If you're considering eloping instead of having a traditional wedding, you're not alone. The popularity of elopement ceremonies has increased during the pandemic and it looks like the trend will continue. Eloping can be a magical and romantic way to exchange vows with just each other present. If you've decided to elope, you may have questions about how to create a meaningful ceremony. Is there a specific script that needs to be followed to make the ceremony legally binding? Can you plan the ceremony in advance or should you wing it? To help answer these questions, we've asked wedding officiant Joanne Wright to share her tips for creating a memorable elopement ceremony script.
Elopement Ceremony Script vs. Traditional Ceremony Script
Elopement ceremonies, like traditional wedding ceremonies, require three things that must be declared in order for the couple to be legally married. These are
1) freely agreeing to marry each other; 2) the vows (I do, etc); and
3) the proclamation at the end of the ceremony stating they are legally wed by the authority of the Province of Ontario. These are the legally binding part of the wedding ceremony and therefore cannot be excluded. Since there is no audience to please, the couple can choose to include or exclude elements such as vows, poems, and rituals based on what is meaningful to them. The elopement ceremony script can be as simple or elaborate as the couple desires.
Who writes the elopement ceremony script?
I write the script in collaboration with the couple and I can help weave their thoughts together into a ceremony that flows nicely. My first contact is by email or phone to chat and a personal meeting if necessary, so that we can become familiar with each other. I give them my email as well so that they can contact me with any forgotten questions, etc. I give them some time to decide what they want to say in the ceremony and then I meet with them a few weeks before their ceremony to go over their notes wishes and desires.
When should you write the elopement ceremony script?
As soon as a couple books my services, I begin working on the script for their elopement ceremony. I never try to create a ceremony on the spot because I want to be fully prepared when the day arrives. Taking the time to carefully plan and write the script can make the ceremony more meaningful for the couple. It's a common misconception that because it's an elopement, the ceremony can't be beautiful and memorable. In fact, it should be just as memorable as any other wedding ceremony.
Is there anything that shouldn't be included in an elopement ceremony?
No, there are no specific requirements for an elopement ceremony beyond the legally required declaration. Couples are free to include or exclude any elements they wish, such as having the officiant give a sermon or walking down the aisle. The most important thing is to include whatever feels right and meaningful to the couple on their special day.