Credit: Bahia Films

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by Linda DiProperzio

Gone are the days that only a religious officiant would marry a couple. Now, in an attempt to further personalize their wedding, couples are also asking close friends or family members to legally marry them. While this is truly an honor, it can also be a daunting task—after all, not all of us are natural born speakers. And even if you are completely comfortable making a speech in front of dozens of strangers, officiating a wedding is something that takes extra care. To make the process as stress-free as possible, we've got some advice to take into consideration before putting together your script for the wedding ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Script Writing Tips

Don’t leave it to the last minute

You don’t want to rush through crafting your ceremony script. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the couple, so you want your words to be memorable for all of the right reasons.

Consult the couple

Talk to the couple in depth about the kind of ceremony they want for their wedding. This moment is all about them and your words should perfectly reflect what is important to them.

Introduce yourself

Not everyone in attendance will know your connection to the couple. With that in mind, take the time to quickly introduce yourself to guests.

Make it appropriate

This isn’t the time to try out your standup routine. While it’s fine to include a funny anecdote about the couple, you don’t want to include any off-color humor or embarrassing stories in your script.

Don’t take too long

You don’t want to run the risk of boring guests with a long speech during the ceremony. If older people or young children are in attendance, they also may not be able to sit for too long, especially if you’re outside and it’s especially hot or cold.

Ask for opinions

You might want to touch base with someone who has officiated a wedding before to get some professional pointers. If they’re willing, you can even send them a sample of your script for feedback.

Practice makes perfect

If this is your first time officiating a wedding, you don’t want the first time you read your script to be at the altar on the wedding day. Be sure to read it out loud several times—alone or in front of others—so you can get comfortable with your words.

Proofread

You’ll also want to look it over for any typos or grammatical errors. Not a great proofreader? Ask a trusted friend or family member to do it for you.

Bring up a paper copy

While memorizing the script is a great idea, you also don’t want the pressure of being up at the altar and forgetting your words. Print it out on some paper and keep it handy in case you need it. But don’t read it from your phone—no one should be on their electronics during the ceremony, especially the officiant!

Bride and groom kissing in front of altar
Credit: BSR Wedding Films

The Typical Format for a Wedding Ceremony

Introduction

Begin by welcoming the guests and making any required announcements from the couple, such as asking everyone to put away their phones or not to post any photos on social media.

Processional

The music will usually signal that the wedding party is going to start making their way down the aisle. You might want to direct guests to stand just before the bride (or groom) walks down the aisle if there are concern they won’t do it on their own. And don’t forget to tell everyone to sit down when the ceremony is about to begin.

Your speech

This is when you will talk about the couple and their love and commitment for one another. Hopefully you have had a chance to get to know them a bit so you can tailor your words to their personalities.

The couple’s vows

You will now ask the couple to exchange their vows, whether they have written their own or you will direct them on what to say.

Exchange of rings

As the couple exchange their wedding rings, you can direct them to confirm their commitment with one another with a phrase such as “I give you this ring as a sign of my love.”

Declaration

Declare the couple officially married—and then ask them to kiss!

Final word

Wish the newlyweds well and make any last announcements for the couple, such as directing guests to the cocktail hour.

Officiant performing wedding ceremony
Credit: Todd Urick Films

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Tanya Pushkine of The Vow Whisperer has shared a basic template and guidelines for a wedding officiant speech. Of course, you can add in elements--and take out others--to personalize the script based on the couple's wants and needs.

Declaration of Support

"Collectively, you represent the families, friends, and traditions that have brought ______and _______to this point in their lives. Please affirm your support for this marriage by responding “Yes, I do” to the following question: As part of the community that surrounds [couple] do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union? Guests: Yes, I do!"

Gathering/Welcome Words

"The words spoken at this time welcome and thank the guests, as well as introduce the purpose of this gathering. May share a story of how [couple] met, may share the importance of the location, may contain remembrances of those who cannot join them on that day or acknowledgements of special events like holidays or anniversaries on that day."

This element shares with the guests, the couple’s beliefs on the meaning of marriage, and is designed to encourage reflection on the significance of this commitment.

