Super thorough non-religious wedding ceremony script, complete with readings and music suggestions

Guest post by Emily & Jack
Photos by Kaylina Norton

Emily and Jack got married in August of 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. When they shared their non-religious wedding ceremony script with us, we were blown away by how incredibly thorough it was — this wedding script includes ideas for music suggestions, a beautiful secular wedding reading from Neil Gaiman, and instead of wedding vows, the concept of “Love notes,” where Emily and Jack read each other short loving messages they’d written for each other. If you’re looking for some non-religious wedding ceremony ideas to steal, this script is full of ’em!

Processional:

[Pachelbel Cannon in D playing]

Officiant:

Welcome. At the request of the couple, I invite you all to turn off your cellphones and put down your cameras during the ceremony. The talented photographers with us today will capture and share these moments – we encourage you to enjoy the celebrations, without the distraction of technology.

[Stand By Me starts playing]

[Groom and Mom enter, hug, Mom sits]

Officiant:

Please stand for the bride

[Bride and Dad enter, hug, Dad sits]

Officiant:

Welcome. Please be seated.

[to Bride and Groom]

{Names}, today we are gathered here to celebrate the love you have discovered in each other and support the commitment you are about to make.

Marriage is more than two people standing here and repeating vows. There is an entire lifetime ahead of you and there are skills to be learned and practiced daily.

Part of marriage is finding happiness. Continue to search for the good, the fun, and the beautiful in this life to share with each other.

Part of marriage is being flexible. So, within your marriage cultivate flexibility, patience, and understanding, all while maintaining a sense of humor and joy.

Part of marriage is companionship. Strive to comfort one another and develop the capacity to forgive and heal your differences day by day.

Remember that your love can always prevail in times of turmoil. It will drive you to not only learn and to grow as individuals, but become stronger partners together.

Today, as you join yourselves in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. Today you enter as individuals, but you will leave here as husband and wife; your lives blending together and expanding the ties of your family and friends. You are embarking upon a great adventure, through which all of us here know you will prevail.

[to group]

{Names} present themselves to be married today, cheerfully surrounded by the people they love the most. They, and I, want to thank you for your presence here today. They ask for your encouragement and lifelong support in their decision to be married.

The bride and groom would like also to give a special thank you to their families who have loved and supported them every step of the way.“

Reading

{Groom}’s sister {Name} will join us now to read All I Know About Love, by Neil Gaiman.

 

This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.

This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.

 

Only that the world out there is complicated,

and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,

and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,

is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,

and not to be alone.

 

It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.

Somebody’s got your back.

Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you

or send for the army to rescue them.

 

It’s not two broken halves becoming one.

It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home

because home is wherever you are both together.

 

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,

like a book without pages or a forest without trees.

 

Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.

Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.

Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,

and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,

a dance you cannot be taught,

a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.

 

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,

not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.

And your hands will meet,

and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

 

Signing of Marriage License

Thank you {Name.} I’d like to now welcome {Groom}’s cousin, {Name}, to perform one of the couple’s favorite songs while they sign their marriage license.

Love Notes

Officiant:

The bride and groom will now exchange a few words they’ve written.

[Bride reads to Groom (200-300 words)]

[Groom reads to Bride (200-300 words)]

 

Traditional Vows/Rings

Officiant:

So are you ready to make this official?

[Bride takes Groom’s hand]

Officiant:

{Groom}, do you take {Bride Full Name} to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part?”

Groom:

I do.

[Bride puts ring on Groom]

[Groom takes Bride’s hand]

Officiant:

{Bride}, do you take {Groom’s Full Name} the fifth to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part?”

Bride:

I do.

[Groom puts ring on Bride]

Outro and Pronouncement

Officiant:

{Names}, you have come here today of your own free will and, in the presence of your family and friends, have declared your love and commitment to each other.

By the power vested in me by the internet and the State of [your state], I now pronounce you husband and wife!

[Feeling Good starts at 0:33]

[BUM BUM] [Kiss]

[Clap & Cheer]

[walk out]

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