I get many requests for my services as a non-denominational wedding officiant. Couples often wonder.. just how does the ceremony play out and can it be personalized. First of all… at Pond Side Ministries we are all about personalizing the ceremony. While I bring along an outline… (see below) only those items in BOLD are legally required. Some couples may not want any music or have a special song or singer, others may have a special person in their life who wants to read a poem.. some couples may want to have a ritual that involves just themselves or one that incorporates children in the ceremony.. others may want to include their beloved pets… all are possible and encouraged. This is your special day.. I just happened to be there to officiate.
Traditional Wedding Ceremony Outline
* Bold indicates what legally has to happen to be married in Ontario.
Entrance of the Wedding Party
This is for any poems/spiritual readings. While many couples do not choose this, it is a nice option if you want to have a close family member/godparent participate in your ceremony. You may even have a distant guest do a reading over SKYPE or Face time so they are included in the ceremony.
Most often, I find out from the couple, what qualities they admire in each other and their strengths as a couple. I tie this in with where they met and what they do in their spare time and at the end say, with these unique qualities as individuals and these strengths as a couple they present themselves today to be married.
Affirmation of Families/ Guests
I ask the guests/family to offer their encouragement and support to you in your married life. This can be done instead of “Who gives this woman away” of included with it.
I encourage couples to write their own vows, they do not need to be memorized, most read it to each other. If they are shy or uncomfortable with that, I can give them to you a line at a time
There are many rituals couples can choose from to personalize their ceremony, such as a sand ceremony (with or with out parents/children), a love letter/wine box ritual, a chocolate/wine/champagne ritual, time capsule to name a few.
Sign License (Music/Photos)
License can be downloaded from my site or your local city hall, it is valid for 90 days and gives explicit instructions as to what documentation is required. Does not have to be from the city you are getting married in. Witnesses can be anyone over the age of 19.
This is for directions for the guests, what they are to do after the ceremony etc
Presentation of Couple
You can decide how you want to be introduced, most often it is Mr and Mrs. Groomname and BrideName, lastname.
Departure of the Wedding Party
Pond Side Ministries looks forward to making your day special.