As celebrants, we sure do love to write ceremony scripts! It’s the best part of the job! There are several aspects to the job of celebrant that can be tricky to master, from mustering the bravery to stand up and speak in public to finding the right tone and formality with which to speak to your couple.
Writing a wedding ceremony script is another of these aspects that takes time to master, but with our helpful tips you can start crafting beautiful ceremony scripts for your ceremonies right now.
Writing a Wedding Ceremony Script
What Do Officiants Say at Weddings?
The first thing you might be asking yourself is: What exactly does an officiant, or celebrant, actually say during a wedding?
Clearly, a lot depends on the couple you’re talking about – you’ll want to dedicate a decent amount of time to tell the story of the couple: how they met, what their first date was like, how the proposal went down, etc. There may be opportunities for family members to come to the front a share stories, poems, or readings that are pertinent to the couple’s relationship; alternatively, you may be asked to read these yourself.
If the couple have decided to include special ceremony elements such as a hand-fasting or a unity sand ceremony, you’ll need to prepare some symbolic words to go with the actions being performed as well.
Most importantly, of course, you’ll need to find some words for the ring exchange and the pronouncement – although because celebrants aren’t allowed to conduct legal ceremonies (yet!), it is advised to stay away from the words “I now pronounce you husband and wife.
How Do You Write a Wedding Ceremony Script?
While everyone writes their wedding ceremony script differently, here’s a few pointers as to how you might want to go about it:
- Meet the couple and get to know them, and find out what they want to include in the ceremony.
- Plan the structure of the ceremony before you start writing it, to get a feel for the flow, and how everything ought to fit together.
- Write the personal parts of the ceremony first, such as the couple’s story.
- Put together the words you’ll need for any ceremony elements, such as the hand-fasting or the unity sand ceremony.
- Put all the pieces of the ceremony together into a full document, including any poems or readings that will be read.
- Link everything together with ‘intros’ and ‘outros’, such as thanking people for the reading they’ve given, or introducing pieces of music.
- Check everything through visually for any inconsistencies or typos.
- Read the ceremony aloud at least once, to get a feel for how it sounds, and make any edits where necessary.
How Long Should a Wedding Ceremony Script Be?
This question really depends on how long the couple is expecting the ceremony to take. A very basic wedding ceremony will take a minimum of 15 minutes, although many might feel a little short-changed if it’s that short. 20-30 minutes is fairly standard, but if it’s an elaborate ceremony with lots of different elements, several contributions from friends and/or family, and multiple pieces of music, it can last up to an hour or more. If you know how long the ceremony should be, reading the script aloud after you’ve finished it will give you an idea as to whether you need to add or remove any content.
Wedding Ceremony Outline
Use this outline to start to map out your ceremony script. Remember, ceremony scripts should be individual to the couple; however, this is a great starting point to help craft your ideal ceremony.
- Introduction to the wedding ceremony
- Couple’s love story
- Ring exchange
- Inclusion of something symbolic like a hand-fasting or sand ceremony
- Aisle and confetti walk
Should the Couple Write Their Own Vows?
This is totally down to what you agree with the couple themselves, and it can usually go one of three ways:
- The couple will write their own vows completely themselves without any input from you.
- The couple will write their own vows and ask you to cast your expert eye over them to ensure they flow nicely.
- The couple will ask you to write the vows entirely yourself, though they’ll likely want to read through them before the ceremony.
Whichever of these three options you agree upon, it’s highly recommended for the celebrant to have a copy of the vows in their script, just in case!
Check out The Celebrant Directory’s guide to writing your own wedding vows and personalising the ceremony, always a good resource to help your couples!
Should a Wedding Ceremony Script Include Religious Elements?
Again, this totally depends on the what the couple wants. More and more couples are irreligious or come from mixed-faith backgrounds these days, so often they won’t want any religious elements in the ceremony so as not to make either bride or groom uncomfortable. Our job as a celebrants is to be as flexible as possible, however, so if the couple does request a religious hymn, poem, reading, or anything else, then you should try to accommodate this request as best as you can – so long as you don’t feel uncomfortable yourself.
Wedding Ceremony Script Examples
Here are a few examples of texts you might like to use at various moments of the ceremony:
- “Welcome to the most important day in the lives of Max and Evelyn.”
- “Today, we are brought together by the most wonderful, natural and sometimes most confusing thing in the world – love!”
- “Welcome, family and friends, to the party we’ve all been waiting for!”
- “Max, I promise that I will respect you as an individual, support you through difficult times, rejoice with you through happy times, be loyal to you always, and, above all, love you as my husband and friend.”
- “Evelyn, I vow to always turn the football off when you have something important to say, I vow to never watch any episodes of Friends without you, and I vow to always put the toilet seat down.”
- “Max, I give you this ring as a sign of my undying love for you, from this day until the end of time.”
- “Evelyn, with this ring, we forge a new path on our adventure together. I love you, always, as my best friend.”
- “May you have many joys, and be the light of each other’s days. May all that you are, always be in love; and may all that is love, always be in you.”
Jennifer is the Director of the leading celebrant training company, The Academy of Modern Celebrancy as well as the Founder of The Celebrant Directory, supporting over 600 celebrants globally.
Jennifer run a 2.5k community of celebrants who she dedicates her time to helping them grow their businesses and taking celebrancy from a hobby to a lifestyle.
Jennifer heads up the global Celebrant Industry Awards and the global celebrant summit, Celebrantopia each year!
A celebrant herself since 2010, she knows what it takes to make it in the industry and trains the best celebrants out there across the UK, Europe and the USA.
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