Happy Groom and Bride Holding HandsA wedding is a special day, not only for the couple involved but also for their friends and family who gather as witnesses. That doesn't mean the ceremony has to be long, though. There are many ways to celebrate a union, and a drawn-out ceremony is not always the way to go. Short and sweet wedding ceremonies can be just as meaningful, especially if the adjustment allows the couple to make room for other special parts of the celebration.

Required Elements

The shortest wedding ceremony script only needs to be a few sentences long. The officiant asks, "Do you take each other as lawfully wedded spouses?" and waits for the couple to answer in the affirmative. Then the minister can say, "I now pronounce you married," and the ceremony is basically over. The first part is the declaration of intent, and the final statement is the pronouncement. These are the only two elements that are required to make the ceremony consensual and legally binding. 

There can be several reasons for keeping the wedding ceremony this succinct. The couple may want to focus their time and budget on the reception. Keeping the speaking portion of the service brief may allow them to incorporate mutual hobbies such as skydiving into the ceremony. A quick statement is also useful for a collective wedding. The key reason for a short and sweet wedding ceremony script, though, is simply that it fulfills the couple's wishes. No matter why they want to keep it concise and to the point, the main goal is to ensure their special day is just the way they want it to be.

Popular Additions

There is no set length for a wedding ceremony. As with many factors in planning the celebration, the right length of an event depends solely on the wishes of the couple. The average wedding lasts about half an hour. Religious ceremonies are often longer to ensure that every desired portion of the ritual is given the time that its significance demands. From a practical standpoint, though, there's really no wrong way to do it.

A short wedding script can still include more than the declaration of intent and pronouncement. In fact, the couple may want to include many common elements:

  • Processional
  • Welcome
  • Invocation
  • Rings exchange
  • Personal vows
  • Family involvement
  • Recessional

There's no rule that says any of these elements have to take a certain amount of time. The couple can probably have everything they each want in the wedding and still keep it under 15 minutes. As the officiant, you can help by making editing suggestions to any section that seems to run longer than necessary.

Resources

Once you get ordained, you can officiate legally binding ceremonies for happy couples. While how much you are involved in the planning stages is likely to vary, if they come to you with questions about how to make their wedding short and simple, it's good to have resources ready to answer them. Visit the online store for guides on how to navigate any duty they'd like you to take on. You can compare sample wedding scripts and adapt them to meet the specifications of the couple with whom you are working. Almost any existing script can be shortened to fit the time they want to allot for the ceremony.

The right way to conduct any wedding is to pay close attention to how the couple wants it to go. Some couples don't want a long service, and that's ok. A short marriage ceremony script frees up time for other parts of the festivities and helps you tailor their special day to their wishes. 

21 comments

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As a ULC Bishop, with a DD, four other doctorates, whose been sainted twice, and has officiated at five weddings, it’s hard for me to tell how short, or long, each wedding at which I officiate will be, in advance.

    I require each couple, I marry, to write, and agree mutually upon, their own wedding vows. I.e; should the toilet set, remain up or down? How many in-laws vistits per day, week, month, or year?

    How many kids expected? Favorite mutually agreed-upon vacations? The colors of various rooms in their homes? Possible names of babies? Dogs or cat, or none?

    And now “do you both prefer either democracy or Trump-style fascism?

    In which religion, or philosophy (such as Secular Humanist Pantheism, or Buddhism) do you plan to expose your kids?

    All must be agreed upon, as part of the ceremony — in front of those in attendance, so that the reception can result in some interesting wedding photographs.

    Short — or as long, as the need be.

    If asked, I’ll recommend Secular Humanist Pantheism” — why?

    Because in my denomination, everything I do is good; and everything I don’t like to do is bad” — (as long as the Golden Rule isn’t violated, as down the aisle they go)

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I'll only officiate at weddings of people who party hardy, and invite me to the reception. I'll provide my own pup tent.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Um no, in Ohio you cannot preform a marriage unless you show you have legal authorization to do so. And the last time I looked not one person who was "ordained" here has the legal authority to preform marriages in this state according to the Ohio Sec of State.

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      That's not true. I registered with the Secretary of State's office just a month ago to officiate a friends wedding. They didn't have any issues with ULC ministers registering with them and they actually had a long list of ULC ministers who are registered with their office.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Sorry but that IS true. Just because you registered does not give you the right to preform any religious ceremonies in Ohio. I had a guy that lived less then 30 miles from me claim he was a pastor and married people, and after he screwed up ad went off on someone at one of the weddings he was preforming they investigated him and according to the Ohio Sec of State, you must provide TRAINING or a certification of training in a specific religion for them to certify you to preform marriages. Just registering does not cut it. And if one of the spouses decides they want to challenge you for some reason on your certifications or lack there of, then it will be you who does the explaining.

