Our Self Uniting Wedding Ceremony Script

When Mr. Crafty and I were planning our self-uniting wedding ceremony and drafting our script, we gleaned some inspiration from examples of similar weddings we found online.  However, we would’ve loved to have been able to find examples of full ceremony scripts from couples who wrote their own self-uniting marriage ceremony scripts. We weren’t short on our own ideas, but it was a little tough to imagine how it would all play out. We wanted it to feel weddingy, but still us, without crossing over into bizzaro territory, you know?

There are a couple self-uniting scripts out there, but they were a little too traditional for us, and others that seemed closer to what we wanted didn’t share the full details. And a few blogs we found were major teases, in that they covered the self-uniting ceremony planning process, and promised to share the full script after the wedding… and then totally left us hanging with no updates (ugh! not cool!).

So, in this post, I’m going to spill the beans and share the full script we used for our self-uniting wedding ceremony. These are, verbatim, the words that were spoken by our loved ones and us at our wedding, with no changes except for removing speakers’ names.  Feel free to borrow/adapt/tweak this for your own use. [TIP: If you copy and paste the script into Word, you can ctrl-F “Bride” and “Groom” and replace with your names to make your tweaking even easier. I got your back!] I hope this will help you in your planning!


Ceremony(7of47)



Ceremony(9of47)


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  1. Processional [pianist plays “Storybook Love”]
  1. Welcome

[Bride] Good afternoon, everyone! Please take your seats. We are overjoyed to celebrate our wedding with you here today. To our parents, thank you for the many sacrifices you have made to support us and the pursuit of our dreams. From bringing us into the world to being our coaches to helping us turn the house we recently purchased into a home, we truly appreciate it all, and we want to take this opportunity to recognize how much you mean to us. To our families, thank you for traveling from far and wide to take part in our wedding celebration. You presence truly is the most precious gift we could ever hope to receive on our wedding day. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

  1. Explanation of Self Uniting Ceremony

[Groom] By now you’ve noticed that there is no officiant here today. We have personally crafted a self-uniting ceremony for our wedding, an opportunity made possible by Pennsylvania’s Quaker tradition, which dates back to the 17th Century.  The philosophy behind the Quaker marriage celebration is that the right for joining in marriage belongs to God and the betrothed, rather than any member of clergy. In that spirit, we have created this ceremony together, as a blend of traditions that are meaningful to us both, and we have requested that some of you assist us today by reading passages we have selected.

  1. Family Vows 

[Groom’s Brother 1]: Bride and Groom embark upon the celebration of marriage in recognition that two people in love do not live in isolation. Their love is a source of strength with which they may nourish not only each other but also the world around them. And in turn, we, their family, have a responsibility to this couple. By our steadfast care, respect, and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are creating today.

Will everyone please rise.

[Groom’s Brother 2]: Bride and Groom, will you reach out to your family near and far, both when you need help and when you have something to celebrate?

[Bride and Groom]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 1]: Family, will you offer Bride and Groom your wisdom and encouragement in their times of struggle, and celebrate with them in their times of joy?

[Family]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 2]: Family, will you listen to Bride and Groom, and when they request it, give them your best advice?

[Family]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 1]: Bride and Groom, will you listen carefully to that advice even if you choose not to heed it?

[Bride and Groom]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 2]: Bride and Groom, will you strive as husband and wife to be contributing members of the family gathered here today?

[Bride and Groom]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 1]: Family, will you do everything in your power to support, uphold, and honor the marriage of Bride and Groom?

[Bride and Groom]: We will.

[Groom’s Brother 1]: You may be seated.

  1. Remembrance / Song

[Groom]: In addition to those of you we are overjoyed to have with us here today, there are also some other very special people in our lives who cannot be with us, some have been blessed to know personally, and others we learned about through the precious memories of others, but all who have helped shape our lives. Some of these special people are no longer physically here today, but their memory and our love for them lives on. At this time, we would like to honor some of these people with a musical interlude and a moment of quiet reflection, and Bride will light a memorial candle in representation of our continuing love for them and their spiritual presence here today.

[pianist plays “Amazing Grace”]

  1. Readings About Love/Marriage
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 [Groom’s Mom]

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

  • Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali [Bride’s Sister 1]

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,

so think long and hard before deciding on love.

