Playful Civil Ceremony



Welcome! Bride and groom have brought us together here for an occasion of great joy and a cause for great celebration. Having found each other, they have built the kind of relationship that will serve them well as the foundation for their marriage. They have chosen each one of you to be here with them to witness their wedding vows as they join together as husband and wife.

Marriage is a bold step into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be. In marriage, two lives are intimately shared; and the blending of the two must not diminish either one. Rather, it should enhance the individuality of each partner.

Each of us knows that a marriage is not created by a law or a ceremony; rather it occurs in the hearts of two human beings. It grows out of loving, caring, and sharing ourselves with another. This ceremony is not magic, it will not create a relationship that does not already exist and has not already been celebrated in all the commitments bride and groom have made to each other, both large and small, in the days since they first met and recognized their connection to one another.

So, in witnessing this ceremony today, we are observing only an outward sign of an inward union that already exists between bride and groom. This ceremony is a symbol of how far they have come together and a symbol of the promise that they will make to each other to continue to live their lives together and to love each other solely and above all others.

There are only two official witnesses at a wedding but each and every person here today will witness the words that they will speak to one another and the vows that they will make. You should take good care to remember these words; for a marriage needs the help of a community, of friends and family who will be there when needed and will do all that they can during hard times to stand by bride and groom and offer their support to them and the new family that they create today. May you always do all within your power to support the union that will be made here today and to nurture the bond between these two people whom you love.

If the old fairy-tale ending “and they lived happily ever after….” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, and your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love.

Love in this second sense-love as distinct from “being in love” and it is not merely a feeling. Love is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each could easily allow themselves to be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity but this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.


A successful marriage is not something that just happens. It takes work, it takes patience, and it takes time. It takes a commitment from both of you… a commitment to do whatever it takes to make your relationship thrive and not just simply survive.

Groom, will you take bride to be your lawfully wedded wife and travel the rest of life’s road with her? Will you love her, laugh with her, comfort her, honor and protect her, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

If so, please say, "I do".

Bride, will you take groom to be your lawfully wedded Husband and travel the rest of life’s road with him? Will you love him, laugh with him, comfort him, honor and protect him, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

If so, please say, "I do".



Bride and groom, the symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this – is my husband, this – is my wife.

I, groom, choose you, bride In the presence of our friends and families, To be my wife and partner From this day forward; To love you, To be a comfort and safe haven in your life, To hold you close, To listen deeply when you speak, To uphold you with my strength, To weigh the effects of the words I speak And the things I do, To never take you for granted, And to always give thanks For your presence in my life.



I, bride, choose you, groom In the presence of our friends and families, To be my husband and partner From this day forward; To love you, To be a comfort and safe haven in your life, To hold you close, To listen deeply when you speak, To uphold you with my strength, To weigh the effects of the words I speak And the things I do, To never take you for granted, And to always give thanks For your presence in my life.

May I please have the wedding rings.

This is the point in the ceremony when people talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metals are liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. The hot metal is forged, cooled, and then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful made from raw elements.

Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It is the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.

The promises which you have spoken to each other today are inscribed forever in your minds, in your hearts. But words are fleeting so let these rings serve as a reminder of the feelings you have in your hearts at this very moment. 

Groom, please repeat after me as you place the ring on bride's finger.

Bride, with this ring I am giving you my promise/to always love you/ cherish you/honor you and comfort you. I promise that I will love you/and keep my heart open to you/all the days of my life.

Bride, please repeat after me as you place the ring on groom's finger.

Groom, with this ring I am giving you my promise/to always love you/ cherish you/honor you and comfort you. I promise that I will love you/and keep my heart open to you/all the days of my life.



Bride and groom, no one but you can declare yourselves married. You have begun it here today in speaking your vows before your family and friends and you will do it again in the days and years to come, standing by each other, sharing all that is sweet and bitter in life. Each tender act, each loving word will be the declaration of what was made here today.

Therefore, it is my joyful responsibility to officially acknowledge your union as “Husband and Wife”.


You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege to present to you for the very first time as Groom and Bride.