The information in this section was mainly sourced from this page.
1. Create a List of Inspirational Words
Contrary to what some people say, good writing has little to do with having a sophisticated grasp of grammar or proficiency with spelling. Any word processing app will compensate for spelling and having a good editor (such as your friends) will polish the grammatical structure of your writing.
Good writing is about inspiration and focus. This tip is to help you find your inspiration before you even set pen to paper…or more likely, finger to keyboard.
Writing a good wedding ceremony script is about having an understanding of the couple. Giving yourself the pressure of approaching the wedding ceremony as a creative writing exercise will only add unnecessary stress to your task. It will also ultimately lead to a ceremony that while clever, will probably not be as heartfelt or meaningful as it could be.
The fact that the couple asked you to officiate their wedding is a good indication that you share a strong bond with one or both of the people getting married. This relationship is your most powerful tool in writing a meaningful wedding ceremony script.
Before you start to write the wedding ceremony script we recommend that you think about the couple and write down the words that come to mind. You may want to have columns for each partner and one for them as a couple.
This list of words will prove invaluable when you are inevitably stuck with writer’s block. When that happens you can go back to this list for inspiration and insight on how to continue writing the script.
Here is an example of what this might look like:
- Such a loyal friend.
- Picked me up when my car broke down.
- Has awesome parents.
- My best friend since childhood.
- Deserves the best and she found him.
- Most honest person I’ve met.
- He can grill a pretty mean salmon.
- Had the best time at the cabin upstate last winter.
- Couldn’t imagine a better person for Sandra.
You will probably not use anything from this list in when you are writing your wedding ceremony script. That is not the point. This list is written only for you so that when you find yourself at a loss for words you can draw from the feelings that these words evoke.
2. Read Through a Few Ceremony Scripts
As any good writer would advise, if you want to write for a certain format it is essential to familiarize yourself with what others have written before you. The same holds true for wedding ceremony scripts.
We can’t assume what you or the couple’s values are as far as religious persuasion. Below are links to the American Marriage Ministries website that cover a wide spectrum or religious to non-religious wedding ceremony scripts.
- 10 Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts
- 5 Christian Wedding Ceremony Scripts
- 3 Wedding Ceremony Scripts Including Children
3. Consult the Couple On Any Rituals They Would Like to Include In The Wedding Ceremony
This is another tip that could potentially save you time and rewriting down the road. Set up a meeting with the couple. Ask them if there are any rituals they would like to include in the ceremony, such as a candle lighting or handfasting.
This will give you more guidance and structure before you even start writing. The exercise may also inspire collaboration that could develop new ideas that none of you would have thought up individually.
This meeting will probably not take more than an hour. It can also be quite fun and you can do so over coffee or drinks. That being said, make sure to keep the meeting structured, stay on point, and take notes.
4. Map Out The Wedding Ceremony Script In Parts
You will be better served by working from general to specific. What this means is that before you get too involved with any specific part of the ceremony, block out each part.
For instance, block out a section for “Invocation“, “Declaration of Intent“, “Pronouncement“, and so on.
If you have the entire structure laid out, you have a better birds eye view of the work ahead of you. From this point you can chip away at the larger task by writing one section at a time.
If you find yourself getting stuck in one section you can put it aside and start working on a different section. Using this method, you will rarely find yourself stuck because you can always switch gears to work on something else while still having a grasp of the ceremony as a whole.
5. Read Through The Ceremony Aloud
You will be doing much rehearsal once the ceremony is polished, but in getting there it is still invaluable to read what you have out loud.
Sentence structure and flow often come off different when they are spoken aloud rather than read. You will find that certain things that look good on paper do not feel right when they are spoken.
Doing this exercise will alert you to problematic sentences in the ceremony script.
6. Put The Ceremony Away For a Few Days And Come Back
This is a tip directly from the pen of Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. Stephen King, once done with his first manuscript will put it aside for several months so that he can read it later with a fresh set of eyes.
You may not have the same luxury of time. A few days, or a week or two should suffice.This tip allows you to look at the ceremony script you have written with a fresh set of eyes.
Things that you thought were particularly clever may jump out at you as inappropriate or jarring. Things that you missed entirely may jump out at you. You may even notice errors of omission, such as forgetting to include something important about the couple.
Part of good writing is to give yourself as the writer some distance from your work. When you are in the middle of writing you are often too close to rely upon yourself to fairly judge your own work. We all do this, not just in writing but in life. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about your work. But passion rarely equals proficiency.
This technique has been echoed by many writers over many generations. To reference Stephen King again, he phrased it this way “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings“.
7. Read Through the Ceremony As A Whole
By this point your wedding ceremony script should be shaping up. In this exercise what you will do is make a copy of your ceremony script and remove any sectional dividers it may contain.
So if you have a title for the “Invocation” then text then a title for “Declaration of Intent” then text, remove the titles. The purpose here is to see how the ceremony flows between each section.
Now when you read the ceremony you may notice that going from the Candle Lighting to Rings Exchange feels jarring, for instance. You probably didn’t notice this when the ceremony was broken up into discrete sections.
A wedding ceremony script is one piece. The exercise in Tip 4 was to help you in writing the ceremony by breaking it up into manageable bite-sized pieces. Now that those pieces are written, this exercise is meant to help stitch those pieces together.
8. Read The Ceremony Aloud To A Trusted Friend
This last tip is to help you get some external feedback. At a later point you will be rehearsing and reading the ceremony in front of the couple. Before that point we recommend soliciting the ear of a trusted friend.
Having a second opinion is an invaluable tool. We also understand that with as much work as you have put into the ceremony it may be hard to hear criticism. That is why you should ask someone whose insight you respect.
Do not take it personally or become defensive if they have notes to give. That is the reason why you are reading the ceremony to them in the first place. They are taking the time to listen to you and to provide feedback. Take that feedback with an open mind.
Their insight may be hard to swallow at first but it will also make the ceremony better. Remember, this ceremony is not about you. It is about the couple. Keep your ego in check and think about them. You are doing this to write the best ceremony that you can for the couple getting married.