On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:

when you’re walking down the street late at night

and you have a leash on love

ain’t no one going to mess with you.

Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.

But come home and love is always happy to see you.

It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,

but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time?

No! No! Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.

It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.

It pulls you in several different directions at once,

or winds around and around you

until you’re all wound up and can’t move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.

People who have nothing in common but love

stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,

again, and again, and again.

But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.

And in return, love loves you and never stops.

  • Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney [Groom’s Stepdad]

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, by chance, there sometimes seem to be

Old bridges breaking between you

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that you have built your wall.

  • The Art of Marriage [Bride’s Parents]

[Bride’s Dad]: Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.

In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.

It is at no time taking the other for granted;

the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,

it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude

of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

[Bride’s Mom]: It is speaking words of appreciation

and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience,

understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,

dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

  • Blessing for a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman [Bride’s Sister 2]

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.

May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

  1. Intro to Vows [Bride’s Sister 2]

And now, Bride and Groom will recite their vows. These promises, to which all here today bear witness, will be the pledges that will bind them together in marriage.

  1. Vows

[Groom]:  Bride, today I give myself to you in marriage.

From this day forward

I promise to stand beside you and love you completely

Through the good times and the bad,

In sickness and in health,

In times of plenty and in times of want,

When our love is effortless,

And when it takes work.

I will laugh with you in times of joy

And comfort you in times of sorrow.

I will respect, trust, support, and care for you.

I will be faithful to you and honest with you.

I will cherish you and hold you in highest regard.

Whatever may come I will be there beside you

All the days of my life.

 

[Bride]:  Groom, today I give myself to you in marriage.

From this day forward

I promise to stand beside you and love you completely

Through the good times and the bad,

In sickness and in health,

In times of plenty and in times of want,

When our love is effortless,

And when it takes work.

I will laugh with you in times of joy

And comfort you in times of sorrow.

I will respect, trust, support, and care for you.

I will be faithful to you and honest with you.

I will cherish you and hold you in highest regard.

Whatever may come I will be there beside you

All the days of my life.

  1. Ring Exchange
  • Blessing of the Hands [Groom’s Dad]
    • Bride and Groom, as you hold hands, may you see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you. These are the hands that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will love you deeply and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you hold your family together as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it most. These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be ever-reaching for yours, still energizing your soul with the same unspoken tenderness you feel today.
  • About the Rings [Groom’s Aunt]

Let us now have the rings brought forward, having been warmed with both families’ wishes for the couple’s future together. [Groom’s Brother brings the rings]

Though we have heard the vows, which have been shared by Bride and Groom, words, once spoken, are carried away on the wind. Therefore, the wedding ring is a visible symbol of the promises that have been made here today. The roundness of these rings represent the eternity of love, their pure metal speaks of the purity of love, its value reminds us that we should defend and protect those which we hold most precious. Wear these rings with love and honor as you begin your new lives together.

[Groom]: I, Groom, take you, Bride, to be my wife. [Place ring on Bride’s finger]

[Bride]: I, Bride, take you, Groom, to be my husband. [Place ring on Groom’s finger]

  1. Sign Marriage License

[Bride]: And now, as the final step before officially crossing the threshold into marriage, we ask that Bride’s Sister and Groom’s Brother join us in signing our marriage certificate. [Bride, Groom and 2 witnesses sign while pianist plays “You Are My Sunshine”]

  1. Pronouncement / Kiss

[Groom]: And finally, by the authority vested in us by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we can officially say—

[Bride and Groom]: We now pronounce ourselves husband and wife!

[Kiss]

  1. Recessional [pianist plays “The Wedding March”]

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Ceremony(42of47)



Successfully self-united!

I hope this gives a better feel for a self-uniting ceremony that is a blend of tradition and uniqueness, religious and secular, solemn and sweet. Our guests commented on how beautiful and meaningful the ceremony was, and we were so happy with how it all turned out. Especially since we had no rehearsal! We used small ceremony booklets which we distributed to everyone who did a reading, and I’ll share a template and printable for that at a later time. Feel free to contact me with any questions, or if there’s any other self-uniting info I can give!

[Disclaimer: not all states recognize self-uniting marriage ceremonies; we were married in Pennsylvania and obtained the appropriate license in our county, but be sure to check your local laws and requirements!]


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