When it comes to your wedding ceremony script, finding the right wording can be tricky. Especially if you’re not having a religious ceremony with a standard set of wording (like Jewish or Catholic or Hindu weddings)…it can be hard to know where to start!
So, we reached out to several of our favorite officiants to gather their wedding ceremony script ideas, below. But first, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind when crafting your perfect wedding ceremony:
What is a Typical Wedding Ceremony Script?
Your wedding ceremony script is the outline for your wedding ceremony, including who says what and when. While what is said will vary based on whether you’re having a religious wedding ceremony or not, a general outline for a wedding ceremony is below:
- Wedding processional (when the wedding party walks down the aisle)
- Welcome/Introduction from the officiant (also known as an Invocation)
- Readings and/or personal stories about the couple (as told by the officiant or chosen wedding party members)
- Vows (your promises to your partner)
- Ring exchange (where your officiant has you repeat after them as you place the ring on each other’s finger)
- Pronouncement (the officiant pronounces the couple married)
- First kiss
- Recessional (the couple and wedding party walk back up the aisle and exit the ceremony venue)
How Can You Make it Your Own?
While most religious weddings (especially those taking place in a house of worship) don’t allow for a ton of flexibility when it comes to your wedding ceremony script, most couples getting married today are opting for spiritual or civil wedding ceremonies, which do offer more ways to make it unique to you and your partner. Here are 7 ways you can make your wedding ceremony your own:
1. Find a Reading You Connect With
Aside from your vows (more on those, below), choosing a reading that means a lot to you and your partner is a great way to personalize your wedding ceremony.
If there’s a song that the couple love together, read the lyrics of the song or have a musician sing and play the song in the middle of the ceremony. Why not? [You can] write your own rules.Tanya Pushkine, wedding officiant and vow writer (aka “The Vow Whisperer”)
2. Write Your Own Wedding Vows
If you are not having a religious wedding (with the exception of Jewish weddings, where vows are not customary, but many modern couples are choosing to include them anyway) you should seriously consider writing your own vows. They will give guests a glimpse into your love story, and will help personalize your wedding ceremony. Just make sure not to leave them until the last minute, and keep them less than 500 words!
**For pro tips on how to write the best wedding vows ever (and what to leave out) download our amazing new wedding guide.**
3. Choose Music That Means Something
Music also does A LOT to help personalize your wedding ceremony. If you’re not getting married in a religious venue, opt for music that speaks to you as a couple. You can pick music for your wedding party processional, when you and your partner walk down the aisle, and your recessional. And don’t forget to play music while guests are being seated! It definitely helps to create a memorable wedding ceremony vibe.
WGM Says: Most churches will require you to choose songs from a pre-approved list, and may also have rules as to how it can be played (IE: Organ only, acoustic guitar, no speakers allowed, etc.)
4. Honor Your Heritage or Family Traditions
There are several religious and non-religious traditions that you can incorporate throughout your wedding ceremony that will make it even more special. A few we love are:
Candle Lighting/Unity Candle: The couple each takes a smaller pre-lit candle and both light the larger candle in the middle. Alternatively this can be done by the mothers of the couple to represent two families coming together.
Handfasting: The couple has their hands tied together as an act of unity in this Celtic tradition.
Blanket Ceremony: Typically practiced during Cherokee ceremonies, the mothers of the couple will drape each of them in blue blankets to represent sorrow for their lives without each other. After they are married, the officiant or other relatives will remove the blue blankets and wrap the couple in one white blanket so they can enter their new chapter with happiness.
Smashing of the Glass: A glass or lightbulb—covered in a napkin or cloth—is smashed by the groom or couple at the end of a Jewish ceremony to represent that joy is fragile and must be nurtured, among other things.
5. Have a Family Member or Friend Marry You
Chances are no officiant knows you both better than your sister…friend who set you up on that blind date…or favorite Uncle!
Having someone you love marry you and your partner will instantly make your wedding ceremony feel that much more special, especially when they can share stories that nobody else knows. Just make sure that you choose someone who is up for the job, because it’s a big one! You’ll want to not only give them plenty of time to prepare, but make sure they’re excited for the important role!
