This ceremony was written for a non-Christian couple with Christian families. They wanted a "civil" ceremony that would be meaningful for their religious guests while staying true to their own feelings. This ceremony includes a unity candle. The mothers light the two tapers after they are escorted down the aisle.
"Family and friends, we welcome you today to witness the marriage of [groom] and [bride]. You have shared and contributed to their lives in the past, and by witnessing their marriage ceremony today, [bride and groom] ask you to share in their future.
Marriage is a promise, made in the hearts of two people who love each other, which takes a lifetime to fulfill. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's lover, teacher, listener, critic, and best friend.
It is into this state that [bride and groom] wish to enter.
Who gives their blessings to this union? (parents and/or guests say "we do".)
If anyone present can show just cause as to why this couple may not be legally joined together, you should now declare it, or hereafter hold your peace. (silence)
[bride and groom], I charge and require of you both, as before a bar of justice, and in the presence of these witnesses, that if either of you know of any legal or moral impediment to this marriage, you do now reveal the same. (silence)
[groom], do you take [bride] to be your wife? Will you love, honour, and cherish her, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to her as long as you both shall live?
(groom) I do.
[bride], do you take [groom] to be your husband? Will you love, honour, and cherish him, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to him as long as you both shall live?
(bride) I do.
[bride and groom], may you pledge to each other to be loving friends and partners in marriage. To talk and to listen, to trust and appreciate one another; to respect and cherish each other's uniqueness, and to support, comfort, and strengthen each other through life's joys and sorrows. May you promise to share hopes, thoughts, and dreams as you build your lives together. May your lives be ever intertwined, your love keeping you together. May you build a home that is compassionate to all, full of respect and honour for others and each other. May your home be forever filled with peace, happiness, and love.
[bride and groom], please face each other and hold hands. [groom], as you look at [bride], repeat these words after me:
(groom) I [groom], take you [bride], to be my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forth, to love, honour, and cherish, to comfort and respect, in sorrow or in joy, in hardship or in plenty, so long as we both shall live.
[bride], as you look at [groom], repeat these words after me:
(bride) I [bride], take you [groom], to be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forth, to love, honour, and cherish, to comfort and respect, in sorrow or in joy, in hardship or in plenty, so long as we both shall live.
The ring is a symbol of unity into which your two lives are now joined in an unbroken circle; in which, wherever you go, you will return to one another.
(groom) [bride], I offer this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion. Let it always be a reminder of my vows to you.
(bride) [groom], I offer this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion. Let it always be a reminder of my vows to you.
[bride] and [groom], the two separate candles symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. I ask that each of you take one of the lit candles and that together you light the centre candle.
The individual candles represent your lives before today. Lighting the centre candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining of your two families and circles of friends into one.
[bride] and [groom], may your home be a haven of peace and your relationship be one of truth and understanding. May you enjoy length of days, fulfillment of hopes, and peace and content of mind as you, day by day, live and fulfill the terms of this covenant you have made with one another.
And now, for as much as you have made your vows, each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving your rings, I pronounce that you are wife and husband, husband and wife. [groom], you may kiss your bride!"