I’ll give you lots of ceremonies – of course you can just choose one or mix and match the elements but the whole point of the civil way of being married is that you have the opportunity to make it utterly personal and unique. There is no standard wording you must stick to – so why not look at some examples and just make it up?
You start with an introduction. Well, you can start with an introduction – but why not just have someone step forward unannounced and deliver a reading or a poem? Something that will arrest the attention of your guests and set the scene for what is to follow, a poem that speaks of love and commitment as you see it, a poem that sums you up, something written so perfectly that you chose it because it struck a chord and said what you were feeling but couldn’t put into words?
Then I – or someone else, it doesn’t even have to be the celebrant – can come forward and welcome everybody, thank them for coming and more or less state the obvious – why we are here, what has brought you as a couple to this point of marriage. The introduction can tell a little of your story – or a lot, depending on how public you want to be with your relationship. There is no sermon in a civil ceremony, no lesson that someone outside your relationship has a right or obligation to get across – but in the introduction you have the opportunity to talk about what love and commitment mean to you and why you feel it appropriate to express this in a ceremony before your friends and family.
You obviously believe that marriage will make a difference to your relationship – whether it comes after years of waiting, or after the making of a family, or out of a rush of passion and certainty that this is right and irreversible.
Think about what your relationship means to you : your introduction is your chance to reflect on this; worth more than a $200 voucher to spend on marriage education.