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The Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

The Declaration of Intent Explained

The Declaration of Intent is the part of the wedding ceremony when the officiant asks the couple if they want to marry each other. In other words, the couple declares their intent to marry.

OFFICIANT ACTIONS

  1. The officiant asks the couple if they want to marry each other. The couple responds with, "I do", "I will", etc.
  2. Make sure to turn and face each person when delivering your lines.

CEREMONY EVENTS

  1. The couple speaks for the first time.

ADDITIONAL INFO

  1. The declaration of intent is the verbal representation of signing the marriage license. It is the couple's public declaration that they are knowingly and willingly entering the contract of marriage. Their oral statements are analogous to their signatures on the marriage license. That's why this part of the wedding ceremony is actually required in some states, and why it's important to include it.
  2. The wording of the declaration of intent can get quite elaborate depending on the ceremony. Our sample wedding ceremony scripts provide many variations on the declaration of intent.

GENDER NEUTRAL WEDDINGS

If you are officiating a wedding for a same-sex or trans couple, getting the wording right is of utmost importance. If there are two grooms or brides, they may be fine with using the terms "Husband" and "Wife". Alternatively you can use words like "Partner", and "Life-Mate"..

Work with the couple in advance to establish their preferred pronouns.

EXAMPLE DECLARATION OF INTENT

(Officiant to the Groom)
"Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer keeping yourself unto her for as long as you both shall live? If so answer 'I do'."

(Groom To the Bride)
"I do."

(Officiant to the Bride)
"Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer keeping yourself unto him for as long as you both shall live? If so, answer I do."

(Bride To the Groom)
"I do."

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