My polyamorous collaring ceremony script: Committment, BDSM-style

Guest post by Drgnsyr

Many of you have written to us, wanting more inspiration for BDSM and/or polyamorous wedding ceremonies. Well, here’s a collaring ceremony script that combines both!

Collaring ceremony necklace by CaptiveLove Jewelry

What is a collaring ceremony?

While collaring ceremonies will vary greatly depending on the folks involved, generally speaking, a collaring ceremony is a symbolic gathering to celebrate and honor a commitment between partners within a BDSM or kink community.

The symbols and structure of a collaring ceremony can resemble a wedding because they often include jewelry and vows — but instead of a ring being slid onto fingers as a symbol the commitment, in a collaring ceremony, folks will sometimes place a collar around the neck of submissive.

Like a ring in a traditional wedding, the collar acts as a physical representation of the emotional, physical, and spiritual bond between a Dominant and their submissive partner or partners.

Yes, we said partners. Collaring ceremonies aren’t necessarily just a couple — they can include multiple partners who have chosen to commit to a polyamorous relationship. And of course the gender roles involved are completely fluid. (The Dominant may identify as a woman, man, or all of the above! The submissive(s) may identify as male, female, or none of the above!)

Clearly, collaring ceremonies are completely deeply nontraditional — they can be polyamorous and gender non-binary. There are no rules to follow, and every collaring ceremony will unique to the folks taking part. Those planning the ceremonies can the ceremony to be whatever works best for them!

That said, if you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s one collaring ceremony script to inspire you:

Our collaring ceremony script

This is sort of a collaring ceremony as a wedding. It will also be a polyamorous focused ceremony (with our spouses giving us away — in a manner of speaking). So, this is the draft for my vanilla, polyamorous, collaring ceremony…

Exodus 21:5 “But if the slave declares ‘I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free’ his master shall take him before G-d. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his slave for life.”Dominant: Today we are here to formalize our commitment to each other, but in doing so we must acknowledge its place amongst the other commitments of our lives. I am asking you to commit yourself to me and make me one of the highest priorities in your life, but your children and your marriage must always come first. Do you accept these terms?

submissive: I accept.

Dominant: And I am promising you that I am committing myself to you and making you one of the highest priorities in my life, second only to my children and my marriage. Do you accept this promise?

submissive: I accept.

Our collar and cuff by Mockingbird Lane Creations.
The author’s collar and cuff by Mockingbird Lane Creations.

Genesis 16:7 An Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, and said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.” And the angel of the Lord said to her “Go back to your mistress and submit to her domination.”

Dominant: Today I offer you a collar and with it my love. I will [insert vows here].
In return I ask that you [insert requests here]
Do you accept my collar?

submissive: I accept.

submissive: Today I offer you the key and with it my loyalty. I will [insert vows here]
In return I ask that you [insert requests here]
Do you accept my key?

Dominant: I accept.

Gold plated stainless steel collar by MetallGuyer

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Dominant: In binding ourselves to each other, we recognize that we are not merely making a commitment between two individuals. Each of us have families of our own and, as we intertwine our lives, so too do we intertwine theirs. In recognition of this, we now invite our spouses to speak.

[His wife reads something or gives a toast.]
[My husband reads something or gives a toast.]

Dominant: Talmudic law requires that any legal contract or act of acquisition be concluded through an act of kinyan. For the acquisition of a person, the deal may be sealed by having the individual perform chazakah — an act of service for their new master. Let us now seal this contract.

[He carries me into the building]

Men’s leather collar from DrakkarUA
Collaring necklace by CaptiveLove Jewelry

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Comments on My polyamorous collaring ceremony script: Committment, BDSM-style

  1. So beautiful and so inspiring. May the happiness you share now continue throughout your lives.

  2. Wow, this is really awesome! There is definitely a lot of thought in it, and it’s really neat to see a post like this! Moar! (this is coming from someone who does not personally know any polygamists and keeps having to strain to remember what BDSM stands for…)

    • Go you for being so supportive of choices/lifestyles that you might not know much about. It’s absolutely wonderful to see so much love and open-mindedness. We need more of this!!

      But I did want to make one gentle correction: Polyamory was what was mentioned in the original post and your comment mentioned polygamy. Polyamory and polygamy are actually not the same thing.

