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Real wedding inspiration from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make Believe

Published Tuesday, Oct. 4th, 2022

Cover image: screenshot from A Wedding in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe

We know what you’re thinking: Are we really taking wedding ceremony notes from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make Believe?


Yup! But hear us out… When we stumbled across this 1985 episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, called ‘A Wedding in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe,’ we didn’t expect it to be so cute and inclusive, either. (We should have known better – it is Mr. Rogers, after all.)


This puppet ceremony has it all, and was way ahead of its time. As Fred Rogers himself says during the episode: 




"The most important thing about a wedding is the love that people have for one another. The fancy clothes and flowers and presents are all very nice, but it's the people caring for each other that really makes the wedding."

(quote by Fred Rogers)



We couldn’t say it better ourselves! 


Below you'll find a few of our favorite highlights from the ceremony. 


(Watch the full wedding video on the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood website here. The ceremony starts right at the 20 minute mark, don’t be late!)



1. A classic processional order 


A classic processional order won’t appeal to all couples, but it’s a great way to get friends and family members involved in your ceremony. This ceremony kicks things off with live processional music, performed by Harriett Elizabeth Cow. 



The officiant, King Friday XIII, enters first, followed by Henrietta Pussycat as flower girl, Daniel Striped Tiger as ring bearer, and bridesmaids Lady Elaine Fairchilde and Lady Aberlin, walking side by side with beautiful bouquets. Keith David, the best man, watches the wedding party enter from his spot near the altar, standing next to the smiling groom. 


The bride enters last, wearing a traditional white gown and veil. The veil is held up by one final wedding attendant. 


If you’d prefer a non-traditional procession: 7 Alternatives to Walking Down the Aisle



Daniel Striped Tiger carries the wedding rings, screenshot from A Wedding in the Neighborhood of Make Believe,  Mr Rogers

Daniel Striped Tiger as ring bearer, screenshot from the episode


2. Older adults get married, too! 


We love that this wedding celebrates the marriage of an older couple – Betty Okonak Templeton and James Michael Jones.


Although the weddings published in most wedding magazines and wedding blogs would have you believing that only young couples get married these days, that's simply not true! (Not to mention ageist… and why wedding publications should feature more diverse couples.) 



In the real world, adults of all ages fall in love and get married, including adults over 50, and their love deserves some time in the spotlight too.


If you’re planning or officiating a wedding for older adults, try this officiant script from the AMM Wedding Ceremony Script Library: Simple Wedding Ceremony Script for Older Couples



The happy couple hold hands, from a Wedding in the Neighborhood of Make Believe

Betty Okonak Templeton and James Michael Jones, bride and groom, 

screenshot from the episode


3. Joint wedding vows


Joint wedding vows are a beautiful and simple way to show the equality between partners in a marriage ceremony. After the declaration of intent, Betty and James take their marriage vows together, repeating after the officiant, King Friday: 


“We, the bride and groom, 
Take each other to be husband and wife, 
To love and to cherish, 
In sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.”


To include joint wedding vows in your ceremony script:  'We do' vs 'I do' - A Modern Twist on the Declaration of Intent and Joint Wedding Vows.


4. Unity ceremony with a sip from the wedding cup 


This ceremony includes a modern, non-religious spin on the ‘Common Cup’ unity ceremony, traditionally found in Greek and other Eastern Orthodox wedding services. Instead of drinking blessed wine, the couple takes sips of cranberry juice from their wedding cup, following the pronouncement and kiss. 


Unity toasts and variations like this one are easy to customize! While this couple clearly has a fondness for cranberry juice, other couples include themed cocktails, creative non-alcoholic mocktails, a whiskey aging or wine blending ceremony, and even a ceremonial Pagan handfasting with mead toast. 



The bride sips from the wedding cup, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

Betty sips from the wedding cup, screenshot from the episode


5. Short and sweet


This wedding ceremony clocks in at just over 8 minutes long, which is pretty close to what we call the ceremony length ‘sweet spot.’ 


In general, the best ceremonies are long enough for guests to feel like they’ve witnessed something special (just look at how excited Ana Platypus and her family are!), but not so long that they get bored. 


To plan a ceremony that’s the perfect length for you : How long is a wedding ceremony? What to Include and What to Skip.




Read the full wedding ceremony transcript:

Wedding in the Neighborhood of Make Believe Ceremony Script 


Betty Okonak Templeton Jones & James Michael Jones celebrate their marriage, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Episode 1545, February 8, 1985. This ceremony script was transcribed from an archived video published on the The Fred Rogers Company website, located here. 





Ceremony begins with the sounding of the Trumpet Fanfare. 


The wedding party enters in this order: 


The officiant, best man, the flower girl, the ring bearer, the bridesmaids, and the bride with her attendant. 




King to Guests
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to marry this lady and this gentleman. Your king is pleased to be invited to assume this awesome responsibility.”


Declaration of Intent 


King to James
“Do you, James Michael Jones, take Betty Okonak Templeton, to be your lawful wedding wife?” 


“Yes, I do.” 


King to Betty
“Do you, Betty Okonak Templeton, take James Michael Jones, to be your lawful wedded husband?” 


“Yes I do.”


King to the Couple
“Kindly repeat after me: 


We, the bride and groom, 
Take each other to be husband and wife, 
To love and to cherish, 
In sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.”


(Betty and James repeat each line after it’s spoken by the King)




King to the Couple
“And when the dew is on the rose, and the fragrance of life comes wafting to your nose, may you think of this glorious day, this day when your king graced you with his presence, and declared that you, James, and you, Betty, are now husband and wife. 


Whom King has joined together, let no person put asunder.”


Gifting of the Wedding Ring & Kiss


King to James
“You may ring and kiss the bride.” 


(The groom places the ring on the bride’s finger and they kiss)


Drinking from the Wedding Cup Unity Ceremony


King to the Couple
“You may drink the cranberry juice from the wedding cup.” 


(The groom takes the wedding cup from the table and sips, then passes the cup to the bride, who takes a sip)


Presentation of the Couple


King to the Guests
“You may greet the bride and groom!”


(Cheers from guests and confetti.)



You might also like : 

A Wedding Ceremony Script Based on the Best Wedding Movies of All Time (Take One)


5 Great Reasons to Ask a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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