A wedding ceremony marks the formal start to a couple's life as married spouses, but not all weddings need to follow the same framework. When it comes to the ceremony itself, couples have a lot of flexibility in what the proceedings look like. There are some basic components of a legal marriage ceremony that must be included, of course. But beyond that, a wedding can be as traditional (or non-traditional) as the couple pleases.
Some soon-to-be-weds choose to structure their ceremony according to various religious and cultural norms, while others opt for a ceremony that is non-traditional in one or more aspects.
What does it mean to have a “non-traditional” ceremony? It could involve a ceremony in an unusual location, under unusual circumstances, or feature elements not normally found in a typical wedding ceremony.
Whereas traditional scripts are often associated with decades old (or even centuries old) customs, a non-traditional script may take the ceremony in an entirely new direction. Such an event might be an ideal match for an officiant willing to break the mold themselves – such as a friend or family member who gets ordained online.
The engaged couple may simply want a ceremony that is completely unique to them, as opposed to a cookie-cutter format that’s been recycled time and time again. Utilizing non-traditional wedding ceremony scripts help couples, officiants, and planners outline the wedding according to the couple’s wishes.
What You Should Know About Officiating a Non-traditional Wedding
A non-traditional wedding script is important because it allows the couple to kick off their marriage in a way that is deeply meaningful and memorable. For that reason, a good script will reflect the couple’s personalities, views, and values. It’s also an opportunity to include personal touches and customs that are important to them.
Keep these things in mind when developing and delivering a non-traditional wedding officiant script:
- Be respectful of the couple’s beliefs and ideas.
- Be flexible and adaptable to the couple’s vision for their nuptials.
- Be personal and heartfelt by speaking from the heart and being sincere.
- Be open to improvisation, especially for a non-traditional ceremony.
Use the following script as a guideline for a non-traditional marriage ceremony.
Introduction, Welcome, and Wedding Sermon
Officiant (to guests, after the couple has entered and is ready to begin the ceremony):
Good morning/afternoon/evening, everyone. We've come together to celebrate the love of _________ and _________.
Officiant (To the couple):
_________ and _________, you have chosen to unite in this joyous ceremony to profess your love for each other and to commit to each other in marriage. This is a big deal for both of you, and we're excited to not only witness your union, but to celebrate with you as well.
Marriage is not just a destination; it's a journey — one that will have its good times and not-so-good times. No matter what you two face, it's important to remember that you are in this together. Your mutual love, respect, and support are critical for making it through life's joys and challenges.
Now, we will have a reading of a poem about the resilience of love.
Officiant (to guests):
“Across the room, across the street, Across the water where the two big blues meet,
Across the widest space ‘til you reach infinity,
My love will still be.
Beyond the sorrow, beyond regret,
Beyond the tremors of a quake you can't forget,
Beyond the hardest times when you ain't seen nothing yet,
My love will still be.
My love will still be…
In your present and future, over and under,
Inside and outside, close and asunder, From the moment you wake,
‘Til the moonlight adorns your face,
When your memory begins to fade,
Never will my love.
Above the sunset, above the trees,
Above the highs and lows that make up reality,
Above the resting place of the body that I leave
My love will still be,
My love will still be.”
-"Beyond" by Amel Larrieux and Laru Larrieux
Declaration of Intent
Officiant (to couple):
Whatever happens, never forget the love that brought you together and the love you share now.
Now, _________ and _________, please face each other and hold hands.
_________ and _________, do you take each other to be your lawfully wedded spouse?
Exchanging of Rings
Officiant (to one partner):
_________, do you promise to love _________ unconditionally, to be faithful to them in good times and in bad, to cherish them and support them through all of life's journey, and to always put their needs before your own?
Officiant (to other partner):
[Partner's name], do you promise to love _________ unconditionally, to be faithful to them in good times and in bad, to cherish them and support them through all of life's journey, and to always put their needs before your own?
Officiant (to couple):
_________ and _________, by the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church Ministries, I now pronounce you officially married. You may now kiss!