      A polygamist (the word means ‘many wives’) marries more than one person. Usually there’s not an equal distribution (e.g. in the example of one man marrying several women, the women themselves do not have several spouses but are all married to the same man). This seems occur most often in certain religious sects and although I’m sure it’s possible for polygamy to happen the other way around (one woman, multiple husbands) I think that it must be pretty rare.

      Whereas polyamory (the word means ‘many loves’) is the practice of both men and women having multiple romantic/emotionally involved partners, often with the intent of longterm commitment. Many poly folk do have a legal spouse and also have other partners, but there is only one legal spouse. There is also a much more equal gender distribution in that all genders are free to have partners.

      There’s a lot of info to google if you were interested, or I’d be glad to answer any questions (I’ve been polyamorous for years), but honestly I’m just glad and impressed that you commented with such an open mind. You can’t hear me, but I’m applauding as I type this. It’s hard to applaud and type at the same time but I’m giving it my best shot.

      • Thanks for this information! I just wanted to add that when a woman has more than one husband or male partner, it is called polyandry.

        • As an anthropologist, I just want to add one small thing 😉

          Polygamy= multiple spouses
          polyandry= multiple husbands
          polygyny= multiple wives.
          Both polyandry and polygyny are forms of polygamy. And polyandry is not common, though some cultures in Tibet and Nepal still practice it regularly. Just my little FYI 🙂

          That being said, this is very cool!

      • First off I’d like to say wow, this post was amazin and we need moar! Second, thank you for posting this comment. Thank you for the insight, I was very confused with all of it. I didn’t even know that there was something other than polygamy, but reading the BDSM I was interested, lo and behold I learned somethign new today! And truth be told after reading it I was so lost about what was happeneing until you left this comment and now I understand and I wanted to thank you for that. If I don’t get it I try to understand the best I can and you’ve helped a lot. THANK YOU!

  3. I recently shot a collaring ceremony / BDSM wedding – it was amazing and beautiful. I’ve often wondered what resources are out there for couples who don’t fall into the mainstream his/hers ring thing. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Seriously, you guys? I love this shit. Where else in the land of wedding blogs do you see the BDSM ceremonies? This is one of those posts that just makes me all warm and fuzzy (slash hot and bothered) about OBB.

    • Yeah, I was SO stoked when I saw this. People have been BEGGING us for more BDSM lifestyle content. I hope to see more as well.

    • Just wanted to say that, even as the publisher of Offbeat Bride, this post is totally not MY thing either, but I love that we can all appreciate it. 🙂

  5. The halachic note at the bottom made me squee. So unexpected and awesome.

  6. Doesn’t anyone find the idea of publicly “collaring” a woman incredibly disgusting? All the feminist hairs on my body are standing on end! While I am not in a polyamorous relationship, I do feel that people should be allowed to express all the love they feel inside. However, using a collar to symbolize this unique bond is rife with tones of ownership.

    • When it’s consensual, it’s not disgusting. Indeed, consensual ownership is the whole point of a collaring ceremony! Also, in this particular situation SHE’S collaring HIM. Does it only seem “incredibly disgusting” if it’s a man collaring a woman?

      • I fully support all kinds of consensual relationships. I mainly find the symbol of the collar offensive. Consensual ownership is not the idea that comes across when one member (male or female) is wearing the collar and the other holds the key. Not to mention the fact that it objectifies the collared. And yes, I would find it “incredibly disgusting” if a woman was collaring a man.

        • Wendy– I think “consensual ownership” is not the idea that comes across TO YOU when you see references to collaring ceremonies. A collaring ceremony is not an uncommon way of sanctifying commitment (although it’s not the only way, obviously); clearly, the symbol works for a lot of people, and if no one is trying to force you to do it, it’s not hurting you.

          You’re entitled to your opinion, but please be respectful and conscious of others’ rights to make their own choices and use the rituals which resonate with them.

          • @J : If a couple desires a collar, they use a collar.

            As someone who’s been collared, I kindly ask you to refrain from judgmental and offensive statements.

        • I was just going to say, it’s no different than putting a ring on your finger… There is nothing disgusting about expressing devotion and love to another (consenting) person.

