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Elopement ceremonies are already inherently unique – go a step further and craft a ceremony script that represents YOUR relationship! This isn’t the time to speak traditional words laid together in a generic script – no, use the template below to build your OWN elopement ceremony script! Elopement ceremonies can be as serious as you want, or as fun as you want. Wedding ceremonies can be religious, non-religious, somber, or comical. Whether you’re getting legally married, planning a commitment ceremony, hiring an officiant, or asking a friend to video chat from another time zone to lead you two, do it YOUR way!
Types of Elopement Ceremonies
There are as many different ways to craft your unique elopement ceremony as there are places to get married – how to build your ceremony script will depend on who is present, how private you want your vows, and what traditions you want to incorporate.
The “Just Us” Ceremony
This is exactly what it sounds like – a wedding ceremony with only the two marriers present. You have no one officiating, no guests, and every word spoken is for the ears of your partner only. This ceremony can be legally binding (in states that allow self-solemnization), or a commitment ceremony.
The Legal Ceremony
A legally binding marriage ceremony usually has an officiant or celebrant present who can say the necessary legal script and sign the marriage licence. A legal ceremony can occur separately, or as part of the vow exchange. You can have guests, or it can still be a “just us” elopement, plus an officiant! But, no matter who else is there, at some point during the day the legal words get said and the papers get signed.
This is not a legally binding marriage ceremony. Couples choose to have a commitment ceremony if they have already signed the legal paperwork, plan to sign it at another time, or have no intention of becoming legally married but still want to commit to each other with a ceremony. There are many reasons couples we work with choose to have a commitment ceremony instead of a legal ceremony – one of the biggest reasons is that they want to say their vows in a destination where getting legally married is either not possible or extremely difficult.
Intimate Wedding Ceremony
An intimate wedding ceremony, or an elopement with guests, is basically all the best things about an elopement while also including a small number of your closest friends and family. A small wedding ceremony can be either legally binding or a commitment ceremony, and the script can be spoken for all guests to hear, or partially private. We’ve witnessed small wedding ceremonies where the couple spoke their vows to each other with guests and everyone was laughing / crying at the memories being shared. We’ve also witnessed couples invite guests to their elopement and do two small ceremonies – one where they stepped away to privately share their vows, and another for their families to share in the moment.
How to Craft a Unique Elopement Ceremony
There is no “right” way to get married – though, there are a few legal words that need to be said by a certified officiant or judge to make your union legit in most states! Each state (even county) is a little different, so check your local laws to make sure your ceremony script includes whatever is required to make it legal. Whoever is officiating is required to speak a “Declaration of Intent,” while the couple must speak a “Proclamation.”
Example of a Declaration of Intent:
“Do you [insert name] take [insert name] to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband/partner?”
Example of a Proclamation:
It can really be that simple! Some places require exact wording, while others give some room for personalization. Technically, your ceremony can be that short and you’ll still be legally married. The declaration & proclamation can also be just moments in an otherwise long and personalized ceremony script.
An elopement ceremony script is made up of 5 parts: 1) Introduction, 2) Vows, 3) Proclamation & Declaration, 4) Ring Exchange, 5) Presentation.
You can switch around the order, take out a section, or add whatever feels right! Rituals like handfasting, candle lighting, sand mixing, planting a tree, prayer circle, or a ceremonial “exit” can happen at whatever time you like. We’ve seen elopement ceremonies with SO many different styles, personalized details, and timelines. How you want to craft your ceremony is totally up to you, and there are many ways to personalize the experience.
Use the template below to craft your own ceremony script, or simply use it as a guide to get you started. Remember – there’s nothing you “should” do to make your ceremony a legit marriage, but there is a world full of ideas that can make it special!
Elopement Ceremony Script Template
- Introduction – Spoken either by the couple, or an officiant / celebrant.
- Acknowledge those in attendance & thank them for coming.
- If you’re religious, this is a good time to recognize that aspect of this significant moment.
- If you’re not religious, you can use whatever language suits your beliefs to bring significance & excitement to what is about to happen.
- Use this moment to literally and figuratively take a deep breath before moving forward – ground yourself & be fully present.
- Vows – Tell your partner how you really feel!
- Share your favorite memories, and make promises about the future.
- You can write your own personalized vows, or use some form of traditional “in sickness & in health…”
- If you don’t know what you want to “vow,” just tell your partner what led you to be committing to each other on this day – the things you love most about them, the shared moments you will always remember, and the moments you want to share in the future.
