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Wedding Ceremony Script

Wedding Ceremony ScriptFinding a great wedding ceremony script can be a real challenge, especially if you are performing a marriage ceremony for the first time, and writing one from scratch can be nearly impossible without the experience of a professional officiant. At - The Wedding Officiant Directory, we've been working with engaged couples and professional wedding officiants for more than 15 years, and our site has become a top resource on the web for officiants to grow their businesses. We've curated a collection of the best wedding ceremony scripts submitted by our officiant members, and offer them here as a resource to anyone in need of a script for a wedding ceremony.

Below, you'll find advice on creating your own custom wedding ceremony script, wedding ceremony samples, and links to both a religious wedding ceremony and a non-religious ceremony. The basics of writing a ceremony script start with an outline - the wedding ceremony template. Once you've decided on the structure of the ceremony, you can select individual wedding readings, wedding vows, and other ceremony elements to include in your script. Of course, you could also just copy a sample wedding ceremony script below and use it without any further customization.

The wedding scripts below have been created by experienced, professional wedding officiants. If you are already an officiant, we would love to have you join us as a member of our wedding officiant directory - you can view our membership packages here. If you are a new officiant, or if you've been tapped by a friend of family member to perform a wedding ceremony, there's a chance you may really enjoy performing your first wedding and want to do it more often. If so, take a look at our Officiant Resources page, with advice on how to get ordained, how to become a wedding officiant, and much more.

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Writing a Wedding Ceremony Script

Creating a wedding ceremony script from scratch can be a daunting task if you haven't done it before, it's not as simple as writing a collection of words and poetry. A marriage ceremony is a time-honored ritual which requires a bit of structure to feel sufficiently "ceremonial" for the couple and their guests. That's not to say that there are firm rules when deciding how to write a wedding ceremony script - there are no "official" rules to speak of - but a lack of structure or organization can leave attendees feeling confused and actually detract from the overall feeling of the ceremony.

While you can certainly write a wedding script however you'd like, it can be very helpful to use an outline to organize the things you'd like to say as the officiant.MissNowMrsThe most important thing to consider when writing a marriage ceremony is what the couple wants for their wedding day. Failing to accurately reflect the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of the couple being married can lead to some extremely cringe-worthy awkwardness, which is why so many couples hire a professional wedding officiant to perform their ceremony. It's extremely important that you discuss with the couple what they believe about marriage and their relationship, and how they feel toward one another, because as the officiant you're in a position to put words in their mouth in front of all their friends and families.

We highly recommend sending the couple a copy of your wedding ceremony script once you've finished it so they can see exactly what you plan to say - that way, if there are any changes they feel are necessary, you can make them before the big day. Surprises may be fun on most days, but surprising a couple with the content of their wedding ceremony will probably not go over very well.

Wedding Ceremony Script Ideas

XEDOThere are a number of traditional elements that are typically included in a wedding ceremony, as well as some unique ideas to consider adding to your wedding ceremony script. We've compiled a list of the most common wedding ceremony ideas below, accompanied by a description of each item.

Keep in mind that there are many different religious and cultural wedding traditions as well, but we've kept this list to the most common ideas for wedding ceremonies of all types.

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Elements:

  • Processional: The "wedding procession" is simply a fancy way of referring to the beginning of the ceremony when everyone walks in.  This includes parents, wedding party, the officiant, and the couple, and is typically accompanied by music.
  • Opening Words / Welcome: This is typically the first thing that is said at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. The opening words will often include some sort of welcome to the guests and a few remarks about the covenant of marriage.
  • Charge to Couple: This is a short passage about the covenant of marriage and the importance of the occasion, and also usually includes a bit of practical marriage advice from the officiant. It doesn't need to be terribly long, one to three short paragraphs is more than enough.
  • Wedding Readings: It's traditional to include one or more wedding readings during the ceremony, which are typically scripture or poetry. Ceremony readings can also be anything that is meaningful to the couple, and will typically reflect something about their love and their relationship.
  • Pledge / Declaration of Intent: This part of the ceremony is when the couple will face one another, and affirm their intentions to be united in marriage. The officiant leads each of them through a series of statements or questions, which are answered with "I Do" or "I Will".
  • Blessing of the Rings: The ring blessing is a short statement or prayer by the officiant to bless or charge the couple's wedding rings prior to the ring exchange. It can take the form of a few sentences, or a "ring warming" where the rings are passed to all the guests for their well-wishes.
  • Exchange of Vows: Sometimes done simultaneously with the exchange of rings, the wedding vows can either be led by the officiant as a series of phrases repeated by the couple, or something completely unique written by each of them to one another.
  • Exchange of Rings: The ring exchange during the ceremony is typically led by the officiant, with each member of the wedding couple repeating a series of short phrases while placing a wedding ring on their partner's finger.
  • Pronouncement and Kiss: Upon the exchange of vows and rings, the officiant will pronounce the couple as being officially married, and invite them to kiss. Typically followed by applause by the wedding guests, this may be the end of the ceremony if there are no closing words by the officiant.
  • Closing Words: Traditionally, the officiant will offer some words to officially close the wedding ceremony, blessing the couple or offering encouragement for their journey as a married couple. This typically marks the official end of the wedding ceremony.
  • Recessional: The recessional is the part of the ceremony where the couple and their attendants exit the ceremony, beginning with the couple and proceeding in the reverse order as the processional when everyone entered. The last person to exit before the guests is typically the officiant.

Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas:

  • Honoring the Parents: Usually performed at the beginning of the ceremony, the officiant takes a few moments to acknowlege the role the couple's parents have played in raising them and bringing them up to this moment when they will be married.
  • Moment of Silence: Also normally toward the beginning of the ceremony, taking a moment of silence to remember those friends and family who have passed away or could not attend the wedding ceremony for one reason or another.
  • Handfasting Ceremony: An ancient Pagan and Celtic tradition, handfasting invlolves tying the hands of the couple together with a ribbon, rope, or braided cord to symbolize the unity between them and the connection they share.
  • Unity Candle Ceremony: This candle lighting ceremony can be performed at any time during the wedding ceremony, and can be done in a number of ways. The popular version involves the couple lighting a single candle with two smaller candles to symbolize their new life together.
  • Wine Box Ceremony: A newer tradition, the couple write love letters to one another and seal them in a wine box with a bottle of wine, opening the box on their first or fifth wedding anniversary to read one another's letters and share the bottle of wine to celebrate their marriage.
  • Blended Family Ceremony: For couples with children who wish to incorporate their kids into their wedding ceremony as well, this ceremony includes the children of the couple in saying vows to one another affirming their commitment and promises as a family.
  • Rose Ceremony: There are two versions of this ceremony, one involving the couple presenting one another with a single rose to communicate their love and commitment, and the other with the couple presenting a rose to their mothers as a way of thanking them for their love and support.
  • Ring Warming Ceremony: Typically done at the beginning of the ceremony prior to the vows, the officiant passes the couple's wedding rings around throughout the wedding guests and asks each person to infuse the rings with their blessings and well-wishes for the couple's marriage.
  • Jumping the Broom: A tradition which found it's way to the states as a part of African-American weddings, the couple has a broom placed in front of them and jumps over it as they exit the ceremony, popularized in the novel and miniseries, Roots by Alex Haley.
  • Sand Ceremony: Similar in intent and execution to the Unity Candle Ceremony, the couple instead pours two separate containers of colored sand into a single vessel to symbolize their union. A great alternative for a windy wedding day!
  • Breaking the Glass: A Jewish wedding tradition, the couple stomps on a glass to shatter it at the end of the wedding as their guests shout "Mazel Tov!" to congratulate them.

Wedding Ceremony Template

When creating a wedding ceremony script, it can be helpful to start with a general template to help you structure the ceremony, adding in the specific wording once you've designed the overall flow and order of the individual elements. While it can be tempting to include a lot of different elements and traditions (or let the couple pick as many as they'd like), keep in mind that the overall length of the ceremony will depend on how much you try to squeeze into it. Most non-religious wedding ceremonies should be about 20 minutes in length from the processional to the recessional - certainly not more than 40 minutes. Wedding guests get restless and stop paying attention after about 20 minutes, so the longer the ceremony lasts, the more bored and distracted the guests will be.

