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Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding RingsFor plenty of couples, the idea of a religious wedding is not appealing. If you’d rather stray from the symbolism and imagery of ceremonies conducted in churches and similar venues, then a civil marriage may be the better fit for your needs. Though there are plenty of similarities between a civil ceremony script and the text traditionally used, there are also a handful of differences. Review this guide to learn how to create a script that perfectly hits the important points of the ritual. 

What Is a Civil Ceremony? 

A civil wedding ceremony is defined as a marriage that is ordained by a government official instead of a religious officiant. There may still be religious elements to the ceremony, though a majority of civil events contain predominantly secular traditions. The marriage is just as legally binding as an event performed by a religious representative and is recognized on both secular and federal levels.  

Couples tend to prefer civil events for a few different reasons. For some, there is no strong sense of religious affiliation or desire to follow traditional paths for marriage. Other couples are from different religious backgrounds and opt for a secular event to find an easy compromise. Some will even pursue this option because they want to customize their events with readings and rituals that their religions specifically forbid. 

What Is the Structure of a Civil Wedding?

When it comes to the flow of your event, there are no major differences between secular or religious ceremonies. Typically, the order goes from the procession to the welcome remarks from the officiant and is then followed by readings, vows, and the official pronouncement. With civil gatherings, couples have more control over the elements involved. From custom readings to music choices, civil events give you a chance to play around a bit more.

What Should Be Included in a Civil Marriage Ceremony Script?

The task of writing the final civil marriage ceremony script will fall on the officiant. Still, couples have a lot of influence over the finished product. Usually, this will come in the form of personalized vows. If you want to write custom sentiments about your partner, try to keep the message short and sweet. Ceremonies in general should err on the shorter side to keep things moving along. Guests want to get to the fun part of the wedding, so keep your script succinct overall. 

The vows specifically need to be quick. This doesn’t mean you should read through your words quickly. Rather, try to time it out to be about a minute or two tops. Any longer than this and minds in the crowd will wander to the reception ahead. Review examples of civil wedding ceremony script templates and custom vows online. 

Who Can Officiate a Civil Event?

In a civil ceremony, any legal official can perform your marriage. Whether you want to hire a notary public, religious performer, county clerk, or judge, you are free to select whomever you’d like. Many people ask friends or family members to become officiants so they can have a more active role in the event.  

What Else Is There To Know About Civil Events? 

Review the specific requirements of the state where you will be tying the knot. While the restrictions will be few, failing to meet the standards of the state can nullify your license application. To avoid this setback, look over the laws to see if your state requires proof of ordination and have your officiant acquire the proper paperwork. 

The choice of having a religious or civil event is entirely up to you. As long as you understand the requirements and review some civil ceremony script examples, you can throw a perfect event that fits your preferences.

Category: Wedding Planning


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