Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Non-religious ceremony

I've never been to a wedding that wasn't officiated by a pastor, priest, etc.  However, we are not religious and opted to have a JOP marry us.

Can anyone provide some insight on a non-religious ceremony?  I just want to know what to expect.  Would a JOP perform a sermon like a pastor would?  Or would he just get to the point and have us recite our vows?  Are we supposed to give him direction or should we expect him to just come up with something himself?

We're not having any readings and we're not writing our own vows.  We just want to keep it simple.  
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Re: Non-religious ceremony

  • They don't usualy do a sermon, but they can say a few words about the meaning of love and marriage, or do a secular reading if you want.   Or you could have friends or family do secular readings.  
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  • lls31lls31 member
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    Thank you!  Would we provide the reading for our officiant or is that something he would come up with himself?  This may be a dumb question, but if this is something we provide, where would we even find readings about the meaning of love and marriage or whatnot?
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  • That's something you need to ask the JOP.  They may have a format they use or readings that you can choose from.
  • You may need to ask the JOP if he has a format he needs to stick to.  If you and your fiance are wanting to have a ceremony with more to it but just not religious some states allow self-unifying which means you do not need a pastor or JOP to officate.  I am doing my ceremony this way and am having a good friend officiate, so he'll say a few words and then me and my fiance will read our own vows.  I know PA and CO both offer this as a legal option.
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  • My fiance and I are having an officiant. How we worked all this out was we discussed some ideas of what we wanted in the ceremony, and then we interviewed a few officiants that seemed like they fit our personalities and desired tone for the wedding. The one we picked is awesome, because we sat down and talked about who we are, what we're looking for, how long and what we want to include in the ceremony, and the 3 of us are building the ceremony together.
    Officiants and JOPs usually have a list of frequently used readings, so they'll probably be able to suggest something, but if you have something that you think suits, you can go with that too. We're going with a literary reading because that's who we are. Best of luck!
  • Definitely ask the JOP if they have anything, or do an internet search, there's tons on the web.  You might look for "secular wedding readings," "love poems," or something to that effect.  As was stated before, a good JOP will build the ceremony with you so that it suits what you both want and need.
  • We are having one of our best friends become ordained so she can be the officiant.  Since neither of us are religious we obviously weren't going to have a priest or pastor...and instead of a JOP who is a stranger, we felt that having someone who knew us would make the ceremony more meaningful. Plus, it doesn't hurt that she's a writer!  :)
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  • FI and I will also be married by an officiant. We got a packet in the mail 3 months before the wedding with suggested layouts for the ceremony. There won't be a sermon, and the ceremony is going to be about 20 min long. We'll have a short opening message, parents blessing, vows, a dove release, a reading, and finally the declaration of marriage. Ask you JOP, I'm sure they'll have some suggestions! Good luck!
  • I am not sure either, we're looking at options like having a JOP or a lawyer. I would have to come up with how I want it. I am still not sure. I want 1 or 2 readings done by family members, traditonal vows, written vows and the unity candle. I also want it short.
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  • lls31lls31 member
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    Thanks, ladies!  I'll talk to our JOP about it at some point.  We're still 7 months out, so it's probably too early now.  The question just popped into my head so I thought I'd ask here first.

    tingeytron - I like the idea of a literary reading.  Just curious what you're using?
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