Welcome

"A wedding is such a wonderful occasion, filled with hopes, dreams, and excitement. We are here today to celebrate the love that [couple] have for each other, and to recognize and witness their decision to journey forward in their lives as Marriage Partners."

Remembrances

"[Couple] have asked that we take a moment to honor the memory of those loved ones who could only be here today in spirit."

Marriage Address

This element also provides a transition from the message about marriage just spoken to the actual promises that the couple is about to make to seal their commitment.

"[Couple], your marriage will, no doubt, be filled with surprises. Some you will welcome, while others will test the strength and flexibility of your bond. Your life together will present many opportunities to refine and deepen your love and to explore the profound depths of your being. May you be compassionate with each other and nurture yourselves, each other, and this union with tender loving care. May your love create a safe haven for you both on the journey that lies ahead of you. Lead with your hearts and take the time to do the simple things that will nurture your love. Deeply listen to each other— to your dreams and to your frustrations. Be helpmates. Be playful in finding ways to give your love anew to each other every day. Let your love be an inspiration to others to reach for what is good within us all. May your love be so abundant that you have plenty to share with the rest of us as well. It is your love that has brought us together here today. May it grow deeper and sweeter with each passing year."

Slightly Religious:

"Marriage is the essence of human relationships. It challenges us to be of one accord without abandoning the truth of our individuality. It challenges us to not lose ourselves in one another, but rather to walk side by side heading in the same direction. As with all relationships, marriage is an endless presentation of choices about how we want to be with one another. Each choice results in either more unity or more separation. Choose into that unity, [couple] every chance you get. Sacrifice your judgments, expectations, and any other ways that you have learned to separate yourselves from each other. Share the gifts of your friendship, humor, vulnerability, sensitivity, and kindness. Be sure to find ways each day to protect, affirm, and support each other, and to treasure the balance and shared values that you have found with each other. Enjoy the intertwining of your independence with your intimacy. I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives. God bless you."

Declaration of Intent

This element is the “I Do” section of the ceremony. The words spoken at this time declare the couple’s intention to marry. The declaration is customarily made by the [couple] each answering “I do” or “I will” in response to a question presented by the Officiant.

Some rituals to include:

  • Unity Candle

  • Seven Blessings (Jewish)

  • Sand Ceremony

  • Wine Prayer

Prelude to Ring Exchange

The words spoken at this time describe the purpose of exchanging the rings and the sentiment that the couple wishes to be reminded of as they wear them.

"Wedding rings are symbolic reminders of the unbroken circle of a healthy and abiding love. Within the safety and comfort of a true marriage, love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no separate giver and receiver. Each of you gives your love to the other and each of you receives love from the other. And the circle of love goes around and around. May these rings serve to remind you of the freedom and the power of your love."

Slightly Religious:

"The wedding ring is a symbol of unbroken unity. It portrays completeness and eternity. May the imperishable substance of these rings reflect a love shining with increasing radiance throughout your years together. May God bless these rings, which you give to each other as the sign of your love, trust, and devotion."

Ring Exchange

This element is the physical exchange of wedding rings and the verbal exchange between the couple that expresses the significance of this offering. The words spoken at this time may be memorized, read from paper, or recited after the Officiant. "With this ring, I give you my promise to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and my life with you in all ways, always."

Officiant’s Pronouncement

This element is the pronouncement that the couple is officially wed. A kiss is then shared between the couple and symbolically represents the sealing of the promises made.

"[Couple], our best wishes go forward from this day with you. We wish for you a fulfilling life, rich in caring and in happiness. We wish for you a gentle and peaceful life that nurtures and comforts you. We wish for you a noble life, which reflects your honesty, kindness, and integrity. We wish for you an adventurous life, exploring the fullness of your own and each other’s true selves. [Couple], there is a wonderful life ahead of you. Live it fully. Love its changes and choices. Let life amaze you and bring you great joy. And now, by the power vested in me by the church and by the State of __, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss!"

"[Couple], I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives, and to cherish the precious love you share. May you continue to find delight in each other and in your being together. May your love forever nourish you and keep you strong. I now pronounce that you are Partners in Marriage."