    • It’s just as possible for a woman to collar a man y’know. It has nothing to do with feminism, just normal people who have a desire for a Dominant/submissive relationship. There are also male/male and female/female combos.

    • I’m totally out of the loop regarding polyamory/etc. so it was interesting to read this ceremony. I think I see what you mean by the idea of collaring someone, if you break it down to just that act. Someone wearing a collar seems to be on the same ground as putting a collar on a pet. However, I don’t see it that way here because obviously this ceremony required and displays a lot of thought and consent so if that’s what was agreed upon, then I don’t see anything wrong with it here.

      • It’s funny… I completely understood it (and I’m the one at the top who said she had no idea about any of this). I feel like so often “equality” ends up trying to enforce same-ness, when there is so much to benefit from a relationship of differences. Dominant/submissive is totally one relationship I can understand, even as respectful, loving humans. It’s obviously not an objectification (just read those quotes!), but it’s defining the roles of their relationship, the roles they wish to play. I honestly think normal marriage could benefit from looking at it this way. I would much rather define my role as the “social worrier” and have my husband define his as the “laid-back introvert”, than “wife” and “husband”, which no longer seem to apply in this age of equality.
        Anyway, got sidetracked there, but seriously I completely “get” the desire for being in one of those roles (both dominant and submissive) and I truly think most people have that desire in some way. It is probably pretty healthy to actually acknowledge and express it in a mutually beneficial way like this.
        Apologies for the ramble…

        • Agreed! I think all relationships that recognize specific desires, ways of communicating, and everyone’s true nature are potentially the most honest. It may not be Dom/sub necessarily, but certainly an understanding of the roles that are comfortable for each partner is totally parallel to this, in my opinion.

        • Agreed as well! That guy I married actually read some article recently that compared D/s relationships to the traditional idea of marriage in the ’50s. Interested in delving into that idea more, I Googled and I found this: “Some D/s relationships may be compared to the idealized marriages portrayed in older television programs, in which one partner is domestic and service-oriented and the other partner is the provider, protector, and household authority.”

    • Instead of condemning the collar, think of it as another form of wedding ring. Do you find it disgusting if a couple decides to get tattoos instead of exchange rings? What if only one part of the couple wore a ring? A collaring ceremony is a public display of love for one another, just like any wedding, handfasting, commitment ceremony or whatever else. This ceremony clearly states the love each party has for one another, as well as their respective spouses. Perhaps the idea that you would completely condemn a consensual relationship based on (what is clearly) a.very limited knowledge of said relationship is “incredibly disgusting” is offensive to, say I don’t know… The people in the relationship?!

      • Louie, if you would read my posts, I am not condemning the relationship. People should have the right to love whomever they choose in whatever way they choose. Your comparison of wedding rings to a collar is off however. The main difference being that a collar is locked onto one person while the other member holds the key to remove it. Thereby, symbolizing a loss of autonomy in the relationship.

        • Sorry, I must have misunderstood what you meant by “incredibly disgusting”. My bad.
          Now forgive me if I am mistaken, but if someone were to choose to be submissive, and were to choose to honour a relationship by showing their submissive desires openly, and chose to do this of their own accord, would that not be autonomous? Would the people in said relationship, by choosing to stay true to themselves rather than the social norms, be displaying the very definition of autonomy?

          • There’s no need to get snarky and sarcastic. My argument has always been that the symbol of the collar, not the relationship, is offensive. You are correct in your description of the relationship as being autonomous and liberated. However, I feel that using a collar to symbolize that relationship objectifies the submissive member and has deep undertones of ownership and slavery.

          • @Wendy: If a person wants to be owned, then so be it. Who are you to say that their symbol is disgusting? Should that be the couple’s choice in devotional displays, why is it a chip on your shoulder?

            As someone who lived in a relationship where I was the collared submissive, I respectfully as you to refrain from statements like “disgusting.”

            In addition, not all subs are slaves.

        • @ Wendy, I’m just putting it out there that although the picture has a lock, not all do. For example, my collar isn’t lockable; He got it from a store while out shopping with our adopted grandmother. (She’s a Marine and a Pastor — she thinks plain thongs are too sexy for good girls!)

          Please don’t assume anything about the propriety of a lock and key. He holds the proverbial key to my heart and if He so chose, the key that allows me to remove my sign of commitment.

