We are not doing a religious ceremony, which left us without an obvious choice for an officiant. We talked to ministers Catholic and otherwise, but the marriage prep and ceremony didn't fit us. Then we looked at "professional officiants," but I was turned off by the price, and frankly it seemed like kind of a sell-out. We talked about having a friend get ordained, but no one really stood out as a good person to do it. Then I had an epiphany (okay, I knew it all along but had forgotten in all the hunting): We can get a judge! Multnomah County lists the judges that will do weddings. I called one, their staff took down our names and wedding date/location/time, and that was that! They will show up, we will pay them ($100), and they will say the magic words. Whew!

Ceremony Script

Since we are doing our own thing, without the template of a religious wedding, I've had to do a fair amount of research to work out our ceremony script. I'm posting our script here, in case it can help someone else writing their own!

{{ Procession }}


Welcome and good evening.

Each of you is here today because you bring something special to the lives of Erin and Richard. Some of you have known one or both of them for years - and some of you are meeting them today for the very first time. But whether you’re an old friend or a newly acquired relation, you have a special place in their hearts. It is you to whom they’ll turn in the coming years, in joy or in sorrow. It is you with whom they’ll share their happiness, and you to whom they’ll bring their pain. It is you who will watch their marriage mature. This is why Erin and Richard have invited you to share in this very important moment in their lives as they come together as husband and wife.

Before Erin and Richard exchange their vows, friends and family have words of wisdom to share.

The Art Of A Good Marriage, Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Union, Robert Fulghum

Erin and Richard, You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –

This is my husband. This is my wife.


Erin and Richard, please join hands and exchange the vows that you have thoughtfully prepared for each other.


Richard, I love you, not only for who you are, but for who I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
Therefore I, Erin, take you, Richard, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
With this ring, I wed you and pledge you my love now and forever. (Slide ring on his finger)


Erin, I see the sun in your hair, the sky in your eyes, and my heart in your hands. You have unlocked a happiness in me that shivers with excitement, rests in tranquility, and is always eager for the next minute with you. Let my arms be your home as we welcome tomorrow together.
I, Richard, take you, Erin, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
With this ring, I wed you and pledge you my love now and forever. (Slide ring on her finger)


Richard and Erin, on behalf of your loved ones who are here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things we wish for you:

First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep and powerful. May your love for one another bring forth the best that is within you.

Second, we wish for you a home that will be a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. May your home be blessed with a healthy and happy family.

Finally, we wish for you a life that you can share together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams.

And now, by the authority vested in me by the State of Oregon, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. XXX!

{{ Recession }}