Modern wedding ceremony script with short, non-religious, gender-neutral vows

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A train ride ceremony and stunning kilts and bridal suits at this Railroad Museum of New England wedding
Photo by TimeFrozen Photography from this railroad museum wedding we featured a while back.

Maybe you've been asked to officiate a friend's wedding. Maybe you're planning your own wedding, and looking for sample ceremony scripts to share with your officiant. You know you want something modern — not too long, not too much talk of religion (spoilers: atheists aren't the only ones who want secular wedding ceremonies these days!), and completely gender neutral. Well, we've got you. Take a look at this modern wedding ceremony script based on a ceremony that writer Catherine Faris King wrote for some friends she married…

Greeting and introduction

We are gathered here today to celebrate and consecrate the joining in marriage of [Partner] and [Partner].

All of us are pilgrims, on our way to a certain destination but along an unknown road. And no one journeys alone. There is nothing that so lightens the load as finding the right companion, someone who makes you laugh and makes you cry… someone whose story matches yours.

Over the past X years, [Partner] and [Partner] have journeyed together, and they stand before us today to pledge their love and commitment to be one another's companions, sharing their burdens, mingling their stories, and lighting the path for one another, for as long as they live.

Handfasting, with family

I invite the couple's families to come forward, and to assist their children in binding their hands together, and with that, uniting two lives, two hearts, and two families.

Each parent couple offers a cord to [Partner 1], to symbolize an aspect of love that the givers embody, and that the couple hope to realize in their marriage.

  • The first cord symbolizes the virtue of Patience, helping Partner and Partner to face up to life's challenges.
  • This cord represents Understanding, so that in their life together, they may communicate clearly, and share their life's vision.
  • This cord represents Devotion, to make love clear every day, in feeling and in action.
  • This cord is for Trust, that each may rely on their partner fully and absolutely.
  • This cord represents Joy, to promise abiding comfort in one another.
  • This cord is for Honesty, so that their hearts may be open to one another.
  • This cord represents unconditional love, which alters not when alteration finds, but is an ever-fixed mark.
  • And the final cord represents Self-Sacrifice. As Scripture reminds us, we are never closer to God than when we give of ourselves to our loved ones — whether in grand, singular acts, or in day-by-day works of kindness.

The vows

Do you promise to strive for these virtues,
To protect, honor, and cherish your spouse,
To give yourself to a new life with them,
With courage, joy, gratitude, and love?

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Comments on Modern wedding ceremony script with short, non-religious, gender-neutral vows

  1. When my wife and I got married we did a rose ceremony as a way of unifying the two families. We had a small guest list, maybe 15 people, and everyone had their own rose. Our guests were invited up during the ceremony to place their roses all together in a vase and then my wife and I exchanged roses, as first gifts, and placed our gifts in the vase with the guests’ roses. It’s another unique way of marrying two people together without tying any one type of religion to it, for on that day we all became family.

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