The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Elopement Ceremony Script
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Do We Really Need An Elopement Ceremony Script?
Whether you decide to have guests, an officiant, or just the two of you; I highly recommend putting together an elopement ceremony script and talking about it together ahead of time. You definitely don’t want the ‘what’s next’ feeling when you’re standing up on a mountain top committing your lives to one another. Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day! That’s why I’ve built this guide to help you write your own elopement ceremony script and decide exactly how to organize your ceremony.
A Quick Note - Be Intentional
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog it’s likely because you’ve made the brave decision to elope. or have a wedding day that strays from traditions. I’m so damn proud of you, as everyone deserves to have the most beautiful and perfect wedding day that fills their heart and soul with love. For some people, that may not be a massive traditional wedding and that’s OK!
Self-Solemnization, Intimate Wedding or Both?
The best part about eloping is you can do whatever the heck you want! Are you looking for a private ceremony where you can read your vows to each other in a beautiful and secluded spot? Then self-solemnization may be right for you. If you’re looking to include your closest family and friends, then a guided ceremony with an officiant may be more your style. Even if you have guests, an officiant isn’t always required! You could even choose to read your vows privately to each other, and have an intimate wedding with family on the same day. I can’t stress enough that it’s so important to do exactly what you want during your elopement ceremony. Don’t forget that this is 100% your day!
Don't be afraid to think outside the box.
This guide will help you take the steps you need to write your own elopement ceremony script. If that doesn’t work I’ve given you resources for inspiration, templates, and even a Colorado based officiant you can reach out to advise for.
Honestly, the sky is the limit. I’ve even had couples allow each of their guests to read a part of their elopement ceremony script! Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and create your own traditions and experiences that truly mean something to the both of you.
Do We Need An Officiant Or Witness To Elope or Have A Small Wedding?
It depends on your location. In some states like Colorado, you can self-solemnize. This means a witness or an officiant is not required to get legally married. It’s very easy to apply online, pay the $30 fee, obtain your marriage license in person, sign it, and file it to declare yourself officially married. That’s it!
No wonder so many people choose Colorado as their elopement destination! Did you know that you can even stamp your dog’s paw print on your marriage license in the witness line? How cute is that!
If you’re looking for assistance on planning your adventurous elopement? Feel free to reach out to me – I’d love to help!
It’s so easy to go off and have your own meaningful and private elopement ceremony just the two of you. Be sure to research where you plan to say your vows ahead of time, because some states are more strict.
For more information on the requirements to get married in Colorado, visit their website here.
What Is Self-Solemnization?
Also known as a self-uniting marriage (thanks Wikipedia). It’s when a couple gets married without the presence of an officiant or witness. You can still have guests, even if you’re planning to self-solemnize.
9 Tips To Write Your Own Custom Elopement Ceremony Script
If you’re not planning to hire an officiant for your ceremony, then you will definitely need to write your own elopement ceremony script. Luckily, there are a ton of online resources like this one to help you get started.
1.) Make it legal
Research any legalities for the state and county you plan to get married in. Every state, and sometimes even counties do things a little differently. In some states, they may require specific words to be spoken during the ‘declaration of intent’ or ‘proclamation’.
2.) Consider your guest count
Do you plan to have guests? If so, would you like to include them? I’ve had couples write their own custom elopement ceremony script and let each guest read a part of it! If you’re getting married in Colorado, then you can have a friend or family member stand in as your officiant. NOTE – If they haven’t been ordained, then they cannot legally sign as your officiant on the paperwork. You will still need to tell the state you are self-solemnizing, and sign the paperwork accordingly.
3.) Make your ceremony unique
Think about how you want to make your ceremony unique. A few ideas would be to read handwritten vows, a prayer circle, a hand fasting ceremony, or even making a unity cocktail together!
4.) Don't procrastinate
I see you over there! Get started on writing your elopement ceremony early, and it’s OK if you do a little bit at a time. This is something you don’t want to procrastinate and throw together 24 hours before the wedding day.
5.) Take notes
Take notes when something inspires you. This is exactly why I recommend starting this process early. Sometimes you’ll be randomly inspired while you’re just trying to sleep or taking a shower. Every time that happens be sure to take a note on your phone.
6.) Skip the expectations
Skip the expectations. Besides the legalities, your ceremony can be as long or as short as you’d like. Don’t feel pressured to write a 10 minute long ceremony if it doesn’t feel right.
7.) Start with the basic template
An elopement ceremony script is usually made up of 5 different parts. 1.) Introduction, 2.) Vows, 3.) Proclamation & Declaration, 4.) Ring Exchange, 5.) Presentation. Depending on your local laws, you may not have to include all parts in your elopement ceremony script. They can even be switched around!
8.) Customize your vow books
Get a set of vow books! I highly recommend using Etsy, and be sure to get one with enough pages for you to write.
9.) Don't be afraid to read your vows privately
Do you plan to write your own vows and have guests? Do you want to share your vows during the ceremony, or a private moment before/after the ceremony? I’ve even had couples read them twice! Some states will allow you to read your vows privately to each other at another point in the day.
Template For Elopement Ceremony Script
Don’t forget to customize this template fully. Include funny moments/stories or maybe talk about how you met. This is simply just a guide to writing your own elopement ceremony script, and depending on your local laws you can choose to eliminate some parts all together.
This is typically spoken by your officiant/celebrant. Even if you’re not planning to have any guests, then I still recommend that you both write a short introduction.
