3 Sample Elopement Ceremonies, updated 10-11-2016
These are three short mini-ceremonies that are just long enough to be personal and meaningful, yet brief enough to qualify for a “quick” in and out if necessary. Choose a ceremony as-is, or mix and match readings and words to fit your own relationship. Take a look at the full-size ceremonies and other readings on this site, too, which can be shortened in length to fit your needs. You might also choose this shorter length text: when it’s going to be 100 degrees and your wedding is in full sun, or when most of your guests are standing, or when you’ll be walking into a mosquito-filled forest.
We are here today to share with NAME and NAME this very significant moment in their lives as they become a married couple.
The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of perfect accident, which brings new meaning to the lives of those who experience it.
Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of all human relationships. No ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that – through love and patience; through dedication and listening; through supporting and believing in each other. By learning to make the important things matter, and letting go of the rest. What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you make to stand together despite the occasional urge to run away.
To make a marriage work, we learn to overlook and forgive the things that may frustrate us. You are promising to stick together through all the sleepless nights, early mornings, unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes. To support one another through all the bad traffic, annoying co-workers, and airport security lines.
But marriage is also about having someone to laugh with, to hug and to snuggle with on cold nights. It’s having someone who will get your dumb jokes and obscure movie references. Marriage is believing in each other, and cheering each other on in life. It’s someone you know feels the same way about you as you feel about them. Marriage is having a confidant, a partner in crime, and a best friend.
As you look at one another, I ask you each to affirm your purpose for being here today:
Do you, NAME take NAME to be your lawfully married husband/wife/partner, to love and respect, and to be loyal to from this day forth?
NAME, as you place the ring on NAME’s finger, please repeat after me:
“I, NAME, take you, NAME,
to be my husband from this day forward.
I will always be open and honest with you,
I will respect and care for you,
I will cherish our love and our friendship,
and I will share my life with you always.”
An author once wrote, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
Love makes burdens lighter; because you divide them. It make joys more intense because you share them. Love makes you stronger, so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.
It is my honor to now pronounce you to be officially married. You may kiss. Congratulations!
We are here to unite these two people, NAME and NAME, in marriage.
I would like to share an excerpt from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2015, which recognized that not only is marriage hugely important to society, but that it is a constitutional right for all Americans:
“From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union … always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. … Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.
“Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. … Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.”
You have come here together to share in that human institution of marriage, to share your lives, hopes and dreams, successes and failures, highs, lows, and every mundane thing in between.
Nothing is easier than saying words, and nothing harder than living them day by day. What you promise today must be renewed and re-decided tomorrow. At the end of this ceremony, legally you will be married, but you must still decide, each day that stretches out before you, that you want to be together. Real love is something beyond the warmth and glow, the excitement and romance of being deeply in love. It is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your marriage partner as about your own. Real love is not total absorption in each other; it is looking outward in the same directions — together.
Remember that these vows are not just words, but represent the commitment you make to be present with each other in your marriage for all the days and all the years you will be together.
Do you, NAME, take NAME to be your lawfully married partner, to love and respect, and to be loyal to from this day forth?
NAME, as you place the ring on NAME’s finger, please repeat after me (or please share your vows):
“I, NAME, take you, NAME, to be my husband/wife,
in equal love,
as a partner on my path,
to honor and to cherish
in sorrow and in joy,
from this day forward.”
Having witnessed your vows with those who are present here, it is my honor to now pronounce you to be officially married. Congratulations!
An author named Robert Fulghum once said:
We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.
Today we celebrate the marriage of NAME and NAME, who came together as wonderfully weird individuals, and have found a mutual weirdness they call love.
As inspiration for your future together, I’d like to share a part of a poem titled Scientific Romance by science fiction writer Tim Pratt:
If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn’t even pick up my
I’d just let you take a bite
out of me, because I’d rather be
than alive alone
If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I’d still spend at least 1021 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
for the real thing.
NAME and NAME, as you look at one another, remember that you are here today together, not because of any religious or civic law, but out of a desire to love and be loved by another person fully, without limitation. Love is not just a word you say, but an action. Love is the commitment you make to be present in your marriage. That means being there for each other each and every day, not just when it is convenient. This is the “for better or worse, in sickness and health” kind of stuff.
Love, in a mature partnership between equals, fosters honest communication and a mutual sense of well-being. It is a promise to demonstrate your commitment, both experiencing the love you receive, and expressing your love for each other. Expressions of love might be as simple as a hug or a genuine compliment, being a good listener, or watching Food Network together when you’d prefer Walking Dead. Love is often described as many different things to many different people, and it is. Love is what you make of it, by being together.
With that in mind, I ask:
Do you, NAME and NAME, desire to be partners in marriage? Do you promise to love, comfort, respect and be faithful to each other, for as long as you both live?
“We do.” Or “I do.”
NAME, do you have the ring? Place the ring on NAME’s finger, and repeat after me:
“I promise today to be your partner,
your best friend, and wife/husband;
to honor, love, and cherish you
through all of life’s adventures.
I swear to always be your confidant
and you mine.
I vow to grow old with you
and to keep the kid in you alive.”
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once said:
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.”
You two have created this love and made your lives mean something together.
It is now my honor to pronounce you, NAME and NAME, to be officially married. Congratulations!