Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts and Writing Tips

Wedding Ceremony Script

PHOTO BY GLORIA GOODE PHOTOGRAPHY 

The wedding ceremony is the heart of the wedding day. The dress, the flowers, the food are all icing on the cake, but the ceremony is where two people actually become married—legally, spiritually, and literally. Considering the significance, it’s surprising that many couples often leave the wedding ceremony planning to the last minute, according to wedding officiant and professional vow writing coach Tanya Pushkine. “It’s so rare that the wedding ceremony is thought of as a priority,” says Pushkine. “It’s almost like an afterthought.”

Meet the Expert

Tanya Pushkine is a professional vow writing coach, ceremony planner, and officiant based in New York City. She’s known as the “vow whisperer” for her ability to craft authentic and memorable ceremonies that reflect the unique personalities and beliefs of the couple.

Pushkine recommends that brides start thinking about the ceremony early in the wedding planning process so that they know what to ask for when they meet with their wedding planner or day-of coordinator. Religious ceremonies are typically more fixed in terms of the service, language, and traditions, while secular/non-religious ceremonies give couples a lot more flexibility to personalize the ceremony to their unique tastes.

All weddings have a standard format (processional, readings, vows, exchange of rings, pronouncement, first kiss, and recessional), but by changing up the readings, verbiage, and incorporating creative rituals into the service, you can make it completely your own and create a service that leaves your guests laughing, crying, and excited about what’s coming next. “Millennials are writing their own rules,” Pushkine says of modern wedding ceremonies. “They’re looking to create an experience, which is different than before, where couples just did what their parents did.”

Below, we’ve outlined wedding ceremony script writing tips and a few sample wedding ceremony scripts to inspire you.

Wedding Ceremony Script Writing Tips

Start early.

Don’t leave writing your wedding ceremony until the last minute. Get ahead of it and start doing your research early on in the wedding planning process so that you have plenty of time to find inspiration and craft a ceremony that reflects you as a couple. “It’s like a puzzle,” Pushkine warns. “There are so many different variations and themes to choose from when it comes to planning a wedding ceremony, so try to find unique elements that fit your personal style.”

Work with your officiant.

The officiant is the most important person at the ceremony—more than the newlyweds—because they’re leading the entire service, and they hold the power to actually marry the couple. If your officiant is a religious leader or experienced wedding officiant, they might already have an outline for the wedding ceremony that you can add onto, if you so choose. If you’re having a friend step in as the officiant, they’ll need some direction from the couple as to what they’ll want to include in the ceremony.

Don’t procrastinate writing your own vows.

If you decide to write your own vows, make sure you dedicate plenty of time to not only writing your vows but practicing your delivery as well. Your vows are a lifetime promise that you’re making to your partner in front of your closest friends and family, so they should be meaningful and personal, but without being too revealing. Choose your words carefully, and rehearse until you feel confident and comfortable saying them aloud. 

Keep it short and sweet.

Unless your ceremony involves a religious service, try to keep the ceremony length to no more than 30 minutes. Any longer and your guests might start looking at their watches. If you want a memorable ceremony that’s fun for everyone—not just the couple—try to make your ceremony interactive. “The best thing you can do to make your ceremony unique is to get people laughing,” Pushkine says. “Wedding ceremonies can be a lot of fun without completely disregarding the serious element involved.” 

Consider printing programs for your guests.

Personalized wedding ceremonies can be entertaining, but the farther away you get from the traditional ceremony format, the more confused your guests might be. Wedding programs are a great addition to make your guests feel more involved and aware of where the service is going.

Programs are also great to further explain more meaningful elements of the ceremony, like why you chose to include certain readings or rituals. 

Get a second opinion.

Make sure to have someone look over your wedding script before the big day to make sure it flows well and sounds both authentic and natural. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes to provide feedback and edit suggestions on what is likely the most important speech you’ll ever deliver.

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Now that you’re ready to start writing your own wedding ceremony script, here are a few sample scripts to use as a jumping-off point. Prepared by American Marriage Ministries (AMM).

Traditional Ceremony Script

PROCESSIONAL
Beginning of the wedding ceremony. Guests are seated followed by the entrance of the bridal party.

INVOCATION
Welcome, loved ones. We are gathered here today to join [Name] and [Name] in holy matrimony.

VOW EXCHANGE
[Name], I promise to cherish you always, to honor and sustain you, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, and to be true to you in all things until death alone shall part us.

[Name] I promise to cherish you always, to honor and sustain you, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, and to be true to you in all things until death alone shall part us.

RING EXCHANGE AND DECLARATION OF INTENT
With this ring I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.

With this ring I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.

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

Nonreligious Ceremony Script

PROCESSIONAL
Beginning of the wedding ceremony. Guests are seated.

INVOCATION
Family and friends, thank you all for coming today to share in this wonderful occasion. Today we are here together to unite [Name] and [Name] in marriage.

DECLARATION OF INTENT
Do you [Name], take this woman to be your lawfully wedded [husband/wife], to live together in matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, to have and to hold, from this day forward, as long as you both shall live?

I do.

Do you [Name], take this woman to be your lawfully wedded [husband/wife], to live together in matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, to have and to hold, from this day forward, as long as you both shall live?

