Commitment Ceremony – An Alternative Wedding Service

celebration of love ceremony woman with short hair and bold headed man wearing navy blue jumper

Are you looking for a modern marriage alternative to patriarchal wedding ceremony traditions? A commitment ceremony is a non legally binding alternative wedding ceremony without the trappings of a legal marriage. It’s a lovely way for two people in love (couples of any faith, gender or religion) to define their relationship by making a public declaration of love to one another. Being committed, having a strong connection and longing to be together forever is exciting, fun yet overwhelming.

You’ve fallen head over heels, you want to live together, get engaged and are ready to commit. Yet, you feel traditional weddings don’t fit you. Perhaps, you hate patrichal wedding ceremony traditions, choose not to get legally married or marriage scares the hell out of you. How do you celebrate your commitment to one another in the absence or presence of a church marriage or civil union? Where do you start with planning an alternative wedding ceremony? Trust me, these thought-provoking questions have crossed many couples minds, too.

Look, if you are a non-believer of marriage customs, patriarchal wedding traditions and don’t want to change your surname. You can declare your love, make an alternative statement, stand out from the rest and hold an alternative wedding service. Basically, you can enjoy a marriage celebration without the declaratory words of matrimony. On top of that, you have the freedom of choice to plan an officiated commitment ceremony your way. So, here is how to do it. I’ve done the hard work,. So, read at your leisure about planning it, then decide if this connects with you both. Here we go…

Commitment Ceremony of Love – A Unique Alternative Wedding Service

renewal of vows ceremony Australians getting married again in Amsterdam

Commitment ceremonies and love ceremonies are non-legally binding alternative to patriarchal wedding ceremony traditions . These non-traditional marriage ceremonies can be delivered where, when and the way you want it! The love story of the century in post-card picture NL:  informal, casual & relaxed!

Planning commitment ceremonies

Commitment ceremonies are alternative wedding services. So, planning can be overwhelming and stressful. If you’re worried a commitment ceremony lacks the formality of a church or registry office wedding. Create a special commitment ceremony that reflects a personal expression of your feelings for one another. Need some ideas for alternative patriarchal wedding traditions and ceremonies? Keep reading about how to organise a unique ceremony schedule timeline.

commitment ceremony of love table with timetable, flowers, glasses and a row of jugs for drinks

Unity and Love – Alternative patriarchal wedding ceremony traditions old wedlock customs. 

Commitment ceremony of love | program of events – key moments

TIMINGS: draw-up a timeline. Start by choosing from these 21 key moments to help you mark your alternative wedding service. Create the commitment ceremony you want to experience and cherish forever in your heart. Whether a day time, afternoon or evening wedding. The duration of officiated commitment (secular) ceremonies  can range from 30 < 60 minutes. See below…

  1. Housekeeping Announcements (optional)
  2. Processional (with or without music)
  3. Giving away of bride
  4. Welcoming word
  5. Couples love story
  6. Readings – guest speakers (optional)
  7. Musical interlude
  8. Couples – anecdotes (optional)
  9. Affirmation of life partnership
  10. “I do”
  11. Committed couples promises
  12. Commitment ring ceremony
  13. Musical interlude
  14. Couples confirmation of love
  15. First kiss
  16. Signing of the symbolic partnership certificate (optional)
  17. Congratulations
  18. Life partnership words of wisdom
  19. Conclusion
  20. Closing song
  21. Recessional


Housekeeping announcements (optional)

Firstly, give instructions prior to the ceremony starting. From requests to turn mobile phones off, to no taking pictures and a social media blackout. This announcement puts guests at ease, makes them feel seen and gets them in the mood for the celebrations. Your celebrant does this discreetly, so that you don’t offend anyone.

Processional (with or without music)

At your commitment ceremony venue  a processional of guests awaits you, to guide you up the aisle. And the celebrant stands at the altar with your life-partnership speech. It follows the same schedule of events as a marriage service and contains non-religious wording. The alternative procession line-up reflects your cultural backgrounds and lifestyle.

