Commitment Ceremony – Alternative Wedding Ceremony

commitment ceremony man and woman in a green field

A commitment ceremony is a unique and alternative wedding for life partners who are keen to celebrate love and harmony by formalising the relationship. Marriage scares the sh.t out of some of us, yet it can be celebrated with both friends & family without getting married. How do you mark it in the absence of religion or old wedlock traditions?

Being happily committed and longing to be together forever is exciting. Long-term couples like you who aren’t traditional, but creative and practical. You want a marriage ceremony without a godly presence and the trappings of patriarchal law.

Planning commitment ceremonies has its ups and downs. Perhaps you are worried a partnership ceremony lacks the formality of a church or registry office wedding. Or you are bothered that your parents might object to this form of marriage?

But no worries, as strong individuals and as one a ceremony of commitment can connect with you both. Basically, it looks like an official marriage service. 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

commitment ceremony guests enjoying an outdoor celebration

So, you’ve embarked on an epic love story. What does equality mean? Why is it a threat to patriarchy? Well, a life-long committed relationship is powerful, it means you’re equals.   image credit: newconcept.rs

WHO CAN OFFICIATE A COMMITMENT CEREMONY?

A celebrant or officiant can officiate commitment ceremonies. And a symbolic partnership certificate is issued (optional) as an equivalent marriage license. This special document adds an extra touch to the non-religious partnership ceremony. It shows you are committed to your vows and each other.

WHERE CAN YOU HOST YOUR COMMITMENT CEREMONY?

Secondly, what similarities and differences are there between hosting commitment ceremonies and weddings? For instance, there is no legal paperwork to deal with. 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 INSTEAD OF MARRIAGE?

Well, 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 an epic love story publicly in front of close family and friends.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A COMMITMENT CEREMONY?

And there’s more. Whether you are straight, gay or lesbian and eager to say “I do,” you can have an experienced ceremonial celebrant or symbolic marriage officiant 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. Otherwise, Pinterest has lots of advice for you.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY ORDER OF SERVICE

commitment ceremony guests and children sitting round a table talking and eating

Commitment ceremonies resemble special weddings, they are a personal expression of a couples feelings for one another. It’s for non-believers of marriage customs and traditions. image credit: Laura Frederico – newconcept.rs

TIMINGS: chose from 21 key moments for 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…

COMMITMENT CEREMONY PROGRAM OF EVENTS

  1. HOUSEKEEPING ANNOUNCEMENTS (optional)
  2. PROCESSIONAL (with or without music)
  3. GIVING AWAY
  4. WELCOMING
  5. COUPLES STORY
  6. READINGS – GUEST SPEAKERS (optional)
  7. MUSICAL INTERLUDE
  8. COUPLES – ANECDOTES (optional)
  9. AFFIRMATION OF LIFE PARTNERSHIP
  10. YES, “I DO”
  11. COMMITTED COUPLES PROMISE
  12. RING CEREMONY
  13. MUSICAL INTERLUDE
  14. COUPLES CONFIRMATION OF LOVE
  15. COMMITMENT CEREMONY – FIRST KISS
  16. THE SIGNING OF THE SYMBOLIC PARTNERSHIP (optional)
  17. CONGRATULATIONS
  18. LIFE PARTNERSHIP WORDS OF WISDOM
  19. CONCLUSION
  20. RECESSIONAL
  21. CLOSING SONG

COMMITMENT CEREMONY ORDER OF SERVICE

One to Six key moments

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

How prevalent are commitment ceremonies?

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.

WELCOMING

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.

commitment ceremony various bottles in a silver champagne bucket

“Committed couples opt for non-religious ceremonies despite fact they’re not legally recognised and there is no awkwardness”. Source: www.independent.co.uk

COUPLES 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. This is the time when the celebrant speaks about your commitment, love and faith in one another. 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.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY ORDER OF SERVICE

Seven to Twelve key moments

commitment ceremony table decorated with white linen cloth and chairs

What’s the difference between commitment ceremonies and marriage ceremonies? – The commitment celebration follows directly after the legal marriage ceremony at the municipality – registrars office. image credit: dehazelhof.nl

YES, “I DO”

Secular ceremonies of love wouldn’t be complete without you both saying “yes, I do”. It gives a deeper meaning to your commitment celebration. 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.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY ORDER OF SERVICE

Thirteen to Eighteen key moments

 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: humanism.org.uk image credit: newconcept.rs

COUPLES 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.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY – FIRST KISS

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 (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.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY -CONGRATULATIONS

Once 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.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY ORDER OF SERVICE

Nineteen to Twenty One key moments

 couple standing in a field wearing white outfits

Commitment ceremonies best suits long-term couples with an awesome lifestyle, cool image and unique personality. The ceremony mirrors their ethical beliefs and world view on love, loyalty and trust. image credit: newconcept.rs

COMMITMENT CEREMONY – CONCLUSION

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 your love is the greatest gift of all. And your celebrant represents you and concludes the celebration of love. This ensures your life-partnership starts off on the right foot.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY – RECESSIONAL

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”.

COMMITMENT CEREMONY – CLOSING SONG

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. 

 

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About Clover Jean: I'm a Londoner based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Being a ceremonial wedding - symbolic marriage officiant with a gospel & soul choir is rewarding work. So, my guilty pleasures are 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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