Minimal Legal Wedding

(Legal “barebones” wedding – a simple legal wedding, often used when the couple is planning another wedding ceremony with friends and family at a later date. Time: 10-12 minutes)

MARY:

We have gathered here today to witness and celebrate the legal marriage ceremony of Conor and Isabel.

My name is Mary Beaty, Humanist Chaplain at the University of Toronto, and a licenced marriage officiant certified by the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Humanist Society. Humanism is a ethical philosophy of living, based on compassion and reason, stating we all have the ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives in service of our common good, and world we share.

As we all know, Isabel and Conor are holding this civil ceremony this afternoon in their apartment, which will be their legal wedding ceremony. They will also be holding family wedding celebrations in Geneva and in Hong Kong in the Fall.

So with the good fortune to have two ceremonies, this one attended by those close to them in Canada, and the next one to occur with all of their family present, here is a short statement about marriage, and the legal contract that this couple are now signing together on this date.

Statement of Marriage

Marriage is an honorable estate designed to unite two sympathies and hopes into one; it rests upon the mutual confidence and devotion of husband and wife. It is the promise of hope, between two people who honour each other as individuals, and who wish to unite their lives and share the future together.

We rejoice with Isabel and Conor that they are joining their lives, and seeking the richness of human life by sharing the journey together, both today, and in the days of their lives to come.

Witness Affirmation

MARY (To witnesses)
Those of us here this evening are witnesses to the happiness this couple has found together, and to the pledges they will make to each other for the mutual service of their common life. We are grateful for their love and support for Isabel and Conor.

Do you now offer your support for this couple, and wish them the best of lives together? Response: “We do.”

Intention

Isabel and Conor, please face each other.

Please repeat after me:

I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I [name] may not be joined in matrimony to [name].

Vows

Mary: (To couple)

Will you please join your hands.

Both of you come to this day with the deep realization of the commitment asked of you as well as the obligations and responsibilities present in the contract of marriage. In the presence of these witnesses, you now will offer your pledges to each other, and place your lives into each other’s keeping.

Please repeat after me:
I call upon these persons present to witness that I [name] do take you [name] to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/partner
for all the risings of the sun, for all the days of our lives to come.

Ring Ceremony

Isabel and Conor have decided to exchange rings at their ceremony in Geneva in September.

Declaration

Isabel and Conor, you have spoken your promises of commitment each to each, and agreed to accept each other as your legal spouse. It is thus with great pleasure that I, Mary Beaty, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Marriage Act, do hereby pronounce you, Isabel and Connor, to be married.

Kiss/Embrace

Licence Signing

Mary: Let us now sign the marriage license and Register.

Declaration

Mary: I now present to you the legally married couple, Isabel and Conor. May you all meet again in Switzerland and Hong Kong, and celebrate together.

Champagne toast, congratulations!