Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Wedding party celebrating the newlywed couple walking down the aisle.
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  • ~12 Minute Ceremony

Officiating your first wedding is an exciting moment. Of course, it can also prove to be a big challenge. You absolutely want to take your time to ensure you know everything about the process, so you can create a perfect experience for the happy couple, and one of the most vital elements of serving as an ordained minister is knowing your wedding ceremony script in and out. From the readings to the vows to the moment you state “speak now or forever hold your peace,” there are a number of points you need to hit to ensure the entire ceremony is both to the couple’s liking and legally binding. Take a moment to look over this example of a standard wedding ceremony script. Whether you follow these words exactly or you put your own spin on the text, this sample is a perfect way to get the ball rolling.

Procession and Opening Remarks

Officiant:

Before we begin, I would like to welcome and thank every single person who is present in this room right now. The fact that all these smiling faces came together for (Names of Couple) serves as a testament to the love story they have written together. No couple exists in a vacuum, meaning all gathered here today will be responsible for providing these two with laughter during the good times and support when life becomes difficult.

Meeting the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important moments in a person’s life. The world suddenly becomes a brighter and more magical place, filled with exciting possibilities for the future. And today, in front of all their beloved family and friends, they take the first step of this journey together.

I now ask (Name of Person Doing the Reading) to come up and deliver a reading the couple has selected especially for this important day.

Reading

Reader:

The couple has chosen this selection from Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.”

"At night, there was the feeling that we had to come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together."

Personalized Vows

Officiant:

The couple has prepared personalized vows that they will now exchange.

Partner 1:

I love you just as you are. You have spoken to my heart and I cannot envision a life without you in it. You are all I could hope for in a partner and I will make sure that I live each day in a way that honors and respects you.

Partner 2:

I am beyond lucky to join my life with my best friend’s life. Though we will move forward as spouses, you will always remain my closest and dearest companion. I look forward to the adventures before us and I promise to love and cherish you from this day until the end of my days.

Potential Objections

Note: Objections are not as commonplace as many people believe. In fact, it tends to be an aspect of a wedding ceremony that predominantly exists in films and television shows. This section typically exists as a relic from a time when objections were related to a person being married against his or her will, someone who was underage, or someone who was still married to someone else. While it is included in this sample, you can feel free to cut this part of the script out if it does not reflect the couple’s wishes.

Officiant:

Now that the couple has declared their love for one another, I must ask those gathered here if there are any objections. Should anyone present know of any reasons why this couple cannot be lawfully wed, you must speak now or forever hold your peace.

Declaration of Intent and Ring Exchange

Officiant:

I now ask the couple to exchange rings and declare their intent to marry before all who have come together today.

(Name of Partner 1), I ask you to place your ring on (Name of Partner 2) finger and repeat after me: “I, (Partner 1), take (Partner 2), to be my lawfully wedded spouse and I do so without coercion of any kind.”

(Partner 1 repeats this.)

Officiant:

(Name of Partner 2), I now ask you to do the same. “I, (Partner 2), take (Partner 1), to be my lawfully wedded spouse and I do so without coercion of any kind.”

(Partner 2 repeats this.)

Final Words

Officiant:

By the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church, I am honored to declare these two beautiful souls officially wed. You may now share a kiss!