Choose somebody—a friend…family member—who is comfortable speaking in public. That’s number one.Tanya Pushkine, who also helps friends and family members who have to officiate a wedding.
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6. Involve Your Guests
Months or weeks before the wedding ask guests (within your invitation suite or ideally on your wedding website) to share their advice for a happy relationship/marriage. Then, incorporate their advice throughout your ceremony script.
You can also choose to involve them in a wedding tradition that you choose (like the ones mentioned above). They could partake in a ring warming ceremony, where the rings are passed around and each guest gives them their blessing. Or, you can give each guest a stone to give their well wishes to, which you can then display outside your new home!
WGM Says: When writing your wedding ceremony script, share stories and readings that your guests can relate to. That means you can skip the inside jokes that will leave guests scratching their heads! The same goes for your wedding vows!
7. Keep it Short and Sweet
While the length of your ceremony might not be the most heartwarming topic, trust us when we tell you it matters…a lot! The perfect ceremony length is 30 minutes (unless you are having a mass, which could double the time). This will ensure your guests are focused, happy and ready to dance the night away!
Wedding Ceremony Script Examples
Now that you know what every basic wedding ceremony should contain, you can get into the actual script for your big day. While your script will vary depending on whether it’s religious, spiritual, or secular, these scripts will hopefully help give you some ideas based on the type of ceremony you choose.
Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony Script
A non-religious wedding has the most flexibility of any ceremony type, but that can also make it more complicated to plan! After all, if you can more or less do anything you want, how do you choose the best option? The key is personalization: From your readings to your vows and even the words you speak for your ring exchange. Make sure to incorporate both of your personalities.
Hello and welcome! What a beautiful moment this is that you are all here to celebrate the union of PARTNER A and PARTNER B. Your support has helped lead them down the aisle as the couple they are today, and I know they are truly touched that you are here.
(Story of how the couple met, or what the officiant has learned from their time with the couple)
PARTNER A and PARTNER B have chosen to let their favorite song be read aloud to encapsulate how they feel about this moment, and they would love it if you could read along. On the back of your ceremony program you will find the lyrics to [INSERT SONG NAME HERE], which they first listened to together when [SHARE STORY OF THE MEANING BEHIND THE SONG].
Happiness is You by Johnny Cash
Way down the mountain I chased a moonbeam
On the beach I built sand castles too
My moonbeams faded my castles tumbled
All of this was meaningless ’cause happiness is you
No more chasing moonbeams or catching falling stars
I know now my pot of gold is anywhere you are
My heart won’t miss you my heart goes with you
Loneliness is emptiness but happiness is you
I tried to doubt you and live without you
Tried to deny but I love you like a do
But I realize now and I’ll admit it
You’ll always be a part of me ’cause happiness is you
No more chasing moonbeams or catching falling stars
I know now my pot of gold is anywhere you are
My heart won’t miss you my heart goes with you
Loneliness is emptiness, and happiness is you
Declaration of Intent[Officiant]
PARTNER A, do you take PARTNER B, to be your wife/husband? Do you promise to love, adore and encourage them? To share the good times and laughter as well as the hard times and tears? To stay by their side in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?[Partner A Response: “I do”]
PARTNER B, do you take PARTNER A, to be your wife/husband? Do you promise to love, adore and encourage them? To share the good times and laughter as well as the hard times and tears? To stay by their side in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?[Partner B Response: “I do”]
Vows[PARTNER A and PARTNER B each share their own vows]
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PARTNER A and PARTNER B have chosen these rings as a symbol of their love and dedication to one another. Please place these rings on each other’s finger and repeat after me.
I give you this ring as a token of my unbreakable love and admiration for you. You are my best friend and the love of my life, and this ring is a symbol of that.[PARTNER A AND B EACH REPEAT AND GIVE EACH OTHER THE RINGS]
By the power vested in me by the state of [INSERT STATE HERE], I now pronounce you married! You may now kiss and finally get that glass of champagne![CUE THE HAPPY MUSIC! COUPLE EXITS AND RECESSION BEGINS!]