Generally speaking, most weddings will follow a standard order, with varations based on the couple's needs or the amount and type of elements and traditions that are included. The basic wedding ceremony template for most weddings is:

  1. Processional
  2. Welcome
  3. Gathering Words
  4. Declaration of Intent
  5. Readings
  6. Charge to Couple
  7. Exchange of Vows
  8. Exchange of Rings
  9. Pronouncement and Kiss
  10. Recessional

You can certainly make the ceremony more complex than this, but this template is the bare-bones structure of a standard wedding ceremony script. Start with this order and add any additional elements, readings, songs, and traditions where it makes the most sense. In general, you'll want to place most of those additional elements toward the beginning of the ceremony, because the guests will expect that the exchange of vows will be one of the last items in the wedding ceremony order.

Wedding Ceremony Samples

To help you create your wedding ceremony script, we've included several wedding ceremony samples below - a Wedding Officiant Script and a Marriage Ceremony Script. We've chosen to only include generic sample wedding ceremonies here, so if you are interested in looking at samples for a non-religious wedding ceremony, a Christian wedding ceremony, an interfaith wedding ceremony, or a non-denominational wedding ceremony you'll need to visit those specific pages to see the included sample scripts. These are examples of a standard wedding script following the template mentioned above, and should give you a solid head start.

Because the ceremony samples below are very basic and do not include any additional elements such as wedding readings, a ceremony based solely on these scripts will be 10-15 minutes in length. We highly recommend keeping the total length of the wedding ceremony to around 20 minutes, so be selective with the number of additional elements you include. Please feel free to use these wedding ceremony samples for your own private or professional use, but bear in mind that they are copyrighted works so please do not publish them anywhere online.

Wedding Officiant Script

1. Prelude Music Begins, Processional Starts

2. Seating of the Mothers

3. Officiant, Grooom, and Groomsmen Enter

4. Bridesmaids Enter

5. Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Enter

6. Bride Enters, Escorted by Her Father

7. Welcome

Welcome to all who have gathered here this day to share in this marriage ceremony of [Name] and [Name].

These words, spoken today between [Name] and [Name] are indeed important and sacred, but they are not what joins these two together, nor is this marriage ceremony. We are not here to witness the beginning of their relationship, but to acknowledge and celebrate a lasting bond that already exists between them. [Name] and [Name] have already joined their hearts together and chosen to walk together on life's journey, and we have come to bear witness to a sybolic union and a public affirmation of the love they share.

8. Gathering Words

Those of us in attendace today are present to witness a statement of lasting love and commitment between [Name] and [Name]. The ceremonial union of two people in marriage, in its primordial form, is as ancient as our very humanity and yet is still as fresh as each day's sunrise. The commitment of love between [Name] and [Name] speaks of their shared experience together and their dreams for the future, of the importance of each of them as individuals as well as the special bond they share, and of the importance of their community of family and friends.

Everyone gathered here today was invited to this ceremony because you have played a special role in [Name] and [Name]'s lives. You are present at this ceremony to celebrate their marriage and to witness their vows of love to one another. Will all of you, gathered here to witness this union, do all in your power to love and support this couple now, and in the years ahead? If so please respond, "we will."

Guests: We will.

9. Declaration of Intent

And [Name] and [Name], have you come here today with the intention to be legally joined in marriage? Do you pledge to choose respect, kindness, and compassion toward one another, to listen deeply to one other, and to speak to one another truthfully, today and always?

Couple: We do.

10. Charge to Couple

[Name] and [Name], your love is something that you both cherish, so much so that it's moved you join in the union of marriage and create a home together. Today, you dedicate your lives to giving one another happiness and support. To be certain, entering into the covenant of marriage is an act of deep trust and faith in the strength of your love. It would be a fool's error to base your marriage on the hope that your partner will change to become something they are not, or do something in the future that they do not already do today. Your marriage must be based on the heartfelt and sincere acceptance of one another, as you are, in each moment.

The pledge you make today expresses your devotion to one another and to the love you share, and the words spoken here will support your marriage if you are able to sustain your commitment through the inevitable hardships you'll face together. Today, in the presence of your families and friends, you pronounce your love for each other and make a commitment that will define the next phase of your journey. We celebrate it with you, and wish you well.

11. Exchange of Vows (Repeat after the officiant)

I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my 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; until we are parted by death.

I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my husband; 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; until we are parted by death.

12. Exchange of Rings

May I please have the rings? (officiant is handed both rings)

Since ancient times, the ring has been a symbol of the unbroken circle of love, with no beginning and no end. Love given freely has no giver and no receiver, for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the freedom and power of this commitment you make here today.

