Commitment Ceremony of Love an Alternative Wedding Ceremony

commitment ceremony of love man and woman in a green field

With marriage rates plummeting a commitment ceremony of love is a beautiful way to express your love for another without a legal marriage or civil partnership. It’s a modern alternative to a traditional wedding for happily partnered couples who choose not to get legally married. If you were not born into religion, cannot handle it or dislike patriarchal law, how do you celebrate love in the absence of God and defy old wedlock traditions?

Perhaps, marriage scares the hell out of you, it does many other people, too. Does it bother you that your parents object to a commitment ceremony? You could believe in God and your partner isn’t sure. Being committed and longing to be together forever is exciting. Long-term couples of any gender who are eschewing  tradition want a marriage ceremony without a godly presence and the trappings of patriarchal law.

So you if you are a non-believer of marriage customs and traditions. As a strong couple, you can make a symbolic statement.  This alternative wedding could connect with you both. Basically, it looks like an official marriage service but without the declaratory words of wedlock. Not to mention you’ve got freedom of choice to plan an officiated commitment ceremony your way. So, read at your leisure about planning it, then decide if this is what you really want.

Commitment Ceremony of Love – Everything You Need to Know

commitment ceremony of love guests enjoying an outdoor celebration

Equality in a marriage is a threat to patriarchy. Life-long committed relationships are powerful because the individuals are equals.   all images credit:

Planning commitment ceremonies

So, you’ve embarked on an epic love story. Planning commitment ceremonies has its ups and downs. Are you worried a partnership ceremony lacks the formality of a church or registry office wedding? Whatever it is, commitment ceremonies resemble special weddings, a personal expression of couples feelings for one another. Check the link above for more ideas about a ceremony schedule timeline.

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.

Where can you hold a commitment ceremony of love?

What similarities and differences are there between hosting commitment ceremonies and weddings? For instance, there is no legal paperwork to deal with. And you can book an unlicensed venue, host it abroad on a sunny beach, on a rocky mountain top. In fact, it’s outstripping the classic marriage ceremony because there are no restrictions.

Why a commitment ceremony of love instead of marriage?

Do you want to commit your lives to each other? This is a good question to ask. A lawful marriage is an institution deeply rooted in patriarchy law, social hierarchy, and gender inequality. Some committed couples prefer a non-legally binding marriage ceremony planning checklist. In fact, the couples share and retell an epic love story publicly in front of close family and friends.

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. Find out below the order of service and timings for a wedding for couples of all types. Otherwise, Pinterest has lots of advice for you.

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

Commitment ceremonies can be celebrated with both friends & family without getting married.

Commitment ceremony of love program of events – order of service – key moments

TIMINGS: draw-up a timeline. Start by choosing from these 21 key moments to help you mark your alternative wedding day. 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. 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)

In addition, a commitment ceremony is an alternative to a civil union or church wedding. Your invitees have a strong sense of belonging, inclusion and participation. Namely, you have plenty of scope to create something uniquely yours with readings, poems and guest speakers.

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 tissues to the weeping 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 gift or symbol of love. Plan something authentic such as an engraved bracelet or necklace. It ensures your love celebrations stand out from the rest. Most couples give 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.

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.

Life partners words of wisdom

Additionally, a commitment ritual is non-binding ceremony whereby 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 of love

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, echo 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.

 table decorated with white linen cloth and a row of wooden chairs

Non-religious marriage ceremonies legalised. Non-believers are pushing for legal recognition of humanist weddings [UK]. And this will end the need for second, civil ceremony. However, high court rules humanist marriage recognition failure is ‘discriminatory’. Source: image credit:


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About Clover Jean: I'm a London, UK celebrant based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Officiating weddings, renewal of marriage vows 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. What's yours? Get in touch, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

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