Giving away

However, love is universal, and we all want it, right? So, you don’t have to slavishly follow typical marriage traditions from the past. Even more exciting, your dad and mum, brother and sister or best friends can give you away. Choosing for a different escort gives extra substance to the secular commitment ceremony.


Commitment ceremonies are a non-conventional secular wedding. And a celebrant presides over the lawless marriage ceremony to welcome your guests. Non-religious wording is used, and no paperwork is involved. Namely it is a irreligious wedding that mirrors your strong moral values, and shines a bright light on your ethical beliefs.

Couples love story

A celebrant brings back humanness to the meaning of celebrating a life partnership. Especially if the sound of marriage stings you. The introduction is an important part of the secular ceremonies. The celebrant speaks about your commitment and faith in one another. Above all, retells your love story and expresses what you mean to each other.

Readings – guest speakers (optional)

A commitment ceremony is like a civil ceremony or church marriage but without the legal part. Alongside that, you can invite as many family and friends as you want. Everyone will feel a strong sense of belonging, inclusion and participation. Namely, you have plenty of scope to create something uniquely yours at your alternative wedding with readings, poems and guest speakers.

alternative wedding venues

Celebrate with a commitment ceremony an alternative to patriarchal wedding ceremony traditions. It’s perfect for all types of couples in love!

Yes, “I DO”

What’s the difference between commitment ceremonies and marriage ceremonies? Commitment & secular ceremonies follows directly after the legal marriage ceremony at the municipality – registrars office. It wouldn’t be complete without you both saying “yes, I do”. It gives a deeper meaning to your love. So, pucker up and get ready for your big shining and soppy moment. And don’t forget to hand out the ‘happy tissues’ to the tearful guests at your ceremony.

Committed couples promise

This mandatory part highlights your personal vows. The secular ceremony coincides with a major event in your life. And a promise of commitment ritual symbolises your unity. Held to mark two individuals in love it’s a reminder of your loyalty and faith in one another. And you’re dislike to the concept or the term of marriage.

Ring ceremony

Breaking free from traditional legacy of weddings means exchanging unique eternity rings,  swapping another symbol of love. Plan an alternative wedding gift something authentic. What about an engraved bracelet, necklace or tattoo. It ensures your love celebrations stand out from the rest. Most couples give commitment rings to each other however, some couples prefer other sentimental gifts of affection.

Couple is united – confirmation of love

As I said, you publicly declare true love, set the tone and scene. And your chosen celebrant can represent you. Not to mention officiate the ceremony while delivering your story to showcase a committed relationship. Embrace your life partner and hand in hand confirm your desire for one another. Basically, you need to get ready for the ultimate pledge of lifelong devotion.

First kiss – commitment ceremony

And here comes the moment you’ve both been waiting for, the first kiss. What’s more exciting than celebrating your love the way you want? So, ask your celebrant to step aside. Take your lover in your arms, squeeze them tight and give them a passionate kiss. Be conscious of your lips on theirs, this is a great photo moment.

alternative wedding speech

Love ceremonies are for life-long committed relationships. They are powerful because the individuals are equals and celebrate their intentional relationship. Michielstock Photography

The signing of the symbolic partnership certificate (optional)

Signing a life partners contract seals your love forever in print. Free of official paperwork and the legalities surrounding marriage. The celebrant creates a commitment ceremony certificate which the bride and groom sign. You can assign 2 or more witnesses to make it “official”. And don’t forget to include your children in the celebration. In fact, your kids can sign too.

Congratulations – Commitment ceremony

The celebrant has signed your life partners certificate and given you a grant of approval. The next step is to congratulate you both in a respectful way. Thereafter introduce you as a life-partnership couple. Although you have no legal status. Commitment ceremonies are morally binding and celebrate your long-standing harmonious connection.

commitment ceremony love ceremonies

Eric & Hans alternative wedding service – commitment ceremony. A celebration for you and your significant other sealed with a commitment ring! Michielstock Photography

Life partners words of wisdom

Love ceremonies are equal to commitment ceremonies. Additionally, a commitment ritual is non-binding alternative wedding ceremony. You receive the same respect, status, and recognition as married couples. Therefore, the celebrant will conclude your ultimate ceremony with you in mind. Words of wisdom will be bestowed upon the couple. It echos your hopes, dreams, happiness, and begins your happily ever after.

