Eve)] and O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.