How to Write Your Own Wedding Ceremony from Scratch
Do you have to write your own wedding ceremony from scratch? More and more I see that couples have to write their own wedding ceremony from scratch. This is because so many friends and family are asked to stand in as the wedding officiant, rather than a professional wedding officiant being hired for the wedding ceremony. Even I did this very thing 12+ years ago, when our good friend, Tonny Gardiner, married Larry and I. With that in mind, today I’m going to share a wedding ceremony template to help you write your own ceremony from scratch. I will also share my own full wedding ceremony text at the end. I hope you find this ceremony template useful if you are also writing your wedding ceremony from scratch!
One caveat for this template. This is based on a generic Christian ceremony. If you wish to incorporate different cultures, and customs, go for it! Click through for more information on Hindu and Jewish wedding ceremony traditions. If you are having your wedding ceremony in a house of worship, or are hiring a professional officiant, they will do most-to-all of this for you!
PARTS OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY
Let’s talk about some of these wedding ceremony sections.
Processional (one to three songs): Typically there will be the seating of VIP family, followed by the processional of the wedding party, finally the entrance of the bride/groom/brides/grooms. You can play one song for all of this. Or you could use one song for most of this, and change songs for the final entrance. Alternatively, you might also select a song for the family, a song for the wedding party, and a song for the finale. I probably wouldn’t do more than 3 songs, as shorter song snippets will lose their impact on the audience.
Welcome remarks: This is a general welcome to the guests, and remind them why they are gathered today. This can be short if the officiant is giving their own remarks later. If they are not giving personal remarks, this section can be a longer section to reflect on the joys of weddings and marriage. This might also be a time when the people who escorted the last person down the aisle is asked a question (i.e. Who gives this woman…?) If no such question is to be asked, then the escorts should hug & kiss the couple before they take their seat(s).
Readings: These are optional; I do see couples do 1 or 2 most often. This allows for some additional content that speaks to you, and gives you a chance to involve more friends or family members in your wedding ceremony. I have blogged some of my favorite wedding ceremony readings: dinosaurs, equality, updated equality, and the velveteen rabbit.
Personal remarks by the officiant: This is an optional section. You shouldn’t write this for your officiant. But if your officiant isn’t particularly verbose, again, you can skip this.
Declaration of Intent: This is where the officiant asks each person a “Do you…” or “Will you…” question, and you reply with an “I do” or an “I will.” This lets the audience know that you know why you are there and what you intend to do (get married.)
Exchange of Vows: These are your promises to each other. You say them in this public way to express the depth of love and commitment to all who will listen. Here is a traditional version:
“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”
Exchange of Rings: This tradition originated in ancient Egypt, and the left hand ring finger is believed to have the ‘Vena Amoris’ or the ‘Vein of Love’ said to be directly connected to the heart. The exchange of rings is done as a visible representation of the vows you’ve just exchanged.
“_________, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and of the vows I have just spoken.”
Declaration of Marriage: The officiant affirms the power or authority vested in them to pronounce that you are now a legally married couple.
Introduction (could be swapped with first kiss): The officiant will say something like “Ladies and gentleman, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce to you, for the first time… .” You will have to decide how you want to be introduced at the end of the wedding ceremony. If aren’t sure about any future name changes, you can say something like “The Newlyweds, Peter and Joe!”
REAL WEDDING CEREMONIES
An indoor Catholic wedding ceremony in Washington DC. Click to see more from this DC wedding.
As promised, I’m ending this post with a link to my own personal wedding ceremony text. Feel free to borrow from it as you desire – I’m happy to help you in any way!