A non-traditional, non-religious, non-boring wedding ceremony script

Guest post by Mallory Perryman
 | Photography by Keith Lee
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…

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

Our wedding ceremony script


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]

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.

Mallory and her partner Katie. Photo by Keith Lee

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.


[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.



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Comments on A non-traditional, non-religious, non-boring wedding ceremony script

  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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

        • Is it possible you can email the script
          I’ve tried from the iPad and not having success

          It is brilliant I must say!

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

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