A non-traditional, non-religious, non-boring wedding ceremony script (that involves alcohol!)

February 11 | Guest post by Mallory Perryman  
Photos by: Keith Lee

American Marriage Ministries on Offbeat BrideThanks to our sponsor American Marriage Ministries for presenting this post on Offbeat Bride. They make it easy to get ordained so you or a friend can officiate weddings…

Photo by Keith Lee
Mallory and her partner Katie saying their vows. All photos in this post by Keith Lee

I scoured the interwebs to find pieces to make up our personalized wedding ceremony that was non-traditional, non-religious, and non-boring.

We twisted some traditions and added our own flair (champagne toast! unity box full of letters! serenade!) to create a beautiful ceremony that I am happy to share with others.

Here we go…

Our wedding ceremony script

Introduction

OFFICIANT: Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, of family, and of two people who are in it for forever.

You don't have to have a ceremony to have a marriage. And when you think about it, the whole thing is kind of weird, right? You're standing on a stage, looking fancy, holding flowers, and being stared at by pretty much everyone who has meant anything to you in the past twenty-something years. So why do we do it? The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others. Why this moment?

Because despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It's the great unifier — our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we've come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we're doing right. That's why you both are standing here. That's why you all are here to watch them stand up here. We have all loved in our lifetimes, and in this moment, we're reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity

All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing — and others that are exciting and full of adventure.

[Insert your own love story here]

Mallory and her partner Katie. Photo by Keith Lee

And that brings them here. A time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought them here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.

I'm here — we're all here — because we want those moments for you. We're here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love isn't happily ever after, love is the experience of writing your story. It's not one moment — not even this moment. It's every moment. Big ones like saying "I love you," moving in together, getting engaged — but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments. Falling asleep next to one another, making dinner together, spending holidays with your families, binge-watching Netflix shows, getting a big hug when you get home from work… These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience.

And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try and explain it. That's just the way it is with love — it's meant to be felt, not described.

But trying to describe love is one of our favorite pastimes. We use the words we have to write stories, and poems, and songs about love. And even though we describe love in different ways — and even though love can look different from one person to the next — we all know it when we see it. And we see it here.

So today, we have some words about what love is, coming from some of the people who love you the most.

Readings

[Insert your own wedding readings if you have them]

Readings at Mallory and Katie's wedding. Photo by Keith Lee

Our wedding vows

OFFICIANT: You fell in love by chance, but you're here today because you're making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You've chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You're about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You're going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other. There's a simple premise to each of these promises: you're vowing to be there. You're teaming up and saying to the other, "Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of."

Will you, [Partner 1], keep [Partner 2] as your favorite person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments, be proud of her, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day?

Photo by Keith Lee

PARTNER 1: I will.

[Same question is then asked of Partner 2]

OFFICIANT: Will you, [Partner 1 and 2], be each other's partners from this day forward? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely — for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?

PARTNERS 1 and 2: We will.

Ring exchange

Photo by Keith Lee

OFFICIANT: You’ve both chosen to wear rings as a reminder of these promises. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. The stones were formed a long time ago deep with the earth. Eventually, a series of lucky events caused them to rise to the surface, where someone dug them up. Metal was then liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees — molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful was made from raw elements.

Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, and through a combination of serendipity and effort, imperfect beings shape it into something extraordinary. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. As you look at these rings over the years, I hope you remember that. You’ve created something invaluable, and just as I know you’ll protect these rings, I’m confident you’ll protect the commitments you’ve made to one other today.

Final toast

Final toasts and Katie & Mallory's wedding. Photo by Keith Lee

OFFICIANT: I hope I haven't talked so long that people finished their drinks, because this is a celebration, and every celebration needs a toast.

So to wrap this up before we all head into the reception hall for a delicious dinner and lots of dancing, I'll ask you all to raise your glasses to Katie and Mallory as we celebrate their love.

[toast adapted from Blessing for a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman]

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Cheers!

And KISS!

Want even more non-religious wedding ceremony text?

Thanks again to American Marriage Ministries for sponsoring this post!
Thanks again to American Marriage Ministries for sponsoring this post!