- The vow sharing part of your ceremony can be “for their ears only” or publicly shared in front of your guests.
- Proclamation & Declaration – This is where the legal stuff comes in!
- Whatever language you want to use to declare your commitment to each other, this is the time to say, “I do!”
- Even if you aren’t having a legal ceremony, you can declare your commitment.
- Ring Exchange – Exactly what it sounds like, put the ring on their finger!
- This doesn’t have to just be rings, whatever you want to use to physically represent your commitment is great!
- If you’re not
- Presenting – I now pronounce you….
- Kiss them! Or hug, or raise your hands together in victory – however you want to present to the room and the world that you are now each other’s partner for LIFE!
- This can also be the moment for a grand exit – walk beneath the raised arms of your loved ones, or down the “aisle” with eco-friendly confetti thrown into the air!
Optional Addition: Rituals – Handfasting, tree planting, prayer circles, or other ritualistic “joining together” moments can be shared with your guests, without your guests, before, during, or after the ceremony. Click HERE for more ideas of what to do during your wedding ceremony.
- Introduction – You’re not speaking to anyone except your partner, so it can be a sweet moment to “check in” before saying vows.
- You can voice a “check in” like saying, “are we ready?” or “I can’t wait to marry you.”
- You can “check in” physically – grab your partner’s hand or arm, or give them a hug. Even a smile can help collect you both and give pause before going forward.
- Whether you spent the morning getting ready together, or if you chose to see each other for the first time at the ceremony, a “let’s do this” moment before jumping into your vows can help time slow down and savor the experience.
- Vows – Even though it’s just you two, this can be as personalized as you want!
- A two-person elopement ceremony can still use the traditional, “in sickness & in health…” script. Or, you can write totally personalized vows!
- Share your hopes for the future, your favorite memories, the qualities you love most about your partner, or what your partner does that makes you smile/laugh.
- You can literally make “vows” by promising what you hope your future together will be, or you can share a dream of what life with your partner will look like – everything from nights at home with a favorite movie, to trips halfway across the world to see a place you both dream of going, your vows are all about LIFE with your partner!
- Proclamation & Declaration – Make it LEGIT!
- Legally binding or not, declaring that this person is your partner going forward is a super sweet way to move into the next part of your ceremony.
- A declaration of intent to commit to each other literally takes you both into the next chapter of your lives together.
- You can say, “I do,” or “I will,” or “Let’s do this!”
- Ring Exchange – Exchange rings, kiss, leap for joy, whatever you want!
- This is the moment you “seal the deal,” you’ve said “I do” so now do whatever it is that you want to show you’re taking the next step.
- Presenting – How you end your private ceremony is totally up to you!
- When you’ve completed this ceremony, you’ve begun the chapter of your life together as committed partners, you can step into this moment however you want!
- You can kiss, take a shot, pop some champagne, or dance to your favorite song – since you don’t have guests present, however, you “present” yourselves as a committed couple is 100% for you two!
Optional Addition: Rituals – Depending on what you want to do, ceremony rituals can be added before the vows, after the “I do,” or at the very end of the ceremony. Rituals can be personal, traditional, religious, or fun! You can also start your own traditions by crafting a marriage ceremony ritual that is something you want to be a part of your wedding anniversary in the years to come – reading letters from each other, or from family, is one of our favorite ceremony rituals because it’s a sweet way include those you love & have a physical memory you can always look back on & reread in the future!
However you script your wedding ceremony, or if you totally wing it on the day of your elopement – do it YOUR way! This is a moment you’ll look back on for years, and you deserve to savor it, enjoy it, and feel confident that your unique relationship is represented in the way you get married. In the same way that no two couples are exactly alike, no two elopement ceremonies are exactly alike – after photographing hundreds of weddings all over the world, a personalized ceremony will ALWAYS make us emotional! The weight and significance of this commitment is a moment we feel incredibly honored to document, and we want to help you plan YOUR perfect wedding, from the moment you come together, until the moment you say “I do,” and after – this is YOUR day!
Ready to begin planning your own wedding? We can help!
Want some more elopement ceremony inspiration?
Julie and Kristyl’s Italian Dolomites elopement had one of the MOST unique and emotional ceremonies we’ve ever witnessed!
Here are some of our favorite ways to include family even when planning a “just us” elopement!
Still figuring out WHAT to do for your elopement? Here are some of our best timeline tips!