The Declaration of Intent is where the couple says their I Do’s. The Officiant will ask questions of each person and they will respond I Do or I Will while looking at the other or at the Officiant. Some traditional questions include “Do you take soandso as your lawfully wedding wife/husband, t have and to hold, in sickness and in health, til death do you part?” Sometimes this is all that is asked. Other times their is more.
For example, since this comes after the Marriage Address, the Officiant will have put together a small charge for the couple instead of or in addition to the questions. This is a statement that is basically each person stating what they will do in this marriage. When the Officiant “repeat after me,” you know this is coming.
This is another place where you can customize your ceremony.You can make up your own questions for the officiant to say. Some couples already have children and to include them in the ceremony, have them mentioned here as they declare their intent to the child(ren) and to the soon to be blended family as a whole also. One could also let the kid(s) state their intention of accepting this new person into their family officially. Obviously, this is not like a legal adoption which is an entirely different process should one want to do that.
Another alternative is to include a Declaration of Support from family, friends and/or those who are attending the ceremony. This can form in many ways. The guests can stand and repeat a short pledge of support after the Officiant. Certain members, such as the parents of the couple, may be called on to receive a gift as a symbol of this marriage being of family as well as individuals. There are so many ways to verbally or symbolically include your family and friends in your ceremony.
If this is the plan, it is very important to brief everyone involved ahead of time. Also, to have the Officiant remind them during their opening remarks explaining the ceremony. Its also great to have written or typed versions of any long declarations or sayings that will not be in the repeat after me (the Officiant) format.
What kinds of declarations would you like to include in your ceremony? Let me know in the comments.