Our short, agnostic, stars and moon wedding ceremony script

May 21 | Guest post by Sheila
Cer-1
Stars and moon ceremony backdrop. Photo by Joleen Willis Photography
I wrote this ceremony script with the help of Offbeat Bride, and I am really happy with the results.

My very non-religious, scientific-minded fiancé is very happy with it as well. My mom, who has always told me that we are made of star dust, is absolutely in love with the Carl Sagan reading we selected for her. I am really excited about the music sections, and to share my ceremony with you…

Greeting

Officiant: Welcome and thank you for joining us today as we celebrate the marriage of Jake and Sheila.

As writer Marcel Proust said "Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, for they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

You are the people who make Jake and Sheila's souls blossom. They are so happy to have you here to be a part of this enchanted evening."

Song

Sung by a friend: First Day of My Life, by Bright Eyes

Reading: Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann

Officiant: "Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy."

Reading: inspired by Carl Sagan

Mother of the bride: "The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. Our little planet floats like a mote of dust in the morning sky. All that you see, all that we can see, exploded out of a star billions of years ago, and the particles slowly arranged themselves into living things, including all of us. We are made of star stuff. We are the mechanism by which the universe can comprehend itself. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth. We should remain grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. The sum of all our evolution, our thinking and our accomplishments is love. A marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a renewed reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life."

Ceremony continues

Officiant: As Neil deGrasse Tyson said "Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It's not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us."

Vows

Ring ceremony

Officiant: Wedding rings have long been a symbol of love — the gold of the ring symbolizes the permanence of the unending circle. Jake and Sheila, these rings are a symbol of your love for each other. Your rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bound together.

Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as soul, a present as well as a past, and that, despite its occasional sorrows, love is a circle of happiness, wonder, and delight. May your lives and your family always be encircled by love.

Ring Exchange

Bride: Jake, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. As it encircles your finger, may it remind you always that you are surrounded by my enduring love.

Groom: Sheila, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. As it encircles your finger, may it remind you always that you are surrounded by my enduring love.

Officiant: Jake and Sheila, you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and you have committed to share the rest of your lives with each other. Today this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of salt into a third that you may use to imbue love into your meals throughout your lives together.

The two elements that compose salt are sodium and chlorine. Apart, these elements are potentially hazardous but together they create a mineral essential for life. Salt has been used as currency in ancient times and has been used to preserve food for long journeys. It is what amplifies food flavors. It is found in our blood, sweat, and tears.

Just as these grains of salt can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be. And when this salt mixture runs low, as you never let it empty, you can refill the vessel with new salt but know that you will always have some of the mixture you made today as a symbol of your ever lasting love.

And now by the power vested in me by the laws of the beautiful state of Iowa, I pronounce you Husband and Wife!
You May Kiss!

Irish blessing

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day;
May song birds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue,
And may happiness fill your heart each day, your whole life through.

Recessional

Everyone walks out to It's Only A Paper Moon, by Ella Fitzgerald

Do you want to share YOUR ceremony script? Paste it in the comments!

  1. Beautiful! I may end up borrowing some bits and pieces. And Bright Eyes = <3

    13 agree
    • Thank you, I hope that you do! I am really excited to be including a song in the ceremony that I loved so much as a teen. What makes it even more special to me is it will be sung by my lifelong best friend and I know she will do an amazing job and probably make me cry like the little 14 year old emo girl I was when I first heard the song.

      4 agree
  2. This is absolutely beautiful! You have definitely inspired me today. We're meeting with our officiant next month, and now I feel like I can go prepared. I want to mostly write our own with the help of our officiant, but I may steal a couple lines from this, if that's alright. Funny thing I noticed – beautiful state of Iowa. Hey, that's where I live!

    2 agree
    • Another Offbeat Iowa bride?! I thought I was the only one. I always get a little overly excited to find fellow Iowans on the internet! I am so glad this has inspired you a bit! I really had no idea what I wanted to include in our ceremony and nothing I was finding seemed right for us, but once I found one reading I loved they all sort of came together. I still need to meet with of officiant too and possibly add a few things here and there but I am so far I am so much happier with our ceremony than I ever imagined I would be 🙂

      1 agrees
  3. I love every word of this. We are having a secular ceremony, and these readings are just perfect. We have been looking through so many readings and ceremonies, because we are writing ours as well, and this is just so perfect. I plan to use the Carl Sagan reading. It is just so amazing. We are made of star stuff, and weddings are such a beautiful mixing of that. Thank you for sharing!!

    1 agrees
    • Thank you and I hope that you do!! Please read the comment below for a more accurate source of the Carl Sagan reading, which is inspired by Carl Sagan (as well as Stephen Hawking, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Buddha, and The Beatles..all great in my book!) but was actually put together by another couple for their wedding ceremony. It's a bit more complicated of a source but I of course want to give credit where credit is due 🙂

      3 agree
  4. I love these readings! I've never seen the Neil deGrasse Tyson one before and it's fab!

    For the Carl Sagan fans: In case you're a stickler for precision, that quote is meshed with some Mark Twain quotes, so it's not 100% pure, uncut Sagan. That said, the reading is beautiful and I love it.

    4 agree
    • Thanks for pointing this out 🙂

      I posted this as a draft originally and failed to mention it is not a direct quote. It's been changed to "inspired by Carl Sagan" which is much more accurate. The reading was created by a couple, Kestrin & Jonathan who's wedding is featured here : http://hifiweddings.com/2010/05/15/a-real-hi-fi-wedding-kestrin-jonathans-wedding-of-the-cosmos-2/ who "read thoughts on the universe and love by Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Buddha, and The Beatles, and combined the words and concepts into a few paragraphs that were read by friends and family at the ceremony and reception.

      So thank you so much, Kestrin & Jonathan for putting together such a wonderful reading!

      1 agrees
  5. Beautiful! I've been flailing about, trying to figure out how to word our own secular ceremony. Thanks for sharing!

    2 agree
  6. I plan on stealing pretty much this entire ceremony except the unity salt and a couple of other things, if that's okay! I'm a chemist and I have to have something this awesome! Too bad I'm not a writer (my fiance is artsy though) and I'm not creative enough to come up with something this good.

  7. This is so very wonderful! I would love to borrow some of this for my wedding as well. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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