Mix-and-Match, Cut-and-Paste, or create the words of your choice that best reflect your heart-felt feelings.

A wedding ceremony, even when using standard wording, is a very personal and intimate event. Throw away the ‘rule book’ and ask yourself what will give the day meaning and make it memorable for you. Start there to create your special day!

Please use the templates offered as guidance for crafting your own ceremony. Feel free to make changes and tailor it to best reflect what you want to be the template for your marriage.

 

A BASIC CIVIL CEREMONY

(10-15 MINUTES)

The most basic non-denominational traditional marriage vows are the Question of Intention and the Standard Civil Ceremony. The Question of Intention commences with the officiant performing the ceremony asking the couple to join hands before asking each, groom first, the following:

“[Name], do you take [Name] to be your wedded [husband/wife/partner] to live together in marriage. Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep [him/her] For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to [him/her] so long as you both shall live?”

Which is answered by “I do”. The official then pronounces them man and wife by the power vested in him or her.

The Standard Civil Ceremony can be adapted so that the couple makes personalized vows rather than answering the standard questions, as fin the following example:

“[Name], I take you to be my lawfully wedded [husband/wife/partner]. Be-fore these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you, with all of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”
Other commonly used traditional ceremonies are centered on the ex-change of rings. There is an official Exchange of Rings as the outward reminder of the promises made. This is the source of the phrase, “With this ring, I thee wed.” The rings are a symbol of an unbroken circle of love, freely given and received equally and with no beginning or end. They serve as a lifelong symbol and reminder of the wedding vows taken and the promises therein.

 

A SHORT CUSTOMIZED CEREMONY

(15-20 minutes)

 

OFFICIANT:

Invocation

 

Hello, and welcome to the ceremony that will unite ___________________ and ____________________ in marriage.

We gather here today to celebrate their union, and to honor their com-mitment to one another. Today ______________________ and _____________________ proclaim their love for one another before us, to family and friends, and to the world, and we celebrate with and for them.

Marriage is not to be taken lightly, for In marriage, we give ourselves freely, willingly, and generously into the hands of the one we love with the solemn intention to remain partners forever. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, by choosing to take full accountability and responsibility for your own happiness you offer to your partner your strength. In doing so mutually, you insure that your relationship will be durable, happy and healthy. In offering your partner your most authentic self, you will re-ceive the trustworthy love of your partner upon which to build your life together. In daring to open your hearts to one another, you offer hope to all of those who will be touched in some way by your life and through your commitment to one another.

(NOTE: You can insert a favorite poem or song, a statement made to one another or to your family, a rose ceremony, a unity candle, or any-thing else that represents your union.)

EXCHANGE OF VOWS
Vows
(Groom/Partner 1’s name)_________________________ , repeat after me:

I (groom/partner 1’s name) ______________ take you (bride/partner 2’s name) _____________ to be my (lawfully wedded wife/partner), to cherish and honor from this day forward, in good times and amidst chal-lenges, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, as long as we both shall live.

(Bride/Partner 2’s name) ____________________, repeat after me:

I (bride/partner 2’s name) __________________ take you (groom/partner 1’s name) ____________ to be my (lawfully wedded husband/partner) to cherish and honor from this day forward, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, as long as we both shall live.

 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

For thousands of years lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows. These rings are not necessarily of great value in themselves, but are made precious by the intention and reminder you hold as you wear them. Your rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bond together. Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as romance, a present that accepts a past and designs your fu-ture, and that, despite its certain sorrows and setbacks, your love re-mains a circle of happiness, wonder, and delight.

(Groom/Partner 1’s name) ________________ take (Bride’s/Partner 2’s name) _________________ ring and put it on his/her finger, and repeat after me:

Just as this circle is without end, my commitment to you is as durable and lasting. With this ring I take you to be my trusted partner for life.

(Bride/Partner 2’s name)__________________, put the ring on (Groom/Partner 2’s name) ______________ finger and repeat after me:

Just as this circle is without end, my commitment to you is as durable and lasting. With this ring I take you to be my trusted partner for life.

 

PRONOUNCEMENT

Inasmuch as you have consented together in this ceremony to live as a married couple and have sealed your vows in the presence of these wit-nesses, and by the giving of these rings, it gives me great pleasure by the power invested in me by the State of Washington, to pronounce that you are (Husband and Wife) (a Married Couple) (pronouncement of choice.

 

CUSTOMIZED EXPANDED CEREMONY

(20-40 minutes)

 

OFFICIANT:

Invocation:

 

Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous joining of two people whose friendship and mutual understanding have flowered in ro-mance. Today ___________ and_________________ proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together.

The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love,” a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.

So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people may over-look. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities that make our beloved special and unique. We see with eyes of hope, compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional acceptance. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. The one who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a reflec-tion of our wholeness and worthiness.

We who love, can look at each other’s life and say, “I touched his life,” or, “I touched her life,” just as an artist might say, “I touched this can-vas.” “Those brushstrokes in the comer of this magnificent mural, those are mine. I was a part of this life, and it is a part of me.” Marriage is to be welcomed into the life of another and belong to each other through a unique and diverse collaboration, like two threads crossing in different directions, yet weaving one tapestry together.

The secret of love and marriage is simple, but seldom easy. It is the find-ing of one’s life by offering it quite vulnerably to another. Such is the privilege of husband and wife – to be each himself, herself and yet an in-nate part of another; to face the certain challenges of the world strong, with the courage of two.

To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes the willingness to consistently choose being happy over being right. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes inner self-love and care, to go forward in a healthy way together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to integrate into our every day life. Authentic love is not an emotion, it is not fair-weathered, it is not a destination, but a journey.

 

EXCHANGE OF VOWS

Vows

(Partner 1) _________________________ , repeat after me:

I (Partner 1) ______________ take you (Partner 2) _____________ to be my (lawfully wedded)(wife/partner),
to cherish and honor from this day forward,
in good times and bad,
in sickness and in health,
for richer and poorer,
as long as we both shall live.

(Partner 2) ________________________________, repeat after me:

I (Partner 2) __________________ take you (Partner 1)_______________ to be my (lawfully wedded)(husband/partner) to cherish and honor from this day forward, in good times and amidst chal-lenges, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, as long as we both shall live.

 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

For thousands of years lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows. These rings are not necessarily of great value in themselves, but are made precious by the intention and reminder you hold as you wear them. Your rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bond together.
Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as romance, a present that accepts a past and designs your future, and that, despite its certain sorrows and setbacks, your love remains a circle of happiness, wonder, and delight.

(Partner 1) ________________, take (Partner 2’s) _________________ ring and put it on his/her finger, and repeat after me:

Just as this circle is without end, my commitment to you is as durable and lasting.

With this ring I take you to be my trusted partner for life.

(Partner 2) ____________, take (Partner 2’s) _________________ ring and put it on his/her finger, and repeat after me:

Just as this circle is without end, my commitment to you is as durable and lasting. With this ring I take you to be my trusted partner for life.

 

PRONOUNCEMENT

Inasmuch as you have consented together in this ceremony to live as a married couple and have sealed your vows in the presence of these wit-nesses, and by the giving of these rings, it gives me great pleasure by the power invested in me by the State of Washington, to pronounce that you are (Husband and Wife) (a Married Couple) (pronouncement of choice).

You may now kiss… (One another/your bride/your partner) to seal your promises.

I am happy to be the first to introduce you as…

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