Religious Wedding Ceremony Script
If you are getting married in a religious venue, you will likely have to have a relationship with the congregation beforehand. For example, some Catholic churches require you to be a member for at least a year. If you are dreaming of getting married in a beautiful church or temple you’ve never been to but have admired from afar, you’ll want to reach out to them as soon as possible to find out what their requirements are to get married there.
It’s also important to note that most religious venues will have their own rules when it comes to everything from the music you select to the vows you exchange and readings you choose. That means that the sample scripts below may not work for your particular venue, so be sure to check in with them before you begin working on any script.
Christian/Protestant Wedding Ceremony Script
Christian wedding ceremonies allow for more flexibility than Catholic weddings, but there is still a general outline that will be followed. Take a look at this sample script, below.
Live or prerecorded music can play as guests enter and wait for the ceremony to begin. (Your religious venue will most likely have to approve your song choice or provide you with a list of songs to choose from.)
Seating of the Parents
Parents and honored relatives of the couple are seating:
- Groom’s Grandmother
- Bride’s Grandmother
- Groom’s Parents
- Bride’s Mother
The processional of the bridal party includes the bride’s parents, bridesmaids, flower girls and other relatives.
The bride comes down the aisle escorted by her father or other sponsor, followed by the minister asking “who gives this woman to be married to this man?” They will respond “I do” or “We do” to represent both parents. Father kisses brides then sits.
Words of Gathering
God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Welcome and Opening Prayer
The minister welcomes the guests (IE: We are gathered here today in the sight of God…”) and chooses a prayer.
Definition of Commitment
The minister speaks to what the Bible says about marriage and love (IE: 1 Corinthians 13:4 -13 )
Presentation of the Groom/Bride
The minister introduces the couple, and asks them to speak of the responsibility they will take as husband and wife.
Exchange of Vows
For a Christian wedding you may choose to use the church’s prepared vows or write your own.
Exchange of Rings
The minister will explain what the ring symbolizes, then the couples exchanges ring with instructions from the minister.
Unity Candle, Box Ceremony, etc. (optional)
Pronouncement of Marriage
Scripture suggestion includes Matthew 19:16
Message from God’s Word
Couple can choose the scripture for the minister to read as their message. Good examples include:
- Matthew 19:16
- 1 John 4:16-19
- Ephesians 5:22-33
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Introduction of the Couple/Kiss
The minister introduces the newly married couple and invites them to kiss.
Catholic Wedding Ceremony Script
There are three different options for a Catholic wedding ceremony. The first two would be the Order of Celebrating Matrimony within or without Mass. The third option would be for weddings between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian. Ceremonies with a mass typically take up to one hour, while those without are closer to 30-45 minutes.
This is the general outline of a Catholic wedding ceremony with a mass, with a script for a Catholic ceremony without a mass to follow.
- Introductory Rites
- Entrance Rite
- Opening Prayer
- Liturgy of the Word
- First Reading
- Responsorial Psalm
- Second Reading
- Gospel Acclamation
- The Celebration of Matrimony
- Address and Statement of Intentions
- Exchange of Consent
- Blessing and Giving of Rings
- Profession of Faith
- The Universal Prayer
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts
- Eucharistic Prayer
- Sanctus (“Holy, Holy”)
- Great Amen
- Communion Rite
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Nuptial Blessing
- Sign of Peace
- Lamb of God
- Concluding Rite
This script is based on the order of a Catholic wedding ceremony without Mass. Prepared by Catholic Wedding Help.
Entrance song is played, and the assembly (guests) stand while the priest, ministers, and servers take their places. If it is a ceremony with a mass, the priests and servers greet the bridal party at the door of the church and all enter together as is customary for mass. For a wedding ceremony without a mass, the couple greets the priest and servers in separate area of the church prepared for them. The priest leads the processional in both instances.
(Priest) “In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit.”[Assembly responds “Amen.”]
(Priest) “Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”[Assembly responds “And with your spirit.”]
(Priest) “Be attentive to our prayers, O Lord, and in your kindness uphold what you have established for the increase of the human race, so that the union you have created may be kept safe by your assistance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.”
