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Writing A Simple Wedding Ceremony Script

Updated on November 28, 2014

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Outdoor setting for a Fall Themed Wedding.
Outdoor setting for a Fall Themed Wedding. | Source

Introduction to Officiating Weddings

I have been in ministry for 25 years in some capacity and officiating weddings are my favorite aspect of my ministry. I have the privilege of customizing ceremonies for my clients based on their spirituality, their wedding theme, and upon their traditions and cultures. Each couple is unique and so is each wedding, regardless of whether it is simple or elaborate. This may seem difficult to some who are just beginning their wedding ministry or business. It truly is not. It just requires a little creativity and ingenuity. In the following, I have provided a basic breakdown of the components necessary for scripting a legal ceremony.

Themed Wedding Ceremonies

This is a fall themed wedding ceremony.
This is a fall themed wedding ceremony. | Source

Welcoming

Welcoming the guests sets the tone and mood for the entire ceremony. Here we are getting the attention of the guests and they are getting the feel of whether the ceremony will be serious, spiritual, humorous, themed, etc.

When writing the "Welcoming" or "Introduction" component, keep in mind how long the ceremony will be and how simple or elaborate it is. If the ceremony is very simple, just a quick welcome and the intent of the ceremony is all that is necessary. The following is a simple example of the "Welcoming" component of the ceremony script: "Welcome honored guests. Today we are gathered to witness the union of Bride and Groom. The requirements of the State of Ohio have been met and the marriage license presented. I ask now if both have come to this union of their own free will."

If the ceremony will be elaborate, it can be more eloquent and lengthier in nature. The following is an example of a more elaborate "Welcoming" script: "Honored Guests, welcome to this celebration! At this time, if you have not already, please mute or turn off your cell phones. You may also be seated. Bride and Groom have chosen to bring two paths together to become one in perfect love and perfect trust. They have not taken the institution of marriage lightly; and hence, have presented themselves before their friends and loved ones and before clergy to be witness of their sacred union."

In the simple "Welcoming", it is one with minimal interaction with guests; while the more elaborate "Welcoming" tends to engage the guests with some form of instruction, jokes, or recognition.

Vow Exchange

Simple exchange of vows.
Simple exchange of vows. | Source

Vows

The "Vows" are the second most important part of the ceremony. Once again, these can be very simple or elaborate. Some couples even like to write their own vows. As part of the legal requirements for the state, officiants should include a statement similar to the following: "Do you Groom, take Bride, to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you Bride, take Groom to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

An example of "Simple Vows", which are very standard across all faiths, spiritual and civil ceremonies is as follows: "Please repeat the following after me: 'I, ___________, do take you, ___________, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I promise from this day forward to be your faithful husband, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as I shall live.' Please repeat after me: 'I, ___________, do take you, ___________, to be my lawfully wedded husband. I promise from this day forward to be your faithful wife, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as I shall live.'"

More elaborate vows, often very customized are as follows:"I, Groom, take you, Bride, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us." "I,Bride,take you, Groom, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us."

After legal requirements for vows, any spiritual requirements based on the clients' beliefs have been fulfilled, then any personal vows may be said at this time.

If rings are being exchanged, we would move to the "Ring Exchange" section of the ceremony. If rings are not, then we would move to the "Pronouncement" section of the ceremony.

Exchange of Rings

This is a photo of the Ring Exchange ceremony from my own wedding.
This is a photo of the Ring Exchange ceremony from my own wedding. | Source

Ring Exchange

To exchange rings or not is strictly up to the client. In my experience, most clients choose to exchange rings as an expression of their love for each other. On an occasion, there are clients who do not. Once again, this exchange can be as simplistic or elaborate as the client wishes.

For a simple "Ring Exchange", the following is a simple script that is commonly used: OFFICIANT: "Groom and Bride have chosen rings as outward symbols of the commitment they make today. From earliest times, the ring has been a symbol of wedded love. An unbroken and never-ending circle symbolizes a commitment to love that is also never ending. Groom, place the ring on Bride's finger and repeat after me: 'This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my desire that you be my wife from this day forward.' Bride, place the ring on Groom's finger and repeat after me: 'This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my desire that you be my husband from this day forward.'"

For a more elaborate ceremony, the following is an example:

"Officiant: By the exchange of these tokens of your love for one another, so are your lives interlaced. What one experiences, so shall the other; as honesty and love build, so will your bond strengthen and grow. The circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. This shall serve as a physical reminder of your vows, and that all things begin and end and begin again, as the Gods so decree. These rings shall serve to remind you that life goes on, that these moments pass. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and it is love that turns the Wheel.

Officiant: Groom, take the ring for Bride and repeat after me. "Bride, I give this ring to you as a symbol of our love, and the promises I have spoken to you on this day.” Groom slides the ring over Bride's finger.

Officiant: Bride, take the ring for Groom, and repeat after me. "Groom, I give this ring to you as a symbol of our love, and the promises I have spoken to you on this day.”Bride slides the ring over Groom's finger.

Officiant: Bride and Groom, let these rings remind you of the many turns of the Wheel through which your love shall pass, and may everything that is touched by your hands be touched also by love."

For some, a very simple exchange, is all that seems as necessary. Many of my clients seem to like the explanation of meaning. Once again, views are as varied as the clients.

