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Writing Tips: It’s Personal… Putting the “You” into a Wedding Ceremony

Published Wednesday, Dec. 12th, 2018

Close up photo of two women high-fiving and laughing, while seating together at a table. In the background, another woman watches happily, holding a pen. There is an open notebook in front of her, implying that she's been working on the wedding ceremony outline with these two brides.
When you find the perfect officiant and it all falls into place...

Advice for writing an authentic wedding ceremony script 



We hear all of the time that one of the main reasons couples ask their friend or family member to perform their wedding ceremony is because they want the ceremony to be personal.


And most couples know that no one can make their ceremony more personal than a good friend or a close family member who understands their story best.



An ordained minister conducts a wedding ceremony for a young bride and groom while the wedding party and children watch, smiling

“How do you describe your partner to others when they are hearing about him/her for the first time?”



Still, some couples and their officiants find it hard to get that “personalized” feel when they sit down and start writing the wedding ceremony. This might be because they aren't sure which details to include, what tone or 'feel' the ceremony should have, or what order the parts of a typical ceremony follow.


Here are some pointers for finding the elements of a ceremony that will make it yours:




  • Remember that the ceremony should not be written and delivered like a toast, or worse, a roast. The ceremony should provide guests with insight into the couple’s relationship, and their story -- without embarrassing them. It can be hard to transition between funny stories and sincere ones during a wedding ceremony, so we advise that you don’t even try. (Save it for the reception toasts!)


(If the couple insists on a funny wedding ceremony, read Who's Laughing Now? – How to Use Humor in the Wedding Ceremony to get started.)



  • A perfect way for the officiant to get important insight is by asking the couple to each answer questions about their relationship. For example, as them both, “How do you describe your partner to others when they are hearing about him/her for the first time?”


When developing the ceremony script, we recommend having the couple answer the same questions separately, as that allows the officiant to bring both “voices” into the ceremony. Then, the officiant can weave these stories into the ceremony along with the other pieces to create a narrative that resonates on a personal level with the couple and the guests.


Professional wedding officiants swear by this technique, and many of them even use a detailed questionnaire to gather personal stories and insight from the couples they work with. Ask questions about:  how a couple met, the challenges they've overcome together, their favorite memories of each other, what their values are, what family means to them, and what they hope the future will bring.



This photo meme shows an elderly man and elderly woman looking down at a sheet of paper. The man says "Would grandma be upset?" to describe the AMM 'Grandma Filter.'

The "Grandma Filter" never lies...


Oh, and along with the mushy, lovey-dovey parts of the couple’s story, it’s okay to use parts of the stories that are light-hearted and humorous, too. But you just want to make sure it doesn’t cross the line. 


When in doubt, refer to what we like to call "the grandma filter." Think to yourself, "If I shared this during the ceremony, would Grandma be upset?” 


If the answer's yes, leave it out. 




Once you have the first draft of your wedding ceremony script written, it's time to revise, refine, practice, and perfect! 







For more tips on officiating a ceremony: 



Lewis King
Lewis King

Lewis is AMM's executive director. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling, restocking the sparkling water, and watering the office plants.

Natasha Anakotta
Natasha Anakotta

Guest Contributor

Natasha is passionate about promoting marriage equality, and encouraging couples to celebrate in a way that’s authentic and unique. Aside from weddings, she enjoys Star Wars, true crime podcasts, and eating macarons by the dozen.

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