Slightly Religious:

"[Couple], on behalf of your loved ones who are here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things we wish for you: First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep, and powerful enough to inspire others and to support you both in bringing forth the best that is within you. May you lavishly love one another and love being loved by one another today, tomorrow, and always. Second, may you sustain a deep and abiding friendship in which you are considerate of each other, kind, thoughtful, and so much more. Third, we wish for you the kind of home that will be a sanctuary for you both, a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. And in this home, we hope that you are blessed with a healthy and happy family. Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to look back and smile upon the life that you have shared together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams. And now, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. _____, you may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time. Congratulations and God bless you!"

Bride and groom walking up garden aisle
Credit: Edgar Anthony Films

Closing Words

The words spoken at this time are meant to send the couple off into their new future together, and to communicate the hopes and wishes for that future.

"[Couple] if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony; may it be the love that brought you here today. It is only love which can make it a glorious union, and by love which your marriage shall endure. Today your separate lives with your individual memories, desires, and hopes merge into one. You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in the entire world whom you love above all others. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love. May you be a blessing and comfort to each other, sharers of each other’s dreams, consolers of each other’s sorrows, helpers to each other in all of life’s challenges. May you encourage each other in whatever you set out to achieve. May you trust each other, trust life and be unafraid. May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitement a marriage should bring, and may life grant you patience, tolerance, and understanding."

"Treat yourselves and each other with respect and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship—as they threaten all relationships at one time or another—remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives—remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight."

Slightly Religious:

"May your feet be firmly rooted in the earth. May the air you breathe be sweet and fresh. May your lives flow together like two streams into a graceful river. May the flame of spirit burn strong within you. May you know God’s presence in your lives. And may God bless your life together."

Officiant’s Pronouncement

This element is the pronouncement that the couple is officially wed. A kiss is then shared between the couple and symbolically represents the sealing of the promises made.

"[Couple], I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives, and to cherish the precious love you share. May you continue to find delight in each other and in your being together. May your love forever nourish you and keep you strong. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss!"

Presentation

"Family and Friends, may I (present/introduce) to you ________."

Looking for more ideas on how to pull off a beautiful ceremony? Watch some of our wedding videos for inspiration!

Credit: Bahia Films

by Linda DiProperzio

Gone are the days that only a religious officiant would marry a couple. Now, in an attempt to further personalize their wedding, couples are also asking close friends or family members to legally marry them. While this is truly an honor, it can also be a daunting task—after all, not all of us are natural born speakers. And even if you are completely comfortable making a speech in front of dozens of strangers, officiating a wedding is something that takes extra care. To make the process as stress-free as possible, we've got some advice to take into consideration before putting together your script for the wedding ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Script Writing Tips

Don’t leave it to the last minute

You don’t want to rush through crafting your ceremony script. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the couple, so you want your words to be memorable for all of the right reasons.

Consult the couple

Talk to the couple in depth about the kind of ceremony they want for their wedding. This moment is all about them and your words should perfectly reflect what is important to them.

Introduce yourself

Not everyone in attendance will know your connection to the couple. With that in mind, take the time to quickly introduce yourself to guests.

Make it appropriate

This isn’t the time to try out your standup routine. While it’s fine to include a funny anecdote about the couple, you don’t want to include any off-color humor or embarrassing stories in your script.

Don’t take too long

You don’t want to run the risk of boring guests with a long speech during the ceremony. If older people or young children are in attendance, they also may not be able to sit for too long, especially if you’re outside and it’s especially hot or cold.

Ask for opinions

You might want to touch base with someone who has officiated a wedding before to get some professional pointers. If they’re willing, you can even send them a sample of your script for feedback.

Practice makes perfect

If this is your first time officiating a wedding, you don’t want the first time you read your script to be at the altar on the wedding day. Be sure to read it out loud several times—alone or in front of others—so you can get comfortable with your words.

Proofread

You’ll also want to look it over for any typos or grammatical errors. Not a great proofreader? Ask a trusted friend or family member to do it for you.

Bring up a paper copy

While memorizing the script is a great idea, you also don’t want the pressure of being up at the altar and forgetting your words. Print it out on some paper and keep it handy in case you need it. But don’t read it from your phone—no one should be on their electronics during the ceremony, especially the officiant!

