Whether you’re officiating for two of your closest friends or looking to personalize your own wedding ceremony, writing a civil ceremony script is a way to truly honor the main focus of beautiful wedding day. Weddings are steeped in traditions old and new, providing a plethora of different approaches to writing either a traditional or modern wedding ceremony script. For example, you may choose to incorporate a personalized unity ceremony or find a unique way to exchange marriage vows.
No matter which elements you choose, begin by exploring the traditional order of the ceremony and roles of the officiant. Peruse our tips and scripts below to build that ceremony that best celebrates your unique union.
Tips for Writing a Ceremony Script
Consider these basic guidelines before writing the best wedding ceremony script for you or the couple you’re about to celebrate.
Start with Structure
A traditional wedding script often sticks to the same basic structure, guiding the timing and momentum of the ceremony. Of course you’re always welcome to break the mold once you get writing—that’s the best part about writing a new script—but with all things, understand the traditional structure first and then break the rules when you feel it heightens your vision.
Simplicity in Storytelling
Much like a great wedding toast, the simplest stories are often the most romantic speeches. Don’t underestimate the power of speaking about how the couple met or by telling an anecdote that represents the beauty of their relationship. If you’re a friend officiating their big day, personalize the script by speaking about what the couple means to you and your community.
Make it About the Couple
Even though the officiant leads the ceremony, the focus should always remain on the couple and their story. Also keep in mind that nerves are running high that day. Simplicity both in traditions and the script itself can put the couple at ease to simply listen and take in the moment.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Though this moment should truly represent the couple, keep in mind if there are young children or older relatives that may be uncomfortable if the ceremony goes too long. If the ceremony takes place outdoors, the environment like heat or wind can start to distract. Additionally, include stories about the couple that the whole group can relate to—the ceremony has the opportunity to inspire the whole crowd in their own love story.
Run it by a Proofreader
Get an extra set of eyes on your script—especially if you’re keeping it a complete surprise from the couple—just to make sure your through-line reads clearly to another audience. Stories that seem perfect to you may not resonate as much with another audience, so accept feedback to make this the best wedding script it can be. Before the big day, read the ceremony script out loud to a friend to hear how it flows.
Wedding Ceremony Script Outline
Each wedding ceremony script tends to include the following elements, with room for added traditions and personalized details.
- Welcome – Officiant welcomes all family and friends and thanks them for coming together to support this couple today.
- Reading – 1-2 friends and family members do a short reading from a religious text or favorite piece of literature.
- Vows – By either repeating after the officiant or exchanging handwritten vows, the couple declares their promise to love one another for a lifetime.
- Blessing – The officiant instructs the couple to exchange rings, blessing their union together through the symbol of this promise.
- Conclusion and pronouncement – Declaration that the couple is now married due to the power vested in the officiant. The officiant announces them as a married couple for the first time and welcomes a kiss.
Traditional Ceremony Script Sample
(After the processional, the officiant asks the guests to take a seat, and begins)
Officiant: Family members, loved ones and dear friends, we welcome you here today to witness the union of these two beautiful people, [bride and groom]. Many of you have traveled from all over the country to celebrate the beginning of their journey together. We are so thankful that you’ve joined us in honor of this momentous occasion.
Take a moment to look at your community that has come here to support you. They stand as a symbol of strength and love that will follow you throughout your life together, in the good times and the bad. Let us all also take a moment to remember those who were not able to be here today. We keep them in our hearts and minds as we celebrate your union.
(Officiant includes personal story about how the couple met and what brought them to this day)
By being here today, you’ve decided to declare, before all your family and friends, that a life by each other’s side is far more beautiful than one where you walk apart. It is a promise to grow together, inspire one another and to dedicate each day to find ways to spread this love and light to the world around you.
Today, the bride’s sister and the groom’s best man will share a portion of the couple’s favorite books.
[Bride and Groom], please look at one another and join hands.