Get your daily dose of Offbeat AWESOME

  1. This is absolute perfection and I think I'm going to steal pretty much the whole thing. The only thing I'm going to change is the ring part, because we're getting tattoos and not rings. But, other than that, it's amazingly and wonderfully perfect!! Thank you so much for sharing and allowing us to steal this.

    31 agree
  2. This is awesome and I am totally going to steal some of it for our wedding in June.

    9 agree
  3. I'll definitely be stealing large portions of this. It's too perfect.

    11 agree
  4. LOVE IT!

    I was just remarking how I was needing something like this. We have an officiant who has married hundreds of people but she wants us to look through some ideas and we are clueless! Also, we are living in CoMo and getting married out of state by HI! CoMo reppin!

    3 agree
  5. I adore this! We may steal bits and pieces for our own ceremony! Thank you so much for sharing! 😀

    3 agree
  6. Thanks for sharing! My partner and I are trying to throw a wedding that is mostly a cocktail party that happens to include some vows thrown in. This helps us get closer to making that happen.

    1 agrees
  7. Feel free to borrow whatever you like! On my website, you can see the full readings we used:

    – “Love is Friendship Caught Fire” by Laura Hendricks
    – “Loving the Wrong Person” by Andrew Boyd
    – "Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (excerpt) by Louis de Bernières

    Followed by a personalized version of "I wanna grow old with you," sung by my brothers.

    11 agree
    • Can you tell me how long the ceremony was from start to finish?? I borrowed a good half of this and mine is getting a little long now… Thank you!! 🙂

      • The script posted here is a shortened version. The whole thing (posted on my blog) lasts 23 minutes. I was once a TV news producer, so it is timed down to the minute, haha. The timing assumes the person performing the ceremony has a smooth delivery style and average pacing — i.e., someone who is a decent public speaker.

        The readings and the parts the officiant added took the longest. If I were trimming, I'd do only one, maybe two, readings and ask the officiant to keep their bits short.

        Hope this helps! I'm always happy to hear when people use part of our ceremony.
        https://lovepartyblog.wordpress.com/

  8. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! As another female (girly couple) your vows and blog have been invaluable! Look out 8th March 2015!

    1 agrees
  9. I love this so much! These are the truest wedding vows I've read in a while. I may steal parts of this for my wedding in June 🙂

    4 agree
  10. So I read this post and totally fell in love with this ceremony so my fiance and I are totally stealing it for our Hawaii wedding in June. We made some small changes, added in somethings but it really spoke to us as a couple. Thank you for sharing. I have gotten so many wonderful ideas from Tribe members. I hope I get to share all of mine with you when it is all said and done.

    2 agree
  11. My new husband (yay!) and I used most of this script for our ceremony this past Saturday. It was just perfect for our short-and-sweet ceremony and who we are as a couple. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1 agrees
  12. This is the most beautiful AND grounded ceremony script I've read in these months leading up to our wedding. Your words are wonderful and say everything we want to express during our ceremony. My fiance and I have just taken most of it for our upcoming nuptials. Thank you so much for graciously sharing with us.

    3 agree
  13. So gonna have to use some, ok lots of this….I know I can make it work for the 3 of us. Always looking for help….so hard to find poly marriage stuff. So glad I stumbled upon the Offbeat Bride! woot woot! 🙂

    2 agree
  14. I love the continual mention of it being a partnership! We are a team, and not that we need to fight the world, but if we did, it's going to be us against everything. I adore this.

    3 agree
  15. This is EVERYTHING. Thank you so much for a post that basically read my mind! We are so not into the church wedding/please give me $500 officiant thing, so even though I'm a writer, I struggled with how to write a wedding ceremony that lasted longer than 5 minutes. Now I don't have to worry! Done and DONE. Thank you thank you THANK YOU.

    3 agree
  16. Thank you SO much for posting/sharing this!! I couldn't believe how difficult it was to find a laid back ceremony. This ceremony was exactly what I was looking for 🙂 You rock!!