Bride and groom kissing in front of altar
Credit: BSR Wedding Films

The Typical Format for a Wedding Ceremony

Introduction

Begin by welcoming the guests and making any required announcements from the couple, such as asking everyone to put away their phones or not to post any photos on social media.

Processional

The music will usually signal that the wedding party is going to start making their way down the aisle. You might want to direct guests to stand just before the bride (or groom) walks down the aisle if there are concern they won’t do it on their own. And don’t forget to tell everyone to sit down when the ceremony is about to begin.

Your speech

This is when you will talk about the couple and their love and commitment for one another. Hopefully you have had a chance to get to know them a bit so you can tailor your words to their personalities.

The couple’s vows

You will now ask the couple to exchange their vows, whether they have written their own or you will direct them on what to say.

Exchange of rings

As the couple exchange their wedding rings, you can direct them to confirm their commitment with one another with a phrase such as “I give you this ring as a sign of my love.”

Declaration

Declare the couple officially married—and then ask them to kiss!

Final word

Wish the newlyweds well and make any last announcements for the couple, such as directing guests to the cocktail hour.

Officiant performing wedding ceremony
Credit: Todd Urick Films

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Tanya Pushkine of The Vow Whisperer has shared a basic template and guidelines for a wedding officiant speech. Of course, you can add in elements--and take out others--to personalize the script based on the couple's wants and needs.

Declaration of Support

"Collectively, you represent the families, friends, and traditions that have brought ______and _______to this point in their lives. Please affirm your support for this marriage by responding “Yes, I do” to the following question: As part of the community that surrounds [couple] do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union? Guests: Yes, I do!"

Gathering/Welcome Words

"The words spoken at this time welcome and thank the guests, as well as introduce the purpose of this gathering. May share a story of how [couple] met, may share the importance of the location, may contain remembrances of those who cannot join them on that day or acknowledgements of special events like holidays or anniversaries on that day."

This element shares with the guests, the couple’s beliefs on the meaning of marriage, and is designed to encourage reflection on the significance of this commitment.

Welcome

"A wedding is such a wonderful occasion, filled with hopes, dreams, and excitement. We are here today to celebrate the love that [couple] have for each other, and to recognize and witness their decision to journey forward in their lives as Marriage Partners."

Remembrances

"[Couple] have asked that we take a moment to honor the memory of those loved ones who could only be here today in spirit."

Marriage Address

This element also provides a transition from the message about marriage just spoken to the actual promises that the couple is about to make to seal their commitment.

"[Couple], your marriage will, no doubt, be filled with surprises. Some you will welcome, while others will test the strength and flexibility of your bond. Your life together will present many opportunities to refine and deepen your love and to explore the profound depths of your being. May you be compassionate with each other and nurture yourselves, each other, and this union with tender loving care. May your love create a safe haven for you both on the journey that lies ahead of you. Lead with your hearts and take the time to do the simple things that will nurture your love. Deeply listen to each other— to your dreams and to your frustrations. Be helpmates. Be playful in finding ways to give your love anew to each other every day. Let your love be an inspiration to others to reach for what is good within us all. May your love be so abundant that you have plenty to share with the rest of us as well. It is your love that has brought us together here today. May it grow deeper and sweeter with each passing year."

Slightly Religious:

"Marriage is the essence of human relationships. It challenges us to be of one accord without abandoning the truth of our individuality. It challenges us to not lose ourselves in one another, but rather to walk side by side heading in the same direction. As with all relationships, marriage is an endless presentation of choices about how we want to be with one another. Each choice results in either more unity or more separation. Choose into that unity, [couple] every chance you get. Sacrifice your judgments, expectations, and any other ways that you have learned to separate yourselves from each other. Share the gifts of your friendship, humor, vulnerability, sensitivity, and kindness. Be sure to find ways each day to protect, affirm, and support each other, and to treasure the balance and shared values that you have found with each other. Enjoy the intertwining of your independence with your intimacy. I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives. God bless you."

Declaration of Intent

This element is the “I Do” section of the ceremony. The words spoken at this time declare the couple’s intention to marry. The declaration is customarily made by the [couple] each answering “I do” or “I will” in response to a question presented by the Officiant.