Liturgy of the Word
First reading (Old Testament)
(Priest) “A reading from the book of Genesis 1:26-28: Then God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” God created man in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. The word of the Lord.’
Second reading (from a book of the New Testament other than the Gospel)
(Priest) “A reading from the New Testament, 1 John 4:7-12: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. The word of the Lord.”
(All respond) “Thanks be to God”
Third reading (the Gospel)
(Priest) “A reading from the Gospel, Matthew 5:13-16: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(All respond) “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”
Assembly is seated.
“John 3:30 says ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ Those simple, direct words of St. John the Baptist, whose feast we celebrate today, summarize the life of the Christian disciple. In all things, we want Jesus to increase and our own will, our own desires, our own attachments, to decrease. In my heart, in my prayer, in my family, in my parish, in my work, in my study, in my leisure, in my entertainment – may the Lord Jesus increase!”
Celebration of Matrimony
“Dearly beloved, you have come together into the house of the church so that in the presence of the church’s minister and the community, your intention to enter into marriage may be strengthened by the Lord with a sacred seal.”
If both parties are Christian: “Christ abundantly blesses the love that binds you. Through a special sacrament, he enriches and strengthens those he has already consecrated by holy baptism, that you may be enriched with his blessing, so that you may have the strength to be faithful to each other forever, and assume all the responsibilities of married life. And so, in the presence of the church, I ask you to state your intentions.”
Address and Statement of Intentions
(Priest) “[Partner A] and [Partner B] , have you come here to enter into marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?”
(Couple both respond) “I have.”
(Priest) “Are you prepared, as you follow the path of marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?”
(Couple both respond) “I am.”
Exchange of Consent
(Priest) “Since it is your intention to enter the covenant of Holy Matrimony, join your right hands, and declare your consent before God and his Church.”[Couple joins their right hands]
(Groom) “I, [name] take you, [name] , to be my wife. I promise to be faithful to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life.”
(Bride) “I, [name], take you, [name], to be my husband. I promise to be faithful to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life.”
(Priest) “May the Lord in his kindness strengthen the consent you have declared before the Church and graciously bring to fulfillment his blessings within you. What God has joined, let no one put asunder. May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God who joined together our first parents in paradise, strength and bless in Christ the consent you have declared before the Church, so that what God joins together, no one may put asunder. Let us bless the Lord.”
(All respond) “Thanks be to God.”
Blessing and Giving of Rings
(Priest) “Bless, O Lord, these rings which we bless in your name. so that those who wear them may remain entirely faithful to each other, abide in peace and in your will, and live always in mutual charity. Through Christ our Lord.”
(Assembly responds) “Amen.”
The priest sprinkles the wedding rings with holy water before handing them to each partner.
(Groom) “[Partner name], receive this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit.” [Groom places the ring on Bride’s finger]
(Bride) “ [Partner name], receive this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit.”[Bride places the ring on Groom’s finger]
(Priest) “Now let us humbly invoke God’s blessing upon this bride and groom, that in his kindness he may favor with his help those on whom he has bestowed the Sacrament of Matrimony.”
(Priest) “In the sight of God and these witnesses, I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may now kiss!”
(Priest) “Go in peace to glorify the Lord with your life.” (Assembly responds) “Thanks be to God.”
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Script
Depending on your level of orthodoxy, Jewish weddings can be fairly flexible when it comes to your wedding ceremony script. The example below would be for a simple, more conservative script. Prepared by Universal Life Church
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Processional[In a Jewish wedding, both parents escort the bride down the aisle]
We are gathered here today to witness the union of PARTNER A and PARTNER B. Welcome friends and family! We’re glad to have you with us. Today is the beginning of a remarkable journey for this couple. Drawing on their mutual admiration, respect, and trust, they are ready to embark on the next chapter in their lives. We celebrate the love and light evident in their relationship, and wish them well on this joyous occasion.
If anyone has cause to object to the forming of this union, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Marriage is an integral part of the human tradition. Let us remember, as we stand here before God , that the vows taken today hold great importance, just as they did to our ancestors. As individuals, we make the choice to enter the union of marriage in order to share all aspects of ourselves with our soulmate. Today, this is true for PARTNER A and PARTNER B. Let us join together in prayer:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath created joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, mirth and exultation, pleasure and delight, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. May there soon be heard in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voice of bridegrooms from the wedding canopy, and of youths from their feasts of song. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who gives the Bridegroom joy in his bride.”