    3 agree
  17. This was awesome!!! I officiated my first wedding this past Friday and I used a lot of this script, along with some of my own wording. I wasn't sure where to start and this helped tremendously!!! The couple were so pleased! And I was offered to officiate another wedding, so it must have worked:). Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    2 agree
  18. You know, I read this site religiously – every post through my RSS feed. I'm frequently surprised how often I'm linked back to something completely perfect that I somehow missed the first time around.

    I love the feel of this ceremony, it's exactly the level of sweet and silly and honest that we're going for. Thanks for providing the perfect foundation!

    2 agree
  19. Amazeballs! I'm officiating a wedding soon and will be using lots from your ceremony! You really get what a marriage is all about. I love the laid back feel and combination of sweet loving and goof ball adventure living you represent. Thanks for keepin it real!

    1 agrees
  20. OMG this is perfect!!!

    I might steal this to use at my wedding. Although I think the officiant we might be getting might not mind going off this. That and I'm sure he would do something VERY similar.

    Thank You!!!

    3 agree
  21. These texts sounds great! I think that all future newlyweds should be inspired, it's the truest wedding vows I've read… Thanks for sharing!

    2 agree
  22. This is beautifully written. I wanted to thank you–I've been scouring the internet for wedding ceremonies as I write my own, and this one was a huge inspiration to me. I particularly liked (and will be stealing/adapting) the part about love as a uniting force across differences, which is something I was trying and failing to put into words in my ceremony. I wish you and Katie many happy years together.

    3 agree
  23. I found this script last summer while my husband and I were planning our wedding. We used this as a basis for our own ceremony, making a few changes here and there. (Our rings are both gold, so I inserted a few lines about gold being created in a super nova, and THEN being dug up and made into a ring.. lol.. Geeky I know, but so are we….)

    This script worked perfectly. Thank you for posting it!

    3 agree
  24. This is beautiful! We will be stealing some bits and pieces for sure. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Yep! We used some bits and pieces of the ceremony and vows! Thank you for sharing your beautiful work here!

  25. Thank you for sharing! We will think fondly of you on June 11, 2016 when the beautiful words and thoughtful structure of your ceremony become part of our own. You'll never know how stressed we were about figuring out this part of our wedding and how grateful we are to have found your post.

    2 agree
  26. Greeting me and my boyfriend/ fiance is looking for ideals for our wedding and we are wanting to do either a Halloween Wedding or an Autumn Wedding. I am shouting for a wedding close to Mabon, but it is what he and I are wanting to do to make our love know to all those around us. That our love is Strong and Wonderful.

  27. I have been having trouble coming up with a ceremony that will suit us and I think I have just found it! I'll have to see what he thinks of this as a base but I think he will like it too. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is a huge help! Now to find the perfect wording for our invitations that works with our Alice in Wonderland theme……

  28. Hi! I just want to congratulate you Mallory for your inspired writing, you are truly gifted. And I also want to thank you so much for sharing it with us. I definitely will credit you in our wedding. I'm getting married next November in a little town in south Brazil. Just so you and Katie know how far your love and inspiration have reached. 🙂

  29. I may or may not use exactly this. What a beautiful script. Thank you for sharing such a big part of your special day!

  30. Thank you for providing these scripts. I am going to officiate my first wedding this month, and it is for my best friend, and this really worked for her. I appreciate the ideas. Keep them coming!!

  31. Thank you so much for sharing your ceremony script! I cried most of the way through it as I read it aloud to my fiance. It is simply beautiful and will figure prominently into our own wedding ceremony! Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness! : )

  32. As a wedding officiant, I will say this-if you are doing the champagne toast: DO NOT DO IT UNTIL AFTER THE SIGNING OF THE DOCUMENTS!!! As beautiful and original as each wedding is, it is a legal ceremony, whether it is religious or non-religious. Your officiant cannot (at least in Canada, but I'm sure many other countries) legally marry you if they believe that you are under the influence of alcohol. Happy wedding planning!

    • Doesn't really apply to this ceremony, since the people getting married are kissing while everyone else is toasting with champagne.

      1 agrees
  33. Complete perfection! THANK YOU FOR SHARING! I am going to use most of this for my wedding in January!

Leave a Reply to Shannon Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.