A few tips on writing your Introduction:
- Talk about what this day, and this moment means to you.
- If you have guests, then this would be the time to thank them for being a part of your wedding day.
- Take a deep breathe, and don’t rush through your reading.
- Use this moment to really set the intentions for the rest of the ceremony.
If you’re planning to elope just the two of you, then I definitely recommend putting the most focus into your vows.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- It’s OK to be a little vulnerable, and you don’t have to be a perfect writer
- Are you nervous about reading your vows in front of others? Why not read them privately earlier/later in the day?
- Ask yourself: How has this person made your life better? How to you plan to make their lives better?
- Share a memorable story or moment in your relationship. Inside jokes are highly encouraged!
- Start writing your vows early, and make changes/additions when something inspires you.
- Pick the top 2 or 3 things you love most about your partner.
- When reading your vows, don’t forget to look your partner in the eyes! Maybe even hold their hand. Creating that physical connection will help you slow down and feel more grounded and close to your partner.
3.) Proclamation & Declaration
Depending on your state, this is where the legal side of the ceremony comes into play. You may need to read an exact line such as “Do you [name here] take [name here] to be your lawfully wedded partner/husband/wife”, and each declare “I do”. Colorado does not require this part to be spoken, so feel free to exclude it or make it your own if you’re eloping in Colorado!
4.) Ring Exchange
This part speaks for itself, but I have a little tip. If you are planning on exchanging rings or another token to symbolize your relationship, then I recommend writing a sentence or two about what the ring/token symbolizes to you. This small little adjustment can make a big difference!
It’s official! Let the first kiss begin! If you plan to have an officiant/celebrant, then you can have them say “I now pronounce you…”
Here are a few other tips to end your ceremony:
- A first kiss
- Raise your hands together and scream “We’re Married” or whatever else you’d like!
- If you have guests, plan an ‘exit’. Whether that’s dancing out of the ceremony, hugging all your loved ones, or walking down the ‘aisle’ with your guests blowing bubbles, throwing leaves or snow! Make sure your exit is Leave No Trace friendly.
Hire An Expert
Owl & Rose Ceremonies knows just where to start when it comes to writing a custom elopement ceremony script.
Owl and Rose Ceremonies offers dogma and doctrine free, intentional and inclusive elopement ceremony scripts for community filled weddings and “just us” self solemnization ceremonies. They also offer a comprehensive step-by step vow writing tutorial to help you write exquisite vows. Owl and Rose is a team of two multi award winning wedding officiants, Jen and Naomi, who are known for their highly acclaimed custom ceremonies. These scripts and tutorials are super budget friendly and you can purchase them on Etsy at Owl & Rose Ceremonies.
1.) Fully Formed Wedding Ceremony Scripts for Micro and Tiny Weddings, and Large Scale Ceremonies
These fully formed wedding ceremony scripts are ready to use as is, but they are also easily customizable. These scripts are not sombre, dogmatic, preachy or morose. In general, they reflect the beautiful, honest, and sometimes challenging nature of intimate relationships, and the rewards of setting out on the journey of marriage. Ceremony script topics include the heart of commitment, the ebb and flow of love, happily ever after re-imagined, and a ceremony about how love can make you wise. These scripts are intended to be used when there is community present at your ceremony.
2.) A True Elopement Ceremony Script
This ceremony was written as a true elopement, in other words, just for a couple and their officiant, with no community present. It presents a heartfelt and thoughtful exploration about the way in which committed intimate relationships can bring out the best in us if we’re willing to stay open, curious, do the work when needed. It is egalitarian and dogma and doctrine free, and doesn’t use any “thou shalt not” and “honor and obey” type language.
3.) Self Solemnization
This is a self-solemnizing, self-uniting, non-clergy wedding ceremony for couples who are presiding over their own nuptials without anyone other than a photographer present. It provides couples with ample ideas about how to curate a super special ceremonial moment and a real sense of occasion. It offers couples a very thorough, step by step process that is less “scripted words you read,” and a more dynamic, self directed, action based experience. Not only is it great for couples who would like to feel a sense of ceremony for their solo nuptials, but it gives your photographer more lovely moments to capture! No more asking your photographer “what do we do now?” 😉
4.) Vow Writing Tutorial and Guide
This step by step wedding vow template provides couples with a clear and concise four part framework for writing authentic and articulate wedding vows. It offers practical tools and tips for writing wedding vows in a way that is easy to understand and simple to execute, with loads of specific examples and general inspiration to borrow from. This wedding vow template removes the overwhelm and adds in creativity, lightheartedness and fun, so couples can actually enjoy the process of expressing their love and heartfelt intentions.
5.) Vow Coaching
If you want a little more help and guidance than found in a vow writing tutorial, then vow coaching is the way to go. Jen takes the time to get to know you as a couple and she will work through her time tested vow template with you. She will help you find your words when you can’t, and put all your deeply felt emotions down on paper in a concise and beautiful way. Jen digs deep, pokes and prods, edits and re-edits until your vows feel perfectly you. Vow coaching gives you that second pair of eyes that can be so helpful!
I’ve photographed and planned over 50 elopements and intimate weddings in the state of Colorado. The details of the actual ceremony was always the biggest oversight, and sometimes even a last minute thought. Hopefully this was helpful when it comes to writing your elopement ceremony script for your wedding day!
If you’re thinking of eloping and need help planning your special day anywhere in the world, then I’d love to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to get a complete pricing guide!