Sunday, October 21, 2007

Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony

When my wife and I were married, we decided that we wanted to have a nonreligious ceremony. We did a lot of research and found different books and examples to go by. We ended up writing our own ceremony, and I thought it went really well. I thought that I'd share it here for anyone looking for an atheist wedding, an agnostic wedding, or just someone who doesn't wish to repeatedly invoke a deity that is not a major part of their life. I hope this helps. This is a copy of the script that we gave to the Justice of the Peace (JoP) that officiated our wedding. The music was performed by a string quartet that we hired. All together, it lasted about 25 minutes.

Wedding Ceremony

(We had a String Quartet perform the music mentioned)

Opening Music-
(Processional- Pachelbel, Canon in D)

Bride’s Entrance- (Vivaldi, Winter, Largo (Fade out music after bride and groom
are together))

Welcome from JoP
(We do not want any introduction/recognition stating that this is a civil ceremony, and different from a ‘regular’ wedding. There are guests in attendance that are religious, and we don’t want to offend anyone by bringing extra attention to the fact that the wedding is not religious. Thank you)

"Greetings and welcome. We have gathered together to celebrate the marriage of (Bride name) and (Groom name). Marriage is the promise of hope between two people who love each other, who trust that love, who honor one another as individuals in that togetherness, and who wish to share the future together.
It enables the two separate people to share their desires, longings, dreams, and memories, their joys and laughter, and to help each other through their uncertainties. It provides the encouragement to risk more and thus to gain more. In marriage, the husband and wife belong together, providing mutual support, stability, and comfort to share for the rest of their lives."

Song- (Horner, The Secret Wedding (music from the Motion Picture Braveheart))

“Marriage has certain qualities of contract, in which two people take on the housekeeping tasks of living together, to enhance life’s joy.

However, marriage is more than a contract. Marriage is commitment to take that joy deep, deeper than happiness, deep into the discovery of who you most truly are. It is a commitment to a spiritual journey, to a life of becoming- in which joy can comprehend despair, running through rivers of pain into joy again.

And thus marriage is even deeper than commitment. It is a covenant- a covenant that says:
I love you. I trust you. I will be here for you when you are hurting, and when I am hurting, I will not leave.
It is a covenant intended not to provide haven from pain or from anger and sorrow. Life offers no such haven. Instead, marriage is intended to provide a sanctuary safe enough to risk loving, to risk living and sharing from the center of oneself. This is worth everything.” (Margaret A. Keip)

So as marriage is the covenant, vows are the entrance into that commitment. The first step down the road that they will travel together, for the remainder of their lives."

Declaration of Intent-
"(Bride name)/(Groom name), will you take (Bride name)/(Groom name), to be your husband/wife? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and protect him/her and forsaking all others to be faithful to him/her for as long as you both shall live?"
- I do.

"(Bride name),(Groom name), repeat after me:
I, (Bride name)/(Groom name) take you (Bride name)/(Groom name) to be my (husband/wife), my better half, and my best friend. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever. I will hold gently the heart you have given to me, and will always be open, honest, and faithful to you. I take you for my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish for all the days of my life."

Song- Fauré, Pavane

“The hand which you each offer to the other is an extension of yourselves; just as is the warmth and love which you express to each other. Cherish the touch, for you are touching another life. Be sensitive to its pulse, and try to understand and respect its flow and rhythm, just as you do your own.”
(Paul L’ Herrou)

(Repeat after the JoP-)
This ring, which has no beginning and no end, symbolizes that the love between us will never cease. May its presence on your hand remind you of my love. I place it on your finger as a visible sign of the vows which have made us husband and wife.

(Walk to the sand pedestal- we had a waist-high pedestal with an empty glass flask with a cork. On either side of the flask, was a smaller glass flask, filled with a different colored sand. We got the colored sand at a local crafts store, and since our wedding colors were navy and lavender, we had matching sand. Depending on the flasks, you may also need a funnel of some sort. We each poured the sand from our containers into the common, larger flask while the following song was playing.)

These two flasks are filled with sand. Each grain represents a moment of (Bride name) and(Groom name)s' lives. Until now, these moments have been spent as separate individuals. From this day, and every day after, these moments shall be shared, and spent as one.

Song- Bach, Air From Suite Number Three

By the power vested in me by the state of , I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.

I am now pleased present Mr. and Mrs. (Last Name).

Rescessional- Vivaldi, Spring, Allegro