          And it does have undertones of slavery. Those who are collared slaves tend to have consented to being in slavery… And subs AREN’T slaves. There is no undertone of slavery unless BOTH parties want it. Consent is the first rule of a D/s or M/s relationship.

    • “Ownership”, for many in the BDSM lifestyle, is exactly the desired image. You can note the use of “slave” terms and references in their commitment ceremony, above. Similarly, many people in the BDSM realm refer to their submissives as “pet”, so a collar is a very apt symbol. This is a bond that these people have chosen.
      I suggest reading some of the Ds posts that are floating around on the internet to learn more about the lifestyle. It’s clear that entering a union like this is based on the shared agreement that neither person will abuse their role or the other person. But the internet can fill you in a lot more about Ds lifestyles than I could!
      I used to be very put-off by the Ds lifestyle. But upon researching, I’m learning to appreciate that the symbology is generally just that–a symbol of a commitment. The collar is not entirely unlike a wedding ring, and the wearers choose to imbue it with whatever meaning they feel is appropriate and true to their hearts. Consider that you’re the one that’s placing a negative meaning on it instead of the other way around. You come to the table with your own connotations, but these people clearly feel quite differently about what it means. And that’s okay–for me, I don’t think “slave” is an appropriate word to use for just about anything outside of real, forced human servitude, but these people see it as a badge of pride, love, respect and commitment–not objectification.

    • Part of the allure of the relationship embodied in a D/s relationship is the TRUST one must really have in their partner. The trust needed to go through with some things that you would experience in a D/s relationship is extreme, more extreme than the trust needed to give some one access to your bank account or your car keys. If you are in a committed enough D/s relationship to WANT to publicly or privately go through a commitment ceremony you should be able to trust that person literally with your life. You trust them to suspend you from a ceiling or whip you, you should be able to trust them to take the collar off and do as you wish if you were to want it off or want out of the relationship.

      It is because of feminism that I am comfortable submitting fully and completely and trusting implicitly my Partner. If men were still dominating women in the real world every day way of things there is no way I would be able to fully trust my Partner.

      While the image of a locked collar does hit some nerves and may even cause a visceral gut reaction please try to keep harsh wording to a minimum. There are many who think that a gay couple adopting a child out of foster care disgusting, but we all know its not ACTUALLY disgusting.

      People may symbolize their commitment and TRUST however they want as long as it is safe sane and consensual.

    • Collaring is not exclusive to women. It is a commitment a dominant and his/her submissive, be it a woman to a man, man to a woman, man to a man, etc. Many times the dom/sub role does not involve traditional sex roles. I have friends who are committed to their sub/dom and do not engage in sexual intercourse with each other. Feminism and BDSM can and do work together. Feminism is about choice, not forced roles. If a woman wants to be a sub or a dom, it’s HER choice.

      Your objection to the collar as a symbol of a consensual choice by both the dom and the sub and in many cases their committed significant others, is nothing sort ethnocentric (for lack of a better term). You are placing your own views of a symbol of another culture as better than your own and not in the context of the culture in which it occurs.

    • There are many in the BDSM culture that do use the collar as a symbol of ownership. But, at the same time, it is completely unlike what most people would think of as “slavery”. It is done with the consent of the person being collared. The collar symbolizes a long term commitment between the Dominant and submissive, in which there is a lot of trust given on both parties. A collar really is the most appropriate adornment for this type of relationship, where the lines of Master and slave are clearly drawn.

      No matter who it is entering the relationship, be it man or woman, they come to it of their own free will and wear the collar with pride.

    • Hey Wendy

      I’m the one getting collared in this very ceremony.

      I’m also the man.

      This is what I want, and I should be allowed to have it.

      I *want* a release from autonomy. I want to be allowed to wholeheartedly belong to another. While I don’t identify as a slave, I do identify as a pet. That’s my choice, and the relic I choose to symbolize it with is the Collar.

      You don’t get to decide what’s right for me, regardless of my sex/gender.

  7. This is awesome!

    I really love this line: “in doing so we must acknowledge its place amongst the other commitments of our lives.”

    That is a line that could be applied to a variety of ceremonies and is very interesting to think on.

    Thanks for sharing and best wishes~

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