Being asked to officiate a wedding can be very rewarding. However, you may find yourself presented with a task that involves a bit more work than you initially thought. If the couple in question belongs to a faith you’re not too familiar with, then you have to dedicate a good chunk of time to research. When presented with the task of creating a script for a Buddhist wedding ceremony, for example, there are a few key points to hit throughout the event. Use this guide to create a script that will perfectly reflect the couple’s beliefs.
The First Step
Before you can create a script, you need to know more about the beliefs of the couple. The rituals and customs surrounding Buddhism often vary from culture to culture, and in some cases even from one family to another. Making assumptions about certain traditions can lead you to develop a script that is completely and utterly incorrect. To be the best possible Buddhist wedding officiant, sit down with the couple in advance and learn more about the beliefs they hold dear and the traditions that matter most.
The Overall Concept
Though the customs will vary, many Buddhists concur when it comes to the purpose of marriage. Essentially, marriage is viewed as a spiritual choice that the couple comes to of their own volition. The couple cannot go about marriage in a “wrong” way, because there are no cosmic rules governing such matters. Instead, Buddhists will refer to the writings and teachings of the Buddha to learn more about how to best create happiness with a partner.
Often, the ceremony at a Buddhist wedding will feel more like a celebration of the couple’s choice. The mood will be light and fun, with a mixture of traditional and modern customs included.
As the officiant, your main task is to fill the role required by the law. Since Buddhist wedding traditions are a bit more relaxed, your presence ensures that all of the legal points are hit to make the union a binding one. However, couples may also ask representatives of their religion to take part in the ceremony in other ways. It is common for monks to attend such celebrations and offer blessings to the couple, though certain family members or friends might also want to make an offering or speech.
The flow of the wedding is for the couple to determine. The officiant will fill out the proper lines on the license and verify that the ceremony took place of the couple’s own free will and before witnesses.
The Mix of Traditions
It is also common for couples to include a mix of non-religious traditions in their ceremonies. Though not a part of the standard Buddhist wedding vow, countless couples exchange rings because they like the symbolism behind the gesture. The ceremony will usually involve some type of unity ritual, whether it is an exchange of rings or another tradition that the couple finds particularly meaningful.
When breaking down your role in the ceremony, consult with the couple on which customs they wish to include. There is no one specific way that a standard Buddhist weddings ceremony will look, so these preliminary discussions with the couple will prove invaluable in the long run.
The Final Tasks
Since there are many ways to go about creating a Buddhist marriage ceremony, you should not make any assumptions. While reviewing examples of other Buddhist weddings online can give you a little bit of perspective, the finished product will be entirely determined by the couple. As long as you sit down and have an in-depth discussion on what their Buddha wedding vows should entail, you will have no trouble creating an event that perfectly captures the reason for the gathering.