The next part of the wedding ceremony is most often called the marriage address. This is usually all spoken by the officiant or celebrant. But it also the part of the ceremony most often customized. The marriage address speaks about marriage. About the unity of two or more people. About what marriage is and what it could be. What it means spiritually and in reality. In a religious service, the Officiant will often reference that religions beliefs about what marriage means; both to its people as a whole and those getting married before them in that moment.
This section of the ceremony is where the couple’s relationship so far is covered. Also any wishes and goals for their future are spoken here. This is where, if the Officiant is close to the couple, they can speak about the relationship’s history on a personal level. Or if not close to them, the Officiant or another person can read a story of their relationship. If this is something they want done a certain way, the couple can write it themselves.
Alternatively, the Officiant can put something together after meeting with and learning about the couple. In a secular or interfaith ceremony the Officiant will often talk about love. Now this can be included in any ceremony but I bring it up here because it is a great way to speak of marriage in terms everybody understands without adhering to a particular religious belief system.
Another way to customize this section of your ceremony is to have a reading or two. Something that means something to the couple, whether it be popular or obscure, is best when choosing any reading but in this section especially. And it doesn’t have to be overt or lovey-dovey if you don’t want it to be. Maybe you and you significant other are a private couple and don’t want to have your love story spoken about out loud. Having a reading as a representation of how you feel about each other and your relationship is a great alternative. One of the more popular alternative readings is from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margaret Williams Blanco.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
There is a longer version that the very first couple I had the privilege of marrying used. Overall, it is subtle and sweet without being cringy if that’s not your thing. If cavity-causing readings are more your speed there are plenty out there so no worries. Overall, it important to think about how you want marriage, unity, love and your relationship to be represented here.
With these ideas, what would you prefer your ceremonies marriage address to be like? If you want a reading, do you have one in mind? What is it? Do share.