Some rituals to include:

  • Unity Candle

  • Seven Blessings (Jewish)

  • Sand Ceremony

  • Wine Prayer

Prelude to Ring Exchange

The words spoken at this time describe the purpose of exchanging the rings and the sentiment that the couple wishes to be reminded of as they wear them.

"Wedding rings are symbolic reminders of the unbroken circle of a healthy and abiding love. Within the safety and comfort of a true marriage, love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no separate giver and receiver. Each of you gives your love to the other and each of you receives love from the other. And the circle of love goes around and around. May these rings serve to remind you of the freedom and the power of your love."

Slightly Religious:

"The wedding ring is a symbol of unbroken unity. It portrays completeness and eternity. May the imperishable substance of these rings reflect a love shining with increasing radiance throughout your years together. May God bless these rings, which you give to each other as the sign of your love, trust, and devotion."

Ring Exchange

This element is the physical exchange of wedding rings and the verbal exchange between the couple that expresses the significance of this offering. The words spoken at this time may be memorized, read from paper, or recited after the Officiant. "With this ring, I give you my promise to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and my life with you in all ways, always."

Officiant’s Pronouncement

This element is the pronouncement that the couple is officially wed. A kiss is then shared between the couple and symbolically represents the sealing of the promises made.

"[Couple], our best wishes go forward from this day with you. We wish for you a fulfilling life, rich in caring and in happiness. We wish for you a gentle and peaceful life that nurtures and comforts you. We wish for you a noble life, which reflects your honesty, kindness, and integrity. We wish for you an adventurous life, exploring the fullness of your own and each other’s true selves. [Couple], there is a wonderful life ahead of you. Live it fully. Love its changes and choices. Let life amaze you and bring you great joy. And now, by the power vested in me by the church and by the State of __, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss!"

"[Couple], I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives, and to cherish the precious love you share. May you continue to find delight in each other and in your being together. May your love forever nourish you and keep you strong. I now pronounce that you are Partners in Marriage."

Slightly Religious:

"[Couple], on behalf of your loved ones who are here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things we wish for you: First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep, and powerful enough to inspire others and to support you both in bringing forth the best that is within you. May you lavishly love one another and love being loved by one another today, tomorrow, and always. Second, may you sustain a deep and abiding friendship in which you are considerate of each other, kind, thoughtful, and so much more. Third, we wish for you the kind of home that will be a sanctuary for you both, a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. And in this home, we hope that you are blessed with a healthy and happy family. Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to look back and smile upon the life that you have shared together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams. And now, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. _____, you may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time. Congratulations and God bless you!"

Bride and groom walking up garden aisle
Credit: Edgar Anthony Films

Closing Words

The words spoken at this time are meant to send the couple off into their new future together, and to communicate the hopes and wishes for that future.

"[Couple] if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony; may it be the love that brought you here today. It is only love which can make it a glorious union, and by love which your marriage shall endure. Today your separate lives with your individual memories, desires, and hopes merge into one. You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in the entire world whom you love above all others. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love. May you be a blessing and comfort to each other, sharers of each other’s dreams, consolers of each other’s sorrows, helpers to each other in all of life’s challenges. May you encourage each other in whatever you set out to achieve. May you trust each other, trust life and be unafraid. May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitement a marriage should bring, and may life grant you patience, tolerance, and understanding."

"Treat yourselves and each other with respect and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship—as they threaten all relationships at one time or another—remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives—remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight."

Slightly Religious:

"May your feet be firmly rooted in the earth. May the air you breathe be sweet and fresh. May your lives flow together like two streams into a graceful river. May the flame of spirit burn strong within you. May you know God’s presence in your lives. And may God bless your life together."

Officiant’s Pronouncement

This element is the pronouncement that the couple is officially wed. A kiss is then shared between the couple and symbolically represents the sealing of the promises made.

"[Couple], I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives, and to cherish the precious love you share. May you continue to find delight in each other and in your being together. May your love forever nourish you and keep you strong. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss!"

Presentation

"Family and Friends, may I (present/introduce) to you ________."

Looking for more ideas on how to pull off a beautiful ceremony? Watch some of our wedding videos for inspiration!

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