Our microwedding rose ceremony (complete with gender neutral ceremony script!)

Guest post by Nick Straub
 | Photography by Michelle Lyerly
Samantha & Nick Straub at their wedding. (PS: they're also Asheville wedding photographers themselves!) All photos by Michelle Lyerly.

We decided to have a very intimate wedding with under 15 guests. Some may think it was more like an elopement, but we definitely planned it out like a full wedding day. Because it was so intimate, we wanted everything we planned to be very deliberate and really portray our relationship with each other and those few who would be with us.

Our wedding party was extremely small with just a matron of honor and best man, but we had another friend that we wanted to include in some way without being in the wedding party, so we asked him to get ordained, and he said yes! Since we aren't religious and our friend had never performed a wedding before, we were very hands-on with the ceremony's script and how it would go. We wanted to do more than just exchange vows and rings, so of course, we took to the internet to find ideas.

We came across endless inspiration for sand ceremonies, unity candles, lock ceremonies, so many different options for unity ceremonies.

But none of them were quite right for us…. until we found one small blurb about a rose ceremony. There are a couple of variations out there , but we chose the version that allowed all of your guests to participate.

How to structure your rose ceremony vows

  1. As guests are seated, they pick up a rose to hold throughout your ceremony.
  2. There is an empty vase, and two roses for each partner at the altar or wherever fits your setup.
  3. After vows and the ring exchange, but just before the declaration of marriage, you exchange roses as your first gift to each other as a married couple.
  4. You then place these two roses in a large vase and have your guests come up and add each of their roses to the vase. Having each guest place a rose in the vase alongside you and your partner allows you to honor each of your guests and create a floral arrangement representing the interrelationships of these family members and friends.

It was such an incredible moment to have at our wedding, and we decided to dry the flowers as a keepsake. We kept the roses that we gifted each other whole and saved the petals from our guests' roses to put in a glass box. We keep it on display in our house, and it's a daily reminder of the promise we made to each other and the love that surrounds us.

Our rose ceremony vows and wedding script:

“Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your rings, which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect, as well as a public showing of your commitment to each other.

The rose has always been considered a symbol of love, and a single rose has always meant only one thing, “I love you.” So it is appropriate that your first gift as a married couple be a single rose.

Please exchange your first gift as a married couple.


In some ways, it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago, you were holding one small rose, and now you are holding another small rose. And in some ways, a marriage ceremony is much like this.

It may appear like tomorrow is going to be no different than yesterday, but in fact, today, just now, you both have given and received on of the most valuable and precious gifts of life – one I hope you always remember – the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.

[Partners' names], I would ask that wherever you make your home in the future – whether it be a large and elegant home or a small and graceful one – that you both pick one very special location for roses, so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion, you both take a rose to that spot as a recommitment to your marriage and a recommitment that this will be a marriage based upon love.

In every marriage, there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt those we love most, and it is easiest to be hurt by those we love most. During these times, it might difficult to express the words “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” or “I need you” or “I am hurting.” If this should happen, if you simply cannot find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected – for that rose then says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words. That rose says the words “I still love you.” The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found and remember the love and hope that you both share today.

Now you all may be wondering why you are still holding a rose. Well, [Partners' names] have chosen for this ceremony to also honor the love they feel towards the loving people in their lives. They invite all of you to place a flower in this vase to create a garden of love for us all.

As each of you place your flower in this vase, it will create a new and fuller garden. Each flower represents an individual, and the floral arrangement represents the interrelationship of these family members and friends. May all of your relationships continue to grow and blossom.”


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Comments on Our microwedding rose ceremony (complete with gender neutral ceremony script!)

  1. Rose ceremony is such a beautiful custom. I love this part of the wedding ceremony when my clients choose to do it.

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