Under the eyes of God, together we take a moment to acknowledge the seriousness of the commitment being entered into today. With great joy, we also recognize the special bond shared by PARTNER A and PARTNER B.
As is tradition, let us now read the Sheva Brachot, the Seven Benedictions:
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has created everything for your glory.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Creator of Human Beings.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has fashioned human beings in your image, according to your likeness and has fashioned from it a lasting mold. Blessed are You Adonai, Creator of Human Beings.
Bring intense joy and exultation to the barren one (Jerusalem) through the ingathering of her children amidst her in gladness. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who gladdens Zion through her children.
Gladden the beloved companions as You gladdened Your creatures in the garden of Eden.
Blessed are You, Adonai, Who gladdens groom and bride
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth, glad song, pleasure, delight, love, brotherhood, peace, and companionship.
Adonai, our God, let there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the grooms’ jubilance from their canopies and of the youths from their song-filled feasts. Blessed are You Who causes the groom to rejoice with his bride.
I will now invite the couple to share their vows with one another.
PARTNER A and PARTNER B, the promises you make today are sacred; they are the groundwork from which your marriage will grow and blossom over time.
PARTNER A, would you like to begin first?[PARTNER A SHARES THEIR OWN VOWS OR THOSE BELOW]: [PARTNER A]
PARTNER B, today you will become my Wife. I promise to love you with all my heart, from now until eternity. I cannot wait to begin building our life together.[Officiant]
PARTNER B, your turn.[PARTNER B SHARES THEIR OWN VOWS OR THOSE BELOW]:
PARTNER A, today you will become my Husband. I promise to love you with all my heart, from now until eternity. I cannot wait to begin building our life together.[Officiant]
Let us proceed.
Declaration of Intent[Officiant]
PARTNER A and PARTNER B, it’s time to join hands.
PARTNER A, before your family and friends, do you take PARTNER B as your beloved Wife, to have and to hold, through laughter and in sadness, through challenges and successes, so long as you both shall live?[PARTNER A]: I do. [Officiant]
PARTNER B, before your family and friends, do you take PARTNER A as your beloved Husband, to have and to hold, through laughter and in sadness, through challenges and successes, so long as you both shall live?[PARTNER A]: I do.
PARTNER A and PARTNER B, this is a special day in both of your lives, and one you will no doubt cherish forever. Before we proceed, take a moment to reflect on every major decision and important experience that you’ve had over the years. Although you surely had no way of knowing at the time, each of those life events have led to right now, to this very moment. Although you have spoken the words to finalize your commitment, you will now officially seal your union with the smashing of the glass. It is tradition that once the glass is shattered, we shall all shout “Mazel Tov”.[The best man will then wrap the glass in white cloth and place it on the floor before the couple. Once it’s in place, the couple will stomp the glass.] [Officiant]
This glass, now shattered, may never be reassembled. Similarly, the bond you have consecrated today is a permanent one. Your lives are now forever joined together through faith, love, and a sense of duty to one another.
Wedding rings are a traditional symbol of the strength of the bond between two soulmates. This bond is never broken, and continues in a perpetual circle, glowing with the warmth and eternal light of two souls in a perfect union. By wearing these rings, you will be always reminded of the connection you share and the vows you have made today.
Please repeat after me: I, PARTNER A, present you, PARTNER B, with this ring as a symbol of our everlasting love. Let it never lose its luster, just as my love for you will never fade.
I, PARTNER B, present you, PARTNER A, with this ring as a symbol of our everlasting love. Let it never lose its luster, just as my love for you will never fade.
PARTNER A and PARTNER B, by the power vested in me by the state of [INSERT STATE HERE], under the eyes of God, I happily pronounce you Husband and Wife!
Kiss[Officiant] PARTNER A, you may now kiss the Bride
Everyone, for the first time ever, I give you Mr. and Mrs. [LAST NAME]!!