[Bride], please repeat after me.
(Couple repeats in between each section)
[Groom], I take you as my family/ my dearest friend/ and my partner in life./ I will support your dreams and guide your journey/ I will work to inspire you each day/ and never lose faith in your unceasing love./ I vow in front of our friends and family/ to do this for the rest of our days.
(Officiant turns to the bride and repeats the vows)
[Bride], do you take [Groom] as your beloved husband, to honor and care for the rest of your life?
[Bride]: I do
And [Groom], do you take [Bride] as your beloved husband, to honor and care for the rest of your life?
[Groom]: I do
Could we please have the wedding rings? (Best Man delivers the rings to the couple) Thank you.
Please repeat after me.
[Bride], I give you this ring/ as a symbol of my steadfast love and affection/ to represent our infinite future/ and a sign of our boundless love.
([Bride] places the ring on [Groom]’s finger, and the exchange is repeated for [Groom])
[Bride] and [Groom], you have declared your lifelong dedication to one another and have exchanged chosen rings to remind you of this sacred vow. By the power vested in me, it is with my greatest honor to pronounce you, for the first time, husband and wife. You may now share your first kiss as a married couple.
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce, [Bride] and [Groom] Smith!
Modern Wedding Script Sample
(After the processional, the officiant asks the guests to take a seat, and begins)
Officiant: Good afternoon. [Bride], [Groom] and I would like to welcome everyone on this gorgeous day. It’s because of all of you—because of this strong community—[Bride] and [Groom]’s relationship has strengthened and grown and led them to this very moment. Thank you for being here, now let’s begin.
[Groom] and [Bride], what you’ve accomplished here today is no small feat. Your journey began way before you sent out the invitations, chose this beautiful venue or even decided to spend the rest of your lives together.
Your journey began the moment you first met. You took the time to learn what makes the other person smile, what makes them laugh and how to best support them when life is less than simple. You welcomed each other’s families, communities and lifelong friends, and joined them together with warmth and enthusiasm. You built a new village with your love, and have worked every day to support this village as it changes and grows.
Marriages bring hard days, just as they bring beautiful ones. This day is a reminder of what your love has already accomplished, and the amazing possibilities of what it can continue to accomplish and overcome in the many, many years ahead of you.
As our reading today, [Bride] has asked her cousin to perform an original poem to honor their vows.
[Groom] and [Bride], please take each other’s hands and repeat after me:
[Groom], I swear to you/ that I will dedicate my life from this day forward/ to filling our days with beauty and laughter./ I will celebrate your spirit and all of your accomplishments/ work to inspire you/ and be here to remind you of your beauty and strength./ I take you today as my partner/ my confidant/ my other half/ and I will love you for the rest of my life.
(Officiant turns to [Bride] and repeats the vows)
[Bride] and [Groom], do you take one another as partners, form this day forward, as husband and wife? Please yell a hearty “We do!”
(Couple says “We do!”)
And to everyone here, do you promise to stand by this couple, to remind them of their vows, and to act as an example of love and family? Please yell a hearty “We do!”
(Crows says “We do!”)
Exchange of Rings
[Groom] and [Bride] have chosen these rings to represent the unbreakable circle of life and love. Please place them on each other’s ring fingers and repeat after me.
I give you this ring/ to remind you of this day/ when in front of our closest community/ we vowed that our love can overcome all things/ that our love unites, inspires and celebrates/ and will continue do so for the rest of our lives.
[Groom] and [Bride], it is with such joy that I now send you out into the world to spread the beautiful light that you share with those around you. By the power vested in me, I now, for the first time, pronounce you married. Now kiss and go celebrate!
Writing a wedding ceremony script is a deeply personal task. Between the vows and exchange of rings, many couples choose to also add a unity ceremony, which may include a brief explanation of its significance. Keeping your wedding program wording clear and succinct also keeps the group informed on what to expect and how to best support the couple on their big day.