Published: Monday, Feb. 14th, 2022
The pronouncement is the part of the wedding ceremony when an officiant announces a couple as married, making it one of the most exciting parts of the wedding day.
Many pronouncements begin with the phrase, "By the power vested in me by the State of…," followed by the phrase, “I now pronounce you…” This phrasing reflects the fact that marriage can be both a spiritual and legal event, and that the authority to solemnize marriage is regulated by the government.
The pronouncement is one of the only parts of a ceremony that is required by law, along with the Declaration of Intent and a signed marriage license, but the exact wording an officiant uses is up to the couple. This gives couples the freedom to create an authentic experience (and one that won’t leave them cringing at the end of an otherwise perfect ceremony).
"I pronounce you married. You may now kiss your spouse!"
Small changes in wording can go a long way. For example, gender neutral language might appeal to same-sex couples or nonbinary partners, and non religious or atheist partners might want to avoid religious or spiritual language. Other couples might want to use humor, include children in the announcement, or honor relatives that can’t be present.
If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding for friends or family, the first thing to do is to ask them how they want to be pronounced. Many couples will already know which words they want to hear before that epic first kiss.
But if you and your couple aren’t sure what to say, or need examples of what you might say, let these 10 alternatives inspire you!
"By the power vested in me by the State of California and American Marriage Ministries, here in the company of those who love and support you, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss each other! Friends, it’s my honor to introduce Nevin and Sara Williams.”
“Now, as Lita and Mark have exchanged promises and rings, pledging their continuing love and faithfulness to each other in the holy bond of wedlock, and have witnessed this before God and our loving congregation, it is my true honor to pronounce them husband and wife. Those that God has joined together, let no man put asunder. You may now kiss the bride!”
(Find full length Christian wedding scripts here.)
“Now, with the authority vested in me by the great State of New York and American Marriage Ministries, I’m thrilled to announce the two of you married! Let’s see that kiss!”
(Looking for a non religious wedding script? We have a few to choose from.)
“Manny and Carl, the universe brought you together two years ago, and you’ve honored that gift every day since. Now, under this open sky, grounded in the beauty of this place and surrounded by people who love you endlessly, I’m so happy to pronounce you married. As you kiss, may your spirits be bound in lasting love and joy! Friends, please give a shout for the Misters Dennis-Whittacker!”
(Want to become a 'spiritual but not religious' wedding officiant? Learn more here.)
“Here, surrounded by your friends and family, beside the tree where you shared your first kiss, and felt that first spark of forever, it’s my great privilege to pronounce the two of you married. Kiss! Friends, let me introduce you to Kat and Amory, partners in life, now and always!”
(Looking for a gender neutral wedding script? We have a few to choose from.)
“By the power granted to me by the State of Washington and American Marriage Ministries, I now pronounce you wife and wife. Ana and Stace, you may kiss your bride! Friends, it’s my great honor to introduce to you Mrs. and Mrs. Anderson-Lineham.” (Or substitute ‘husband and husband,’ ‘you may now kiss your groom!,’ etc.)
(Looking for a same-sex wedding ceremony script? Head here!)
“Now, this is it, ya’ll! The last chance to change your minds… the deal is almost final! Everyone ready? (pause and laugh) Honestly, there are no two people better suited to each other than you two, and I know you’ll meet each day to come with the same humor and love that brought you here. So, by the power vested in me by the State of Kentucky and American Marriage Ministries, I now pronounce you… Wait, did you say something? (pause) No? Ok. I now pronounce you married! You may kiss the heck out of each other!”
(Find a full length funny wedding ceremony script here.)
“Tina and Mary, with these promises and rings you’ve pledged to love and honor each other, blending your two lives, and your two families, into one. (Names of children), come on up and join your moms! Tina and Mary, it’s my honor to pronounce you married. Let’s see a big family bear hug! Everyone, let me introduce you to the Franklin family. Many blessings on you all, today and always!”
(Looking for a wedding script with a covenant of children? Head here!)
“Angel and Elena, here in the presence of friends and family, you have exchanged the promises of marriage, declaring your commitment to each other. Has prometido honrar y apreciar tu amor por el resto de tu vida. Now, by the power vested in me by the State of California and American Marriage Ministries, los declaro marido y mujer! I declare you husband and wife! Kiss! ¡Puedes besar!”
(For a full wedding script written in Spanish, head here.)
“Sharice and Ben, with this exchange of vows and promises, you declare your acceptance of the responsibilities of marriage, and vow to honor your love and commitments. I know that Sharice’s mother, Latoya, and father, Michael, are here with us in spirit today, smiling down on us, blessing this beautiful union. It’s my honor to announce you married, eternally wife and husband! You may kiss each other! Everybody else, let’s stand and show these two our support!”
(For more suggestions on how to honor a deceased or absent loved one in your ceremony head here.)
“I pronounce you married!”
(Want to see the shortest possible wedding ceremony script? Head here! )
“Henry and Juniper, on this day, you’ve vowed to honor each other as equals as you walk through life together. Best friends, lovers, and partners, at every step and bend in the road. Here, in the presence of your loving community, and with the power given to be by the State of Oregon and American Marriage Ministries, I now declare you married! May your love be a blessing on each day! You may kiss! Friends, let’s hear it for Henry and Juniper!”
(Looking for examples of feminist wedding vows? Head here.)
There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’-- Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony.
Give yourself the tools and training you deserve to succeed as a wedding officiant, so that you can stand beside the lucky couple with complete confidence on their big day.
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