Most officiants will offer scripts for the couple to use as a wedding ceremony so as to provide some structure, clarity, and flow (short/longer). Many couples will opt for this route simplifying their lives and their day. Others, however, will choose to incorporate their own touches, apply special traditions, and add/subtract/modify the basic scripts offered, etc. While others still will want to start from scratch and create their entire ceremony from the ground up. It’s all good, at least here in New Hampshire for non-religious ceremonies. So, what we’re here to offer is a random selection of hints and tips that might help you add/subtract/modify or write your ceremony more effectively.
Tips and Hints to Consider
❤️ Simplify the Text Being Read
Complex verbiage will probably not benefit the officiant’s reading. While poetry or lyrics may be beautiful, complex texts and tongue twisters are not beneficial. Minimize flowery prose — save that creativity for your next novel. Keep it simple and to the point.
🏠 Create a Structure and Flow
We typically offer an opening statement, a vows/promises exchange (including an “I do” moment), a ring exchange, sometimes adding a re-cap and reflection, and a pronouncement at the end. We can also prompt the couple to do or say something, as wanted.
💯 Agree to a Word Count for Balance
If the couple chooses to recite something on their own to their significant other — to be a surprise until the day of the wedding — a word count can help maintain balance. If balance, that is, is what you want. It can be totally imbalanced if that’s your thing.
🔁 Limit Repeat-After-Me Sections
Every repeat-after-me section is read four times: Officiant reads > Groom repeats > Officiant reads again > Bride also repeats. This can get redundant if it’s over-used. We suggest only one or two short sections containing a few short lines for the ceremony.
🩳 Shorten Repeat-After-Me Chunks
Speaking of repeat-after-me sections, do keep the chunks of text short, as in three- to five-words short. Anything more can be problematic to the couple trying to repeat it on their wedding day, even when committed to memory. Our take: probably nerves.
💦 Make Sure Repeat-After-Me Sections Flow
Also make sure these three- to five-word chunks are readable and understandable when presented in this way. The text should flow naturally not be stilted or choppy. In others words, use natural breaks to separate each chunk.
🎗 Remember: It’s Your Day So Anything Goes
We have pronounced a couple as husband and wife with a simple thumbs up with a wink, as they requested. There is no right or wrong. Getting married in New Hampshire is easy and you can totally do it your way.
Other Actions and Traditions
🤝 Handfasting/Handbinding Ceremony
To bind or make fast the hands of the couple as a way to signify the union dating back to pre-Christian times. Some usage is indicative of a temporary marriage or one that is unofficated, but that is certainly not true today. Learn more about Handfasting.
🕯 Lighting a Unity Candle
This fairly modern tradition is supposed to represent the passion in each individual’s soul for their spouse. The couple, each with a lit candle, join flames to light the unity candle. Learn more about the Unity Candle.
🏝 Unity Sand Ceremony
This practice from Hawaii also requires both parties to join forces to create something new. The couple pours sand from separate vessels into a unified, central vessel. Many couples display their unity vessels of blended sand as a reminder. Learn more about Unity Sand.
🌿 Sage Smudging (Burning)
Often used in various ceremonies, not strictly weddings, this ceremony is tied to many indigenous cultures and its purpose is to purge or ward off evil spirits, to start clean the new phase in the couple’s lives. Learn more about Sage Smudging.
🌟 The Sky’s the Limit
There are myriad other things couples can do to symbolize their unity. The article below will offer 25 ideas you can consider. Or, if you want, you are certainly welcome to create your own. It is, after all, your day. Learn more from Martha Stewart.