[Name], placing the ring on [Name]'s finger, repeat after me:
[Name],I give you this ring, as a sign of my vow to love, honor, and cherish you.

And [Name], placing the ring on [Name]'s finger, repeat after me:
[Name],I give you this ring, as a sign of my vow to love, honor, and cherish you.

13. Pronouncement and Kiss

[Name] and [Name], inasmuch as you have pledged yourselves, each to the other, and have declared the same in the presence of this company by the exchange of vows and the giving and receiving of rings, by the power vested in me I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may now kiss the Bride! (Applause)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you, the new Mr. and Mrs. ________________ !

15. Recessional

Marriage Ceremony Script

1. Prelude Music Begins, Processional Starts

2. Seating of the Mothers

3. Officiant, Grooom, and Groomsmen Enter

4. Bridesmaids Enter

5. Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Enter

6. Bride Enters, Escorted by Her Father

7. Welcome

Welcome to the wedding of [Name] and [Name]. On behalf of the couple, I welcome you to this celebration of love, and ask that all of you take a moment to silence your mobile devices. Thank you.

A wedding ceremony is a joyous occasion, filled with hopes, dreams and excitement. We are here today to acknowledge and honor the love that [Name] and [Name] share, and to bear witness to the commitment which will begin their journey as married partners.

8. Gathering Words

Marriage is a time-honored tradition, and should never be entered into lightly. [Name] and [Name] have made a very serious and important decision in choosing to marry one other today, entering into a sacred covenant as life partners. While the responsibility to honor and sustain their commitment ultimately lies with the two of them, each of you gathered here today are here because you play an important role in their lives. As their community of support, there may be times that [Name] and [Name] will need your wisdom, guidance, and encouragement to work through the inevitable difficulties that lie ahead. I ask that all of you choose love in your thoughts, words, and actions toward them and their marriage, and do all you can to help them nurture and deepen their bond.

9. Declaration of Intent

As when tending a garden, the quality of your marriage will be a reflection the effort that the two of you put into nurturing this relationship. You have the opportunity to go forward from this day to create a faithful, kind and tender bond. We wish for you the wisdom, compassion, and constancy to create a peaceful sanctuary in which you both can grow in love. [Name] and [Name], do you understand and accept this responsibility and do you come here freely to enter into the covenant of marriage?

[Couple] We do.

10. Reading

The following is an excerpt from Union, by Robert Fulghum.

"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or between baseball innings – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.

All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another over these years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife."

11. Exchange of Vows

[Name], please look into [Name]'s eyes and repeat after me:

I, [Name] take thee, [Name] to be my wedded wife, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, as long as we both shall live.

And [Name], please look into [Name]'s eyes and repeat after me:

I, [Name] take thee, [Name] to be my wedded husband, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, as long as we both shall live.

12. Exchange of Rings

May I have the rings please?

Wedding rings are symbolic reminders of the unbroken circle of eternal love. Within the safety and comfort of a true marriage, love given freely has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no separate giver and receiver. Each of you gives your love to the other, and each of you receives love from the other. May these rings serve to remind you of the freedom and power of your love.

[Name], placing the ring on [Name]'s finger, repeat after me:

With this ring, I give you my promise, to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and life with you, in all ways, forever.

And [Name], placing the ring on [Name]'s finger, repeat after me:

With this ring, I give you my promise, to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and life with you, in all ways, forever.

13. Pronouncement and Kiss

And now, having entered into the covenant of marriage by the exchanging of vows and the giving and receiving of rings, by the power vested in me I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may now seal these vows with a kiss!

14. Closing Words

[Name] and [Name], our best wishes go forward from this day with you and we wish for you a fulfilling life, rich in caring and in happiness. May you find a gentle and peaceful life that nurtures and comforts you, and that reflects your honesty, kindness and integrity. There is a wonderful life ahead of you. Live it fully, love it's changes and choices, and let life amaze you and bring you great joy.  

 It is my pleasure to introduce, __________________________!

15. Recessional

Interested in Becoming a Professional Officiant?

It's not uncommon for people to catch the officiant "bug" after performing their first few ceremonies, and decide to pursue a career as a professional officiant. If this sounds like you, we recommend reading the rest of the Officiant Resources available on our site, and we hope you will consider joining - The Wedding Officiant Directory. To view our different advertising options, visit our membership page and click the button below to search our database of local wedding officiants!

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