Jeff, a Canadian celebrant, asks:

I’m wondering what sections you two include in your ceremonies?
ex: Processional
Love Story
Declaration of Intent

I have a very similar trajectory for each ceremony, and add or subtract (readings etc) based on what the couple are looking for, but was wondering how others on the other side of the world do it!

I suspect marriage ceremonies in Western countries are similar all around the world, because they’d be built based on Christian ceremonies. Here’s my basic outline:
  • Processional
  • Welcome/Introduction (includes acknowledgement of wedding party, guests, people who’ve travelled a long way, and of those who couldn’t be with us)
  • Family blessing and acknowledgement (I prefer to give both members of both families the opportunity to offer their support to the marriage, rather than just the bride’s dad giving her away)
  • Your story
  • Readings/poems and/or rituals
  • The asking
  • The Monitum – must be before the vows (this is the legal statement that celebrants must make for marriages to be valid in Australia)
  • Vows (there are legally required vows and personal vows; about 50% of my couples include personal vows, the others just say the legally required words)
  • Ring ceremony
  • Declaration of marriage (interestingly not legally required)
  • Signing of certificates
  • Conclusion
  • Presentation of the couple to family and friends
  • Recessional
The bold bits are the ones that are legally required in Australia.

Jeff was nice enough to share with me that in Canada, the legal requirements for a marriage ceremony are essentially the declaration of intent (the “I do’s”) and the declaration of marriage, sign the license and you’re good to go! I’m always interested in how people get married in other parts of the world!