WRITING A WEDDING SCRIPT
Part 2: More Than Words
In the last blog post, which was specifically targeted towards qualified marriage celebrants and prospective celebrants (though even marrying couples who have chanced upon this blog will get some value out of this,) I talked about how to set yourself in the best possible way so that the “mind cogs” would turn for you. Getting that mind into motion is one of the trickiest parts for someone wanting (or in this case needing,) to write.
For this post I just want to share a few tips and examples of shorter, sectioned scripts within the larger script.
This is something to take care of before the processional. This can include mentioning fire exits, checkpoints, smoking areas, toilets etc. You may want me to ask the guests to put their phones away and/or to refrain from taking pictures or video, if that is what the couple want.
PROCESSIONAL (BRIDAL MARCH)
Traditionally, the bridesmaids will enter first and then the bride will follow. If she is being “given away” then the person with that honour will walk with her. The couple may want you to introduce each person/s as they walk in.
You now welcome family and friends and introduce yourself.
Example incl. acknowledgement of travellers from afar.
“Good morning and welcome to the wedding of Barry and Berri. I am Celebrant Jon Bovi. Barry and Berri are a firecracker couple who in the few months since they first approached me, I have had the pleasure of getting to know and love and so I can only imagine the excitement that you, who have known these 2 for much longer must be feeling. Some of you have come from near, some from far. Some have even travelled across the seas to be here. We would love to give a special shout out to the Smitten family who have travelled from Hamilton, New Zealand, and Nana June who hopped on a plane from Glasgow, traded winter woollies for a summer dress and is now with us to celebrate this joyous occasion.”
Example for intimate (20 guests or less,) gathering.
“Good afternoon family and friends of Jill and Ted. My name is Olly Osbourne and I am a registered marriage celebrant who has the pleasure of officiating today’s ceremony. You’ll notice by looking around that we are few in number. When considering their ceremony, Jill and Ted decided that they wanted to keep it simple and intimate. They have invited you, their closest friends and family to be here. We welcome you and thank you for being a big part of their lives.”
Example of script acknowledging the joining of two cultures.
Today we can look into the congregation and see a diversity of people representing different backgrounds and cultures. In joining this couple today, we will also be celebrating the joining of two cultures, Tongan and Samoan. The Pacific Island nations themselves will often joke about the friendly (and sometimes not so friendly,) rivalry between the two proud cultures but today rivalries are set aside, and love overwhelms the whole occasion.
If the bride is being given away, that will happen next. The person doing the giving away is usually a close family member like a father, mother, sibling etc.
If you would like traditional wording, say something to the effect of, “Who presents this bride/groom/woman/man (or by name) to be married today?”
Here are some examples of scripts where a non-traditional version of “giving away” is asked for.
Example of a script where both are marrying for the second time, and both have children from their previous marriage.
“In joining these 2 wonderful souls we are also joining 2 separate families. In doing so we are not linking circles but rather creating one big circle. Soon we will be inviting the children to participate in a sand ritual that will help to symbolise this union of families.”
Example of a script where rather than being “given away” the bride would like both parents to affirm their blessings on the marriage.
“Would the parents of the bride please stand?”
“Miley and Cyrus, by simply answering “We do”, (if that is indeed your desire,) do you give your blessing to this marriage between Billy and Ray?”
Example of a script where the couple has asked for a community vow of support instead of a “giving away”.
“Could I ask for all who can, to please stand.”
“Thank you. Rather than the traditional “giving away” Peter and Wendy are looking to you, their friends and family, their community, to give a communal vow of support. They have talked to me about the strength they receive from their interactions with you all and know that their marriage will be stronger if those relationships continue. With a simple collective answer of “We do”, do you, Peter and Wendy’s community, offer your vow of support for their marriage?”
Before the mandatory promise, to give that moment a greater romantic feel, comes the asking. Here is an example.
Example of an “Asking” script.
“Marc Antony do you choose this wonderful woman before you, Cleopatra, to be your life companion, to share your world in honesty and openness, with truth guiding your words and respect guiding your actions? Do you promise to love her more with every disagreement, every change of plans, every new grey hair and every wrinkle? Do you promise to realise that life together will have its ups and downs, but that it is in the downs where your love for her will need to truly show its greatest power?”
After the asking and the mandatory promise, it is common in modern society for couples to share their own additional vows to make the mandatory promise more personal. They may ask for your guidance on this. I’ll share a personalised vow script example below.
Example of a script for a personalised vow.
D’Angelo, I promise to you before these witnesses, that I will love you forever, as I love you now, which is a love so intense that I can barely contain it within me. Sharing this love with you by becoming one with you, is the only way I can see this love being managed. It is what gives me strength to arise in the morning, it is what softens my pillow at night. I accept that our life won’t be all rainbows and unicorns, though that would be cool. I accept that we will have our rocky roads under heavy skies but through it all, the highs and the lows, I promise to hold you, and embrace you, with a love that will never die.
After exchanging rings (which can also come with a short script,) and signing of the registrar, comes a big moment! The pronouncement of 2 people being joined as one in marriage. This is as simple as “I now pronounce you…” This is also where you can invite the couple to kiss but if they are not fans of PDA and would rather “high 5” each other or go for the more Covid-world appropriate “elbow bump” it’s all good. Roll with it.
The thrilling part is complete and so you’ll wrap up the ceremony with a short conclusion. You’ll acknowledge anyone or anything that the couple would like acknowledged and give further details or instructions regarding photos, reception, recessional crowd interaction like bubble blowing, confetti etc.
SUMMING UP & BLESSING
The newlyweds are about to be announced as a couple for the first time, but you’ll leave everyone with some brief words to “wrap a bow” around the occasion.
CONGRATULATIONS & PRESENTATION
Then, take a deep breath, smile, have everyone stand if that is what the clients deem appropriate, and announce the newlyweds as a couple, to the congregation.
Examples of scripts for the presentation of the couple.
“Family, friends, pets and wedding crashers, would you all be upstanding? I now present to you, as they step out into the world for the first time as 2 hearts joined, Mr and Mrs. Robinson!”
“Would the congregation please be upstanding? I now present to you, on this grand occasion which will live long in the memories of all who are here, and especially this beaming couple beside me, the wife and husband team of Joan Jett and Jim Morrison.”
Your speeches are done (unless you’ve committed to reception duties)!