Soon-to-be newlyweds in a ceremony.
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  • ~12 minute ceremony

When you’ve agreed to solemnize the union for a couple, you need to prepare a wedding script that includes the couple’s input. Many couples opt to include elements from traditional wedding ceremonies, which are often influenced by religion and cultural norms. One of these common elements includes the phrase, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” An officiant will ask this of all attendees, checking to see if there’s any reason that the ceremony shouldn’t proceed.

Exploring the Phrase

The phrase has its origins in Christian weddings from medieval times when there were legitimate concerns that one or both of the people may already be married, rendering the ceremony illegal. The officiant would say, “If anyone knows of any reason why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Anyone in attendance would have that one opportunity to express their concerns there and then or keep it to themselves.

As a legally recognized officiant, it is your responsibility to ensure that the ceremony is valid according to state laws. Generally, most people won’t invite others who don’t want the marriage to take place, but consider this wedding ceremony script that includes the phrase:

Introduction

Officiant:

Welcome, loved ones, to the union of _________ and _________. This special occasion marks the beginning of their life together as a married couple. It is our privilege and great joy to witness this union and celebrate their mutual love, respect, and commitment.

(To the couple): _________ and _________, you have chosen each other as partners to co-write your story as married individuals. We are all happy to see you take this step together into the adventure of married life.

Now, we will proceed with a reading.

Reading

Officiant (to guests):

"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love,” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."

- "Captain Corelli’s Mandolin" by Louis De Bernieres

Declaration of Intent/Vows

Officiant (to couple):

_________ and _________, this day has been a long time coming. You came here as individuals, and today, you will leave as one. Is it your intent to take each other’s hand in marriage, facing life’s triumphs and trials together as spouses?

Couple (to officiant):

Yes, we do.

Officiant (to couple):

_________ and _________, please look at your partner and join hands. Do you promise to be each other’s peace through life’s storms? Will you always have each other’s back and be your partner’s biggest cheerleader in every season?

Couple (to officiant):

Yes, we do.

Ring Exchange

Officiant (to couple):

The two of you have chosen wedding bands as a symbol of the love that brought you to each other and the love that keeps you connected. When you look at your wedding band, when you feel it on your finger, and whenever you touch it, remember this day and the commitment you’ve made. Please place the ring on each other’s finger.

(Couple puts on wedding rings.)

Pronouncement

Officiant (to couple):

_________ and _________, the moment you’ve waited so long for is almost here, but first, I must do my due diligence as the officiant that you and the State of _________ have trusted me to be.

(To everyone): Before I proceed, should anyone here present know of any reason why these two should not be married? If so, speak now or forever hold your peace.

(Officiant waits for objections. Proceed after a few beats.)

If there are no objections, then by the power vested in me by the State of _________, I now pronounce you _________ and _________ as married. Congratulations to the two of you! May your love for each other always burn brightly.