I do.

RING EXCHANGE
[Name] and [Name] have chosen rings to exchange with each other as a symbol of their unending love. As you place this ring on [Name]’s finger, please repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed and pledge you my love now and forever.

[Name], as you place this ring on [Name]’s finger, please repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed and pledge you my love now and forever.

PRONOUNCEMENT
By the authority vested in me by the State of [State], I now pronounce you [husband and wife, husband and husband, wife and wife]!

RECESSIONAL
End of the wedding ceremony.

Modern Ceremony Script

INVOCATION
Welcome family and friends. We are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the marriage of [Name] and [Name]. This is not the beginning of a new relationship but an acknowledgment of the next chapter in their lives together. [Name] and [Name] have spent years getting to know each other, and we now bear witness to what their relationship has become. Today, they will affirm this bond formally and publicly.

[Name] and [Name] will mark their transition as a couple not only by celebrating the love between themselves, but by also celebrating the love between all of us—including the love of their parents, siblings, extended family, and best friends (all of whom couldn’t be here today due to the pandemic). Without that love, today would be far less joyous.

DECLARATION OF INTENT
Do you [Name] take [Name] to be your lawfully wedded [husband/wife]? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and not so good times, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself unto him for as long as you both shall live?

I do.

Do you [Name] take [Name] to be your lawfully wedded [husband/wife]? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and not so good times, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself unto him for as long as you both shall live?

I do.

RING EXCHANGE
A ring is an unbroken circle, with ends that have been joined together, and it represents your union. It is a symbol of infinity, and of your infinite love. When you look at these rings on your hands, be reminded of this moment, your commitment, and the love you now feel for each other.

[Name], place the ring on [Name]'s finger and repeat after me:

[Name], I give you this ring as a symbol of my love with the pledge: to love you today, tomorrow, always, and forever.

And now...[Name], place the ring on [Name]'s finger and repeat after me:

[Name], I give you this ring as a symbol of my love with the pledge: to love you today, tomorrow, always, and forever.

PRONOUNCEMENT
Before these witnesses, you have pledged to be joined in marriage. You have now sealed this pledge with your wedding rings. By the authority vested in me by the great State of [State], I now pronounce you married!

Christian Ceremony Script

INVOCATION
We are gathered here today in the sight of God and these witnesses to join together [Name] and [Name] in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God, since the first man and the first woman walked on the earth. Therefore; it is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly. Into this holy estate, these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore, if anyone can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.

READING
A reading from the Apostle Paul, The first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4 through 7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Father, as and pledge themselves to each other, help them and bless them that their love may be pure, and their vows may be true. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

DECLARATION OF INTENT
[Name] and [Name], you have come together this day so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of this minister of His word and this community of family and friends and so, in the presence of this gathering, I ask you to state your intentions: Have you both come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? If so, answer by saying 'I have.'

'I have.'

RING EXCHANGE
[Name], please take the ring you have selected for [Name]. As you place it on [his/her] finger, repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed.

[Name], please take the ring you have selected for [Name]. As you place it on [his/her] finger, repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed.

PRAYER
May Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, always be at the center of the new lives you are now starting to build together, that you may know the ways of true love and kindness. May the Lord bless you both all the days of your lives and fill you with His joy. Amen.

PRONOUNCEMENT
Those whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder. In so much as [Name] and [Name] have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, having given and pledged their faith, each to the other, and having declared same by the giving and receiving of rings, I pronounce that you are husband and wife. I ask you now to seal the promises you have made with each other this day with a kiss.

RECESSIONAL
End of the wedding ceremony.

Jewish Ceremony Script

SIGNING OF THE KETUBAH
The Ketubah is an ancient document and is a marriage contract that lays out the commitment that the couple has to each other. It is signed by two Jewish witnesses, neither of whom can be blood-related family members to the couple.

BEDEKEN
After the Ketubah signing, there is a short but meaningful ritual where the groom covers the bride’s face with her veil. The veiling itself is a symbol of modesty, based upon the biblical account of Rebecca meeting Isaac. Some couples put a modern spin on by having the bride place a (yarmulke) on the groom.

INVOCATION
We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of [Name] and [Name]. A special thanks to all of you that traveled from far and wide to witness the promise these two are about to make to one another. We are here to offer our love and support, and to stand with [Name] and [Name] as they begin this new chapter of their lives.

RING EXCHANGE
The couple will now exchange rings. These rings symbolize the never-ending love you feel for each other. The ring has neither a beginning nor an end, just as there is no beginning or end to what the partners give and receive. These rings will be a reminder of the vows you have taken today. By this ring, you are consecrated to me according to the law of Moses and Israel.

BLESSING OF THE HANDS
[Name] and [Name], please join hands. Looks at these hands for they are of your closest friend. They are strong and full of love. As you join hands today, you make the promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

THE SEVEN BLESSINGS
The Seven Blessings are now recited.

BREAKING THE GLASS
The ceremony is concluded by the groom stamping on a glass and smashing it. This is the signal for the gathered people to cheer, dance, shout “Mazal Tov!” Some couples choose to update this tradition by breaking the glass together with one swift smash in unison.

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