        Sorry about that

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I only went to Ohio once to watch a ballgame at the All American Ballpark in Cincinnati (Reds vs Brewers). That's when I was living in Lexington, Kentucky. But Im not about to go all the way up there from Galveston, Texas just to illegally officiate at a wedding, even though the thought of it sounds quite amusing. So I'll keep it in mind, just in case I ever move back to Lexington. Then I'll advertise: ULC minister will illegally officiate at weddings in Ohio.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    My tip, don't.

  1. Minister Jim's Avatar Minister Jim

    The Best weddings I officiated were performed at sunset on the Beach. Most of my weddings used the Traditional wedding Vows. Everything went very well. Spend time with the Bride and Groom discussing exactly what they want. Minister James.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I was married on the beach in Maui at sunset. We jumped the broomstick, and tied the knot. My wife made the broomstick and the braids for the knot ceremony. Traditional medieval pagan wedding. Wonderful time! Carl would have been proud.

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        You're absolutely right, Lionheart, I would have been proud to know it then, and am proud to hear it now, and visualize it in my mind. It was truly a a beautiful ceremony. Congratulations!

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Bishop Bill, DD, several other doctorates, twice sainted

    The best weddings which I officiated, were the ones where both parties agreed, in front of those present, to plethora of issues that sooner or later result in divorces

    Toilet seat, up or down? Visits by “uncle” Charlie (who’s a convicted child molester, yes or no?

    How fast the wedding goes, depends on the number of potentially marriage-ending issues, the couple decides to resolve, before they agree to stay together for eternity (barring the unforeseen).

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Bishop Bill, DD, several other doctorates, twice sainted

    The best weddings which I officiated, were the ones where both parties agreed, in front of those present, to plethora of issues that sooner or later result in divorces

    Toilet seat, up or down? Visits by “uncle” Charlie (who’s a convicted child molester, yes or no?

    How fast the wedding goes, depends on the number of potentially marriage-ending issues, the couple decides to resolve, before they agree to stay together for eternity (barring the unforeseen).

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Why have a hurried wedding. It would be better to pass a bong and slow it down, then pig out on munchies at the reception. Make it last all night, and even longer, until the couple returns from their honeymoon. That's my kind of wedding.

  1. Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN's Avatar Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN

    I plan on getting married if I can get over health issues. I wanted to do the lighting of the unity candle, but before that sing the Lord's Prayer. I wanted to do our own vows, but Ken wanted traditional. There's a lot to this and even when you keep it shorter, sometimes things may get skipped. No skydiving for me, lol. I will be lucky to walk down the aisle and dance and do karaoke without falling flat on my face! I am hopefully getting a pug in April and he maybe part of the ceremony or one of the Shepherds. I am training one to be a service dog.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Congratulations Laurie. May you overcome your health issues and have a wonderful married life together 🤗

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Congratulations, Laurie! Otherwise, I could only reiterate whàt Lionheart said, and don't want to sound like I'm mimicking him. Sorry, if I can't make it to the wedding, but have you specified when and where the reception's going to be? I promise I'll bring a gift, and my own pup tent, if needed.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    If I ever get married it will be between me and my bride, not us and the government. If the government doesn't accept it, but we live together long enough it will be considered common law marriage anyway, so what difference would it make. I'm too old to care to raise children, and would only marry a woman who felt the same wày, so be it wouldn't even matter if we had the same last name. I never saw the point in that anyway. Whenever I introduce myself I say my name is Carl Bernard Elfstrom, and my mother's maiden name is Pistone, simply because that's half of who I am. Actually, I believe we have more of our mothers in us than the seed donor, so it makes more sense for our parents to share both names, with our mothers' maiden name last. So, as the end of the song goes "When will we ever learn. When will we ever learn".

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I bet Gerardo is brushing up on his Shakespeare, for our next battle. It must have substance!

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Gerardo, did you know that the only people who get bored are boring people. And others say their bored, but really aren't. They might have realized they were outwitted, and want to find a quit way out, without further humiliating themselves, so they quickly use the first thing that enters their minds. Being bored seems plausible enough.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I really miss Gerardo. I was having so much fun with him. Could I have scared away another nay sayer? Aw, shucks! It's funny how that happens, isn't it?

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    P.S. However, it can be said that I do have quite a way with words (with or without substance). You see, I was born with something called the gift of gab. Furthermore, I can only say in my defense "Vini Vidi Vici". And no, Geràrdo, that is not a Shakespearean quote. With that, I rest my case.

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