A couple at the end of the aisle about to be wed.
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  • ~12 minute ceremony

Many of the world’s major religions have specific language for weddings that are performed according to doctrine and custom. For a non religious ceremony, it’s up to you as the officiant (and with input from the couple) to determine a non religious wedding script that covers the essentials – and any additional ceremony elements – for the big day.

Aside from the declaration of intent and pronouncement of marriage, which are legally required, you are free to put together a secular wedding script in your own words that captures the moment and magic of this major milestone in a couple’s life together.

Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony Elements

Traditional, religious-based marriage ceremonies often include visual elements and rituals as part of the occasion. Consider these ideas when working with a couple for their secular wedding ceremony:

  • A unity ceremony: Symbolize the union of two lives into one with a unity ceremony. This may involve lighting a unity candle, planting a unity tree, or pouring sand from two vessels into a single unity vase.
  • Readings: An excerpt from a book, poem, song, or other work that’s important to the couple adds a special touch to the event. If you’re choosing the reading, be mindful of material that has a religious tone or basis.
  • Music: A non-religious wedding can include music, especially instrumental selections, to be used as a processional or a recessional. Music is also good as a background to a unity ceremony.
  • Personal touches: Encourage the couple to make their ceremony unique and personal with self-written vows, alternatives to ring exchanges, special readings, and other elements to make the day special and memorable.

When drafting the script, be mindful of gender norms that are old-fashioned and don’t apply. Start with a gender-neutral approach and ask for the couple’s input on pronouns, prefixes, new or hyphenated surnames, and titles. Below, you’ll find a sample version of a non religious or secular wedding ceremony script:

Introduction

Officiant:

Good morning/afternoon/evening, everyone. We've come together to celebrate the love of _________ and _________.

Officiant (To the couple):

Welcome, everyone. We’ve come together today to celebrate the love between _________ and _________.

(To the couple):

_________ and _________, you have chosen to come together in this union, not out of a religious or traditional obligation, but because of your deep love and commitment to each other. We are honored to stand as witnesses to the power of human connection. Your love inspires us all.

(To all):

Now we will hear a reading to celebrate this wonderful occasion.

Reading

Officiant (to guests):

"You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves."

-"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo

Declaration of Intent/Vows

Officiant (to couple):

_________ and _________, please face each other and join hands.

(To partner 1): _________, do you take _________ to be your lawfully wedded spouse from this day forward, pledging your love, life, and loyalty in every season until the end of your days?

Partner 1:

I do.

Officiant (to partner 2):

_________, do you take _________ to be your lawfully wedded spouse, united in a partnership of life, love, and loyalty in every season until your last breath?

Partner 2:

I do.

Ring Exchange

Officiant (to couple):

_________ and _________, please place a ring on your partner’s finger and repeat after me together: With this ring, I marry you in the name of love, loyalty, and commitment.

Couple (to each other):

With this ring, I thee wed, in the name of love, loyalty, and commitment.

Pronouncement

Officiant (to couple):

By the power vested in me by the state of _________, I now pronounce you married spouses. You may now kiss.

_________ and _________, it has been a great honor to officiate and participate in your wedding ceremony today. I wish you both a lifetime full of love, joy, peace, and harmony.

I am honored to have been a part of your wedding ceremony today. I wish you both a lifetime of love, happiness, and laughter.

(To guests):

Officiant: Everyone, it is my great pleasure to present to you, for the first time, _________ and _________!