Pronouncement

Couple married at Ohio State University. Pronouncement of couple.
Couple married at Ohio State University. Pronouncement of couple. | Source

Pronouncement

The most important part of the wedding ceremony, is the pronouncement. This is the part where the marriage is pronounced official and the couple now has to live up to the vows that they just took. It is definitely one thing to take an oath and words are easier to say; but actions speak louder than words and often are the hardest to fulfill.

As with the rest of the ceremony script, this can be as simple or elaborate as the client wishes. Most are fairly simple, because the couple just wants to "seal the deal." But there are many where there is a blessing over the couple and some last minute words from the clergy.

The following is a simple "Pronouncement" script:

"Groom and Bride, having witnessed your vows for marriage with all who are assembled here, and by the authority vested in me by the State of Ohio , I announce with great joy that you are husband and wife.

You may seal your vows with a kiss.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you for the first time as husband and wife: Mr. and Mrs. Last Name."

The more elaborate with a blessing over the couple is as follows:

"PRIESTESS: The Celts believed that the way you view your future actually shapes it. I now ask everyone here to take a moment to visualize a future for the Bride and Groom. As a group let’s think of the happiness in store for Bride and Groom and put their joyous future out to the Universe.

A moment of silence.

PRIESTESS:
Above you are the stars
Below you are the stones
As time does pass
Remember
Like a star should your love be constant
Like a stone should your love be firm
Be close, but not too close
Possess one another, but be understanding
Have patience each with the other
For storms will come, but they will go quickly
Be free in the giving of affection and warmth
Make love often, and be sensuous with one another
Have no fear and let not the way of words
Of the unenlightened give you unease
For the Goddess and the God are with you
Now and Always.

PRIESTESS: As the Goddess and the God, and all those present are witness to this Rite, and by the power invested in me by the State of Ohio, I now proclaim you Husband and Wife! Blessed Be!

Bride and Groom turn and face your friends and family.

'I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Last Name.'"

At this time, sometimes the officiant will provide additional instructions for guests for the reception. Then they will walk to the back and receive guests along with the couple. It is a matter of the clergy's preference and time as to whether he or she stays for the reception. It is definitely appropriate if he or she chooses to stay.


Elopement on Thanksgiving

A Simple Thanksgiving ceremony. They were a delight to work with and had such a spirit of gratitude.
A Simple Thanksgiving ceremony. They were a delight to work with and had such a spirit of gratitude. | Source

Sample Wedding Ceremony Script

The following ceremony is a sample of a Simple Themed Wedding Ceremony officiated on Thanksgiving. It reflects the mood and tone of the special day, but is simple enough to completed within a ten to fifteen minute period of time. It fulfills all of the requirements for a legal ceremony within the State of Ohio.

A SIMPLE THANKSGIVING WEDDING CEREMONY

WELCOME:

Today is a day we celebrate the things and people that have enriched our lives by expressing our gratitude. {Groom’s name} and {Bride’s name}, you have chosen this special day, in the presence of these witnessed, to express a lifetime of gratitude to one another. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It urns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” (Melody Beattie)

VOWS:

To the Groom: Do you {Groom’s name} come to this marriage of your own accord? If so, answer “I do.” I do.

To the Bride: Do you {Bride’s name} come to this marriage of your own accord? If so, answer “I do.” I do.

To the Groom: Do you, {Groom’s name}, take {Bride’s name} to be your lawfully wedded wife. If so, please say “I do.” I do.

{Groom’s name}, you may now express your own vows to {Bride’s name}.

To the Bride: Do you, {Bride’s name}, take {Groom’s name} to be your lawfully wedded husband. If so, please say “I do.” I do.

{Bride’s name}, you may now express your own vows to {Groom’s name}.

RING EXCHANGE:

Are there rings? The rings are presented to the minister.

These rings are an endless circle. The circle represents many things in marriage. It represents the endless love you have for one another. It represents the completeness of your bonds—for you each complete the other. It is worn on the left ring finger, the vein considered to lead straight to the heart. This ring symbolizes the enclosure of your heart to your spouse—a promise of fidelity. And on this Thanksgiving Day, a representation that you will forever be thankful for having the other in your life.

To the Groom: {Groom’s name} place this ring on {Bride’s name} and repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed. Let it serve as a reminder of the promises I have made to you on this our wedding day.

To the Bride: {Bride’s name} place this ring on {Groom’s name} and repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed. Let it serve as a reminder of the promises I have made to you on this our wedding day.

PRONOUNCEMENT:

{Groom’s name} and {Bride’s name} have come of their own accord, and stood before me in the presence of these witnesses and have made promises to one another. You have accepted that you take each other to legally be the spouse of the other. You have fulfilled the legal requirements of the State of {State Name}. By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

{Groom’s name}, you may now kiss your Bride.

Conclusion

Wedding scripts do not have to be difficult to put together for the new wedding officiant. They are relatively easy and there are definitely plenty of ministry helps available. Keep in mind that not all officiants work well with all clients. Do not be afraid to let a client know that you feel someone else may work better with them. This is their special day.

Wedding Officiants

Who did you have officiate your wedding ceremony?

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© 2014 Rev. Candy Lacey-Partlow

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