Legal Barebones Ceremony

Here is a sample 14 minute Barebones Legal Ceremony, suitable for an elopement, a legal wedding, or a quick wedding when guests are standing, skydiving, in the rain, on a streetcar, etc. It includes the required legal elements, but no rings, or even a kiss, personal vows, readings, or other elements, which may be added.  See more variations on

We have gathered here today in the presence of this company, to witness and celebrate the legal wedding of NAME1 and NAME2

I am Mary Beaty, a Humanist Marriage officiant, certified by the Ontario Humanist Society and licensed by the Province of Ontario to solemnize marriages.  It is an honour to be officiating at the wedding of NAME1 and NAME2 today.

Humanism is an ethical philosophy of life, declaring that all people who share this earth are equal in every way, and we each have the ability and responsibility to lead lives of compassion and care, with respect for each other and for the natural world we all share.

It is a humanist principle that marriage is also an equal partnership, and a promise of commitment -- freely offered, and gladly received, between two people who love each other sincerely, who honour each other as individuals, and who wish to unite their lives and share the future together. 

This marriage ceremony is thus a public celebration of the private commitment that NAME1 and NAME2 have already made to each other, to support and care for each other.  Into this legal estate they come now to be legally joined.

[Addressing each witness directly]
Are you NAMEa/NAMEb willing to serve as legal witnesses for the marriage of NAME1 /NAME2 ?  If so, please say “I am”

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16), it is an important and universal principle, that each person, and the couple themselves, shall decide when and where they will be married and to whom. We all look forward to a world in which everyone can make this choice, the same way NAME1 and NAME2 have done.

Therefore, I will now ask this couple if they are prepared to marry each other on this day.

NAME1/NAME2 are you prepared to enter into this marriage with NAME2/NAME 1, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?  (I am)

Repeat after me:
I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I, NAME1/NAME2  may not be joined in matrimony to NAME2/ NAME1

The statement you will now make is a declaration of your intention to enter into the legal bonds of marriage, with its rights, privileges and also obligations.
Please face each other, hold hands, and each repeat after me:

I call upon these persons here present to witness, that I, [NAME1, NAME2] do take you, [NAME2, NAME1], to be my lawful wedded partner/spouse/wife/husband

You may add optional additions, such as:

For all the risings and settings of the sun,
for all the days of our lives to come.
I pledge to you my faithful love and support,
as long as time is ours.  


And to be no other than yourself.
Loving what I know of you,
And trusting what I not yet know
With faith in your love for me
Through all our years
And in all that life may bring us

L'ENVOIE (optional)
We know not what the future may bring into the life of this couple, but together may they be equal to the needs of their tomorrows. Grant them patience in time of strain, strength in time of weakness, courage in time of doubt, and above all, a growing love to sustain them. 

Forasmuch as NAME1 and NAME2 have consented together to join their lives in the bonds of matrimony, and have witnessed the same before this company of witnesses, and have pledged their love and loyalty to each other, and, I, Mary Beaty, by virtue of the powers invested in me by the Marriage Act of Ontario, do hereby pronounce you to be married.

In accordance with the Marriage Act of Ontario, we will now invite the couple and their witnesses to sign the marriage document… 

And having duly complied with the requirements of law, I have the great honour to present to you the married couple, NAME1 and NAME2