Being asked to officiate a wedding is a wonderful honor! You have been trusted by the couple to make sure their wedding ceremony is a beautiful and personal celebration of their love for each other. If this is the first time you’ve been asked to officiate a ceremony, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the thought of writing a script for the ceremony and the pressure to make sure everything runs smoothly.
That’s why this guide is here – to help you make the ceremony special, memorable, and as stress-free as possible. If you need to know what to include to make the ceremony legally binding, or simply aren’t sure where to begin planning, know that you’re not alone. Let’s get started!
Have a Meeting
First up: ask the couple to meet (in person, or virtually), to discuss ideas for their ceremony. Use this meeting to get a feel for what the couple is looking for on their wedding day, and take some notes on what their ideal ceremony will look like. It’s best to have some questions prepared beforehand so that you leave the meeting with as much information as possible to help create your script.
Some questions to consider: are they planning to incorporate religion into the ceremony? Do they want the wedding to have a serious tone, a lighthearted one, or a mix of both? Are there any special ceremonies or traditions that they would like to be included? With answers to these questions (and any others you think of) in hand, you’ll be all set to start drafting your script!
Writing a Ceremony Script
The couple may come to the meeting with a plan for exactly what they would like said during the nuptials, or they may ask you, as the minister to do the bulk of the script planning. Regardless of how much information they give you, you’ll first have to ensure that the legally-required elements are included in the script. These are the couple’s declaration of intent, (known as the “I Do”s), and the proclamation, where the officiant says “I now pronounce you married.” Remember: without these two crucial elements, the wedding will not be legally binding.
Making a Custom Script
While the bare-bones elements are important, they are just one aspect of a wedding ceremony. It’s common to build out the script with many other sections too, such as quotes, scripture readings (or secular ones), and anecdotes about the couple. The couple can probably guide you in these areas, but it’s helpful to ask early on about any cultural or religious traditions that are important to them, in case they’d like to incorporate those.
For example, they may choose to include a sand ceremony, the lighting of a unity candle, or jumping of the broom into the ceremony. If you’re unfamiliar with any particular tradition, you might do some research to better understand the meaning behind it. Finally, make sure to coordinate with the couple regarding the necessary materials to carry it out.
Online Wedding Resources for Ministers
Not everyone is a prolific writer, or can find inspiration in a notepad alone. If you’re looking for other resources to consult, we can recommend “By the Power Vested in You,” our most popular handbook for ministers – particularly those performing a ceremony for the first time.
The Universal Life Church Monastery bookstore is also full of other great additional literature focused on helping you prepare wedding scripts. For example, Do-It-Yourself Wedding Ceremony is perfect for people who plan to pick and choose different wedding ceremony components to craft a custom ceremony. A Wedding Ceremony to Remember has a collection of full scripts from start to finish for any ceremony you might be asked to perform. Finally, Baker’s Wedding Handbook offers a Christian perspective and is all about weddings held in that religious tradition.
Bonus tip: check out the ULC Pinterest page and YouTube channel for some visual-forward inspiration while planning the ceremony.
Free Ceremony Script Generator
If you want a quick and easy way to create a wedding script, visit our free online Wedding Ceremony Script Generator (located within the wedding training section of our website). This simple tool allowed you to create and download a fully-customized script in a matter of minutes. Just make the selections for the desired ceremony style and preferences, enter the names of the couple, and the generator will create a finalized version for you to print out and use right away, or customize even further on your own.
Fancy a Sample?
If you really need something in a flash, or if creating scripts just isn’t for you, then make sure to check out our ready-made sample wedding scripts. Chock-full of options for many wedding styles and faith backgrounds, these scripts can be real lifesavers. Is the couple you’re officiating for a couple of hopeless romantics? We’ve got a script for that. Want to highlight the fun and silly side of their relationship? There’s a script for that, too.
Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that you have the tools you need to make any wedding a memorable (and successful!) event. We hope that the resources found here will be a valuable resource you can revisit time and time again. Now go get ‘em!