A bride drinking a shot.
  • ~12 minute ceremony

As an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, you’re in a unique position when it comes to planning and officiating a wedding ceremony. You are licensed to perform marriage ceremonies, but you’re not tied to the rules and customs of a particular faith tradition. Couples looking for non-traditional ceremonies can come to you for weddings that are tailored to their unique needs and preferences. One such ceremony growing in popularity is the unity shot.

Planning a Unity Shot Wedding Ceremony

A unity shot is a type of unity drink, which serves as a symbolic act of the couple's commitment to each other. Whereas a typical unity drink might involve flutes and wine, either as part of the wedding or the reception, a unity shot wedding involves the couple taking a shot of their favorite beverage together. The couple can drink the shot from a single glass or from two separate glasses that they clink together before drinking. Some reasons for a unity shot wedding ceremony include the following:

  • Some couples may enjoy taking shots together, so this is a fun way to celebrate their life together.
  • Taking a shot together can be viewed as symbolic of the couple facing and overcoming life’s challenges together.
  • Drinking shots can be a way to take the stuffiness out of an otherwise traditional ceremony.
  • Taking shots may also be a way for a couple to honor their family heritage or other cultural customs.

Planning and Performing a Unity Shot Wedding

Consider these ideas when helping the couple plan their ceremony and writing the unity shot wedding ceremony script:

  • The spouses-to-be can use one or more glasses. They can drink from one glass filled with two beverages, representing their individual preferences coming together as one.
  • The couple can write their own toast to each other before drinking a unity shot.
  • Instead of a ring bearer, the tray with the shots can be held by a loved one or someone special, like the person who introduced the couple.
  • The unity shot can be an alternative to a ring exchange or incorporated into other rituals involving unity candles or a sand ceremony.

Consider this unity shot script as a guideline:

Introduction and Welcome

Officiant (to guests, once the couple is ready to start):

Welcome family, friends, and everyone between. We’ve gathered together to witness the union of _________ and ___________ as a married couple and celebrate this new chapter in their lives together.

Officiant (to couple):

____________ and _____________, you have chosen to pledge your love and commit to a life together married. We know this is a big step in your shared journey and feel honored that you’ve asked us to participate and celebrate with you.

The married life is one that will have its fair share of ups and downs. The wonder of marriage is not based in some fantasy of a trouble-free life. Rather, it’s in knowing that whatever you two face, your commitment to each other will see you through.

Now we will enjoy a reading:


Officiant (to guests):

A marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole;

It gives two purposeless lives a work,

And doubles the strength of each to perform it.

It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living,

And something to live for.

It will give new gladness to the sunshine,

A new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth,

And a new mystery to life.

"A Marriage" by Mark Twain

Declaration of Intent

Officiant (to couple):

____________ and ____________, you must declare your intent to be married. Please face each other and hold hands. Do you take the person whose hands you’re holding to be your legal spouse?

(Couple should respond affirmatively)

Unity Shot and Pronouncement

Officiant (to couple):

Today, you’ve come together to make a lifelong commitment to each other and celebrate your love. Instead of the usual ring exchange, the two of you have opted to share a unity shot. Your marriage will be a great adventure, and what better way to kick things off than with a shot of something strong? Please take your shot glasses.

(The couple takes their shot glasses.)

(To couple): Here’s to your love, to your unity, and to your fun-filled forever. Cheers!

(The couple clinks glasses together and drinks at the same time.)

(To couple): By the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church Ministries and the State of __________, ________ and __________, I now pronounce you married. You may now kiss each other.