There are enough movies that capture the traditional wedding ceremony and solidify its iconic language, it’s not uncommon to begin thinking they must be the standard. For all of our diversity, it’s pretty amazing that we do have an ingrained idea of the traditional wedding ceremony script. It might even be hard to imagine your wedding taking a different course, but don’t let that challenge hold you back if your vision includes a unique and personal wedding ceremony.

In truth, “the traditional” wedding ceremony script isn’t so easily defined because so many cultural, religious, and family traditions have informed weddings through the generations. But, looking at common ceremonies from a distance, they typically include:

  1. The processional of the wedding party
  2. The welcome or introduction given by the officiant or minister
  3. A themed address from the same
  4. The expression of intent (Think: “Do you take ___?” “I do.” This is the one non-negotiable part—though the words can be your own.)
  5. The vows
  6. The exchange of rings
  7. The pronouncement that the union is official
  8. The kiss
  9. The officiant’s closing
  10. The recessional of the wedding party

Despite the number of parts in this list, ceremonies tend to be only about 20 minutes in length. So, there’s plenty of room for creativity and not a lot of pressure to plan something big and elaborate.

If you’re interested in how to write a non-traditional wedding ceremony script, it’s less important what shape other wedding ceremonies have taken on in the past and more important how you envision your ideal ceremony playing out. Your best tools are your intuition, your personal values and priorities, and the original ideas you bounce off of each other. And let’s not forget—an officiant who can understand your wishes and embrace the direction you want to go with the ceremony.

Important Things to Consider When Writing Your Own Wedding Ceremony Script

Just as it’s perfectly okay to have no cake cutting ceremony or no wedding cake at all—just as it’s fine to skip the age-old wedding guest book—you hold the reins to plan your wedding ceremony in the way that fits you and your life and your values best. You may be asking yourself how much time and energy you want to put into the ceremony plan when there is so much to be done for the reception and everything else around the edges. Again, that is completely up to you, and it’s worth taking some time out now to understand and gauge your priorities. If you do want to spend the time imagining a modern and personal wedding ceremony script, it will set the tone for everything else to follow on the wedding day. It can help to connect your guests with each other and with the spirit of your partnership before the party even starts.

“We are gathered here today” to set aside anything that doesn’t resonate with you and to experiment with ceremony ideas that feel even more familiar and inspiring—because they come from you. Carve out some time soon to sit down with your sweetie and start a list of ideas. At least for right now (phase one), avoid the “buts” and just brainstorm any and all possibilities that feel right for you. Setting aside the logistics—and the assumptions of what a wedding ceremony should include—will allow your imaginations to stretch.

How to Choose a Marriage Officiant Who Gets You

No matter how hard you work at it, you’re going to be turning the ceremony over to your officiant to lead it. So, it’s important that you find someone who can embrace your creativity and even meet it with some of their own (just like your ideal wedding planner). Remember that there are also alternative options for wedding officiants: if you would feel more comfortable asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding ceremony, it is possible for them to get ordained for the event.

During your exploration process, meet with different officiants and try to get to know them as much as possible. Share with them some of your ideas for the ceremony, and notice how they react to your creativity and your interest in going the alternative route. Your best case scenario is someone who can get excited about your ideas and contribute some perspective that you can get excited about too. They can help you with phase two as you narrow down all of your ideas and organize the actual wedding ceremony. They’ll contribute significant parts of the script once you’ve helped them to understand the intended tone and the nature and nuances of your relationship.

How to Write a Wedding Ceremony Script That Feels Like Your Own

Non-traditional doesn’t necessarily mean non-religious—it doesn’t even mean that no traditions are involved. What it means is that you start by embracing the uniqueness of your partnership, and you let that inform the celebration of your union. You may want to draw from different family and cultural traditions that have touched your lives—like this creative couple who envisioned an entire wedding weekend full of meaningful, interactive ceremonies and activities.

Don’t hesitate to make your wedding ceremony script funny or even to invite tears. You can get your guests involved in warming the rings or reciting vows or contributing flowers—because, after all, they’ve been supporting and will continue to support your partnership. You can incorporate music that is unusual for the traditional wedding ceremony vibe. The ceremony is yours and the memories will be for you and your guests to take away, so flow with the rituals and celebrations that really do inspire you and your relationship.

We know it’s tough to narrow down all of the ideas you might gather from Pinterest or anywhere else. We’re here to help—with the ceremony, the reception, and any creative wedding elements you really want to bring to life. Our passion is helping to make your wedding dreams a reality, so get in touch.

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