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How to Have a Secular Wedding Ceremony

What is a secular wedding ceremony? It is a ceremony that reflects the couple’s choice of a wedding script that does not prescribe to any particular faith or religious affiliation. Whether couples are religious themselves or not, they believe their wedding – their marriage – stands on a commitment of friendship and love. And love is universal, belonging to all faiths, cultures, and partnerships.

The wedding words of a secular ceremony will contain few or no references to God or religion. For instance, in the Catholic faith, marriage is referred to as Holy Matrimony, which is one of the seven sacraments. For a couple who is not Catholic, that term may hold no special meaning. So they may choose to use other words such as “marriage”, “commitment”, or even “sacred unity” throughout their ceremony. If the ceremony contains readings, they may be poems or verses about love, friendship, respect, or passion, instead of Bible verses.

Here is an excerpt from “The Invitation” by Oriah:

“It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand alone in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes.”

Wedwordy is fortunate to have Oriah’s permission to use her beautiful, secular poem about deep, unconditional love. You can find it in the Secular Template of Wedwordy, or choose it from the Element Library of Wedwordy under “Poems & Readings”. Using the Secular Template of Wedwordy gives couples wishing for a non-religious ceremony a great starting point for their personalized wedding ceremony script.

Photo Credit | En Pointe Photography

 

Top Ten Questions to Ponder Before Writing Your Wedding Script

So you’re almost ready to use Wedwordy in writing your wedding ceremony script! To help guide you, here are some prompts for you to reflect on.

Top Ten Questions to Ponder Before Writing Your Wedding Script

  1. How do you define your relationship? Choose readings, reflections, and wording that reflect your personalities and your ideals about married life. Wedwordy has several passages to choose from in all the elements that would resonate best with you, such as in Poems & Readings, Reflections, and even the Exchange of Vows.
  2. Where are you in the spectrum of traditional to contemporary? Wedwordy gives you the opportunity to choose passages that lean towards traditional such as the reading from Corinthians “Love is patient and kind…” or to contemporary such as the Key to Love “The key to love is respect…” and to mix-and-match to give your script just the right flavor!
  3. Is your faith central to your beliefs in guiding your marriage? Starting with Wedwordy templates such as Christian, Secular, Catholic, among other faiths, give you a starting point that honors your faith, and from there, you can tailor to your personal beliefs as a couple.
  4. Is your cultural background important for you to honor? There are unity rituals that are cultural-based in Wedwordy, such as the ritual of the cord/lasso, or stomping of the glass that you can add to your script.
  5. Are there any family expectations you feel need to be met? Often, couples find it a challenge to create a ceremony that reflects them and honors family at the same time! With Wedwordy, since you are able to mix-and-match elements that pull from tradition, faith, culture, poems, contemporary, and also add original external content, you can carefully harmonize wording that appeases and appeals to invested family!
  6. How comfortable are you in being the center of attention? Wedwordy gives you an estimate of the length of the ceremony, and allows you to choose elements where you have more to say, or less to say, depending on your comfort level.
  7. Would you like to share your story, personal vows? You know your guests better than anyone, so would sharing the story of how you met, or exchanging your written vows, be fun to include in your ceremony? In Wedwordy, when you choose the element “Story | Admiration”, you can give a space in the ceremony to allow your officiant to write a narrative about how you met and fell in love!
  8. Will you have friends/family participate in the wedding ceremony? In Wedwordy, there is an interactive “Shout Out” that allows your guests to respond with a resounding “I will!” to a series of questions lending their support, or perhaps honor a family member or friend by having them do any of the 20 readings and prayers available in Wedwordy.
  9. Will you translate the words, or some of the words, to another language? If you will be translating your script, or portions of the script, to another language for your officiant, keep in mind how that will flow in your ceremony, and how that might adjust the length of the ceremony as well.
  10. What do you want your gathered guests to remember most about your ceremony? Lastly, this is a good question to consider. This may help shape the flow of your wedding ceremony script. Consider what the highlights of the ceremony will be – a reading, your personal vows, a unity ritual, and consider the overall mood – light, traditional, fun.

Photo Credit | Nick Graham Photography

Honor Heritage with a Custom Unity Ritual

In Serbia, the plum is the national fruit, and plum brandy, known as slivovica, is the national beverage. It is shared during gatherings to signify prosperity, health, and happiness. A couple came to Reverend Rick Tan of Tan Weddings & Events a few days before their wedding ceremony and wanted a way to honor the groom’s Serbian heritage.

After having collaborated on their wedding ceremony script together, Reverend Tan suggested incorporating slivovica as a unity ritual. The couple was elated! And when the couple had mentioned that the officiant often partook of a shot of the plum brandy with the couple, Reverend Tan was all in! He got to work on drafting words that would be well suited to the occasion while respecting the tradition.

In Wedwordy, to incorporate a Unity Ritual, add it from the Elements Library into your Elements Flow (the ceremony sequence). There are ten curated unity rituals in Wedwordy to choose from!  However, if you choose to add something entirely custom, simply use the “open” passage at the end of the list under Unity Rituals. When you or your officiant has drafted a unique, custom passage, click “Select” and it will be added to your ceremony draft as a Unity Ritual. You can put this Unity Ritual Element anywhere within your ceremony sequence. (BTW, each of the Elements contains an “open” passage for writing or pasting in your own, totally custom wording!)

With the plum brandy ritual, Reverend Tan had said in his ceremony, “There is a saying that the best place to build a home is where the plum tree grows.  Certainly, in sharing plum brandy today, the best place to build a life together is where this couple now shares slivovica! (Three shot glasses are raised.) May your life together be rich and fruitful in blessings! Ziveli! (The couple and the officiant drink the slivovica.)

It was a beautiful, meaningful addition to the couple’s wedding ceremony script. Though the groom reassured his officiant that the plum brandy was really smooth, Reverend Tan reported that 140 proof slivovica burned going down!

Ziveli! To health and happiness!