Like many non-traditional brides, I decided to write my own ceremony script. It was easy to write many of the sections based on inspiration from Offbeat Bride and other websites; most of the pieces in a ceremony script are fairly standard and easy to copy.
However, I wanted to add a few sections that were more romantic and personal than what I could find online. In particular, I wanted to highlight the importance of nature and beauty in my ceremony, and I couldn't find anything that addressed that. So, I decided to write those sections myself.
If other couples are looking for something similar, I wanted to offer what I came up with as inspiration. Feel free to copy or use this as a basis for your own ceremony scripts…
Please be seated. I am McKenzie's aunt Tamra, and I will be the officiant for today’s ceremony. Welcome family and friends. We are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the marriage of Coady and McKenzie. We are not here to mark the start of a relationship however; we are here to recognize a bond that already exists. Coady and McKenzie have spent the last seven years together, so we have come together to bear witness to the bond that has grown between them. Today, they will affirm this bond formally and publicly. But this affirmation of love would be empty if they could not share it with their most beloved friends and family members. As Proust said, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Coady and McKenzie hope that they can mark their transition to husband and wife 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. Without that love, today would be far less joyous. Thank you all for being here.
What a truly special day today is! Only rarely do any of us take the time to travel far away to meet all of our closest friends and family for the sole purpose of celebrating.
We usually spend our time concerned with the routine of daily living. We wake up, go to work, eat lunch, watch television. We worry, plan, work, drive. But for a few moments every so often, we get to experience something transcendent. When we witness pure beauty, we pause, amazed. We revel in the feeling, deep and beyond words, indisputable and timeless. It leaves us breathless and fulfilled and amazed. No matter how much we think of ourselves as rational, logical human beings, we have an irresistible drive to forget reason and simply feel something spiritual. Those are moments to be cherished.
Coady and McKenzie experience that when they see the beauty of nature. In their eyes, there is something more than the trees and the meadows and the rocks; there is something deep, sacred, and more striking. When they witness the mountains together, it evokes awe and splendor. It is indescribable and immense. This is the same feeling that they discovered by falling in love with one another.
When you are in love, you get to grab a piece of transcendence and take it with you in your daily life. You don’t have to trek to a river valley or to the top of a mountain to feel something important and indescribable; you can feel the beauty and enormity of the mountains within your own heart. And that is really why we are here today. Because love is enormous, and to take even a tiny piece into yourself and be able to experience and understand it is the greatest gift in the world. Today, we take the time to celebrate sublime moments in our lives and to remember just how important love is to all of us. When we were children, it was easy to see magic in the world; now we need days like this to remind us.
Jennifer, the maid of honor, will now read “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Shelley.
Reading #1: “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
Charge to the Couple
Coady and McKenzie, for the past seven years, you have built a strong foundation for your relationship based on honesty and respect. You have found joy in one another’s company, and you have become better, more fulfilled people because of your connection. You have been able to stay together through the varied challenges of high school, college, and your careers, because of your shared values, humor, history, and unconditional love for one another. As long as you maintain these qualities, you will have a long and successful marriage.
However, when a relationship matures, it is natural to become complacent. It is important to remember not to take your partner for granted or to neglect your relationship because your relationship so far has been easy. Instead, give priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that you each deserve. Remember to write love notes, give each other massages, and kiss in the rain. Take time to feed ducks at the park and take walks together. Share your passions, and discover life’s deeper questions. Pursue new experiences, grow together, and most importantly, laugh often. There will be difficulties ahead, but if you face them as a couple, with a strong sense of love, perspective, and mutual support, you will not only survive, but thrive.
A brief moment in time and the stroke of a pen are all that is required to create the legal bond of marriage, but it takes a lifetime of love, commitment, and laughter to make a marriage durable and eternal. The process of marriage does not begin or end today; it is a lifelong pursuit. Your relationship already has all of the necessary components for success, but you must to maintain that from here forward by remembering what is important in your relationship and why you are making this commitment to one another today. Coady and McKenzie, as long as you are both respectful of each other, you will make it through the numerous changes and chapters that your lives will take. As long as you honor the promises that you will make to each other today, you will create a life of love and happiness.
Sam, the best man, will now read “When I Am With You” by Rumi.
Reading #2: “When I Am With You” by Rumi
“When I Am With You”
When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.
You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones.
Officiant: Coady, do you take McKenzie to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?
Coady: I do
Officiant: McKenzie, do you take Coady to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?
McKenzie: I do
Then it is time to exchange rings. Wedding rings are a tangible symbol of the vows that you have just made to each other. Wear them every day to remind yourselves of the promises that you have made. In addition, realize that when you place the wedding rings on each other’s fingers, you are releasing the past, bringing only those memories, desires, and hopes which will belong to each other into your future life together.”
Officiant: Coady… [He reaches over to Sam, gets McKenzie’s ring]
Coady: With this ring, I thee wed. [Places ring on finger]
Officiant: McKenzie… [She reaches over to Jen, gets Coady’s ring]
McKenzi: With this ring, I thee wed. [Places ring on finger]
Coady and McKenzie, will you please come forward and sign your names to the certificate of marriage? With this act, your marriage becomes legally binding in the eyes of the State.
Declaration of Marriage
By the power vested in me by the great State of Colorado, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride. Family and friends, I present to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Shawcroft.