Officiants/celebrants parting words – Commitment ceremony script

Third to last, commitment ceremonies signify a new chapter in couple’s lives. It proves that you are keen to work on a solid-bond. And celebrate the greatest gift of all. Your celebrant represents you and concludes the celebration of love. This ensures your life-partnership starts off on the right foot.

Recessional – Commitment ceremony

So, you’ve said, yes. And now wear the symbol of love. It’s time to leave the ceremony venue. As you walk down the aisle followed by your guests (in an orderly fashion) you can look forward to a lifetime together. The celebrants closing speech advises guests that, “drinks are now being served at the reception”.

Closing song – commitment ceremony of love

Finally, an alternative wedding like a commitment ceremony echos your love with the perfect recessional songs. But what music should you share with everyone to make a grand exit? Should it be upbeat, uplifting, and unique music? Well, it’s your day, so play something reminiscence of your love story. A life-long partnership deserves the best sound ever.

commitment ceremony alternative wedding love story

Commitment ceremony in Amsterdam: The real love story of Poss and Bill’s continued commitment and life-partnership. Westerpark Amsterdam

Who can officiate a commitment ceremony of love?

Commitment ceremonies have no legal recognition. A celebrant or officiant can officiate the alternative wedding. And will issue (optional) a symbolic partnership certificate to symbolise your love. It’s equivalent to a marriage license. This special document adds an extra touch to the non-religious partnership celebration. It shows you are committed to your vows and each other.

What is the best commitment ceremony location?

There are similarities and differences between hosting commitment ceremonies and weddings. For instance, there is no legal paperwork to deal with: no church, no patriarchal cliches, no stiff sense of formality. However, you can book a licensed or unlicensed venue. Host an alternative wedding abroad on a sunny beach, on a rocky mountain top or in a hot air balloon. The choice is yours because there are no restrictions.

commitment ceremony Amsterdam

Commitment ceremonies are for happily partnered people who dislike patriarchal law, choose not to marry or were not born into religion.  Westerpark, Amsterdam

Why a commitment ceremony vs civil marriage?

If you want to commit your lives to each other, you don’t have to opt for a lawful and civil marriage. Marriage is an institution deeply rooted in patriarchy law, social hierarchy, and gender inequality. Committed couples like you prefer a ceremony of love, trust and commitment. Basically, you want to share and retell an epic love story publicly in front of close family and friends without a legal marriage.

What happens at a commitment ceremony of love?

Whether you are a straight, gay, lesbian or transgender couple eager to say “I do,” a ceremonial celebrant or symbolic marriage officiant can marry you. There is no church involved, no patriarchal cliches or no stiff sense of formality. Below is an order of service and timings. Check it out and decide if a commitment ceremony of love suits your couples personality. Otherwise, Pinterest has lots of advice for you.

Read a Real-Life Commitment Ceremony Story

Commitment ceremonies are alternative to patriarchal wedding ceremony traditions. These alternative wedding ceremonies amplify a couples ethical beliefs, world view on love, loyalty and trust. Commitment ceremonies can be celebrated with both friends & family without getting married. It means developing and maintaining co-operation, friendship and mutual respect. It calls for understanding and encouragement.

alternative wedding commitment ceremony couple kissing at Westerpark

A commitment ceremony is a celebration of love for couples who want an alternative marriage service.


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About Clover Jean: I'm a London, UK celebrant based in Amsterdam, NL. Officiating symbolic weddings, vow renewals, funerals, celebration of life services and naming ceremonies is my passion. My guilty pleasures are singing with my Gospel & Soul choir, fine dining, travel hot spots and on-line retail therapy. Find out more, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

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