Many couples today are choosing to have a non-religious wedding ceremony, or be married by a friend or family member. Yet an important role of the officiant is to give you guidance in crafting your wedding ceremony, often following a predetermined format. If you are going the DIY route, I want to give you advice on creating a memorable and personal wedding ceremony.
There is no standard wedding ceremony order, but they generally contain most of these elements:
- Wedding processional or entrance of the bride and groom, and wedding party if applicable.Definition of a Processional
- Literature, love poetry, or religious wedding readings
- Romantic ceremony music
- Attendants or witnesses to sign the wedding certificate,ketubah, or marriage license
- Wedding Vows
- Exchange of wedding rings or gifts
- A blessing, benediction, community commitment to support the marriage, and/or officiant’s sanction of the marriage
- A first kiss as a married couple
- A recessional
Here is a sample of a non-denominational wedding ceremony:
PROCESSIONAL Click here to read about correct order for the processional
. OPENING WORDS OF THE OFFICIANT
The wedding should begin by welcoming your guests. In movies, one often sees Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join ___________ and ___________ in matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
Another variation is: Friends, we have been invited here today to share with ______ and ______ a very important moment in their lives. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife. THE GIVING IN MARRIAGE (optional)
The traditional wording is “Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man” but in modern weddings many couples opt for something such as “Who supports this couple in their marriage?” or “Who supports this woman in her marriage to this man?” or choose to leave it out altogether. Giving Away the Bride: Traditional and Modern Alternative Wordings AN OPENING PRAYER OR READING
This will generally set the tone of your wedding. It could be serious, humorous, sentimental, or elegant. Typically, it says something about love, relationships, or marriages. Here are some examples of wedding readings. DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE
Here the officiant says some words about marriage in general. He or she will most likely talk about the seriousness of the solemn vow you are about to make, and the new life together you are creating. WEDDING VOWS click here for some sample wedding vow wording SECOND READING OR SONG Ceremony music EXCHANGE OF RINGS OR GIFTS
The bride and groom say something like “I (name) give you (name) this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you.” Sample ring ceremony vow wording LIGHTING OF UNITY CANDLE OR OTHER UNITY CEREMONY (optional)
Many couples are choosing to add a unity ceremony. They may choose to do this in silence, with music playing or they may create vows to say about the joining of their families. Unity candle wording, and alternative unity ceremonies CLOSING
This could be a poem, a prayer, or a sanctioning of the marriage. It is generally the “final thoughts” of the officiant. DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE
The officiant typically says something akin to “By the power vested in me by the State of _______, I now pronounce you husband and wife” or for same-sex couples, “I now pronounce you married.” This is followed by the first kiss of the newly married couple. The officiant traditionally says, “You may now kiss the bride”. Modern couples often find it strange for someone else to be giving permission to kiss a grown woman. So now, either the couple kiss immediately after the declaration of marriage or the officiant says something like “you may now kiss each other.” INTRODUCTION OF NEWLYWEDS
The officiant says “I present to you Mr. and Mrs. ________” if they are changing their names, or “I present to you the newly married couple, Jane and John” if they are not. The guests stand and applaud, as the couple then lead the recessional out.