The Parts of a Wedding Ceremony Script

Before performing marriage, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of what a wedding ceremony is, its parts, commonly observed conventions, and what actions are demanded of you as officiant. On this page you will learn the answer to the following questions:


What Defines a Wedding Ceremony?

This may seem like an obvious and trivial question but having a clear definition of what specifically makes a wedding ceremony a wedding ceremony is helpful in clarifying your role in the ceremony events. To begin, it is helpful to frame the wedding ceremony as the ritualization of the written contract, the marriage license. Marriage is a contract between two parties, and the wedding ceremony is the performative event that symbolizes that contract.

That being said, from the contractual perspective, there are three parts of the wedding ceremony that essential for the ceremony to be defined as a wedding. Those parts are the Invocation, Declaration of Intent, and Pronouncement. We will expand upon this further down on this page.


What is the Officiant's Role in the Wedding?

When officiating a wedding, your role as officiant is that of a third party administering the contract. As an AMM minister, you can think of yourself as the person administering the marital contract to the couple in a public setting. The Declaration of Intent, the part of the ceremony where the couple says "I Do" is where the couple gives their explicit consent to enter into the contract of marriage.


Is There a Legal Form to a Wedding Ceremony?

There is no legal form to a wedding ceremony, other than that the ceremony must include the three aforementioned parts - the Invocation, Declaration of Intent, and Pronouncement.

Beyond that, there are no legal requirements or guidelines imposed on the wording and events in the ceremony. That is completely up to you and the couple! If you want to have a steam punk themed wedding complete with a sermon on how steam, like love, can power the train of marriage, then go for it!


What Happens in a Wedding Ceremony?

A wedding ceremony is the ritual by which two people get married. There is no legal form to a wedding ceremony. However there are well-established traditions on how a wedding ceremony proceeds. These conventions establish the foundation that is observed by all ceremonies.

Understanding these conventions are helpful in writing your own wedding ceremony script. The "house" is already built for you. Your job is to "decorate" the house. This is where the creativity and personalization play into writing your own wedding ceremony script.

Below we outline the six essential parts of a basic wedding ceremony script and what happens in each part.



1. Procession

The procession marks the formal start of the wedding.


2. Invocation

The officiant greets the guests, introduces the couple, announces the purpose of the gathering, and shares a few words on marriage.


3. Declaration of Intent

The couple publicly declares their intent to marry.


4. Vows and Rings Exchange

The couple exchange vows, rings and promises of commitment to each other.


5. Pronouncement

The marriage is declared official!


6. Recession

The ceremony ends and the wedding party exits.


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