Posted on June 9, 2014 | Author Carolyn Egan

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While it may be true that the ceremony is the radiant sun of your wedding day, around which every other wedding festivity orbits, it is also true that many brides (and grooms) put off until the last moment the design of that all-important center to their nuptials.

Why, you ask yourself, why did you tell your JP that you and your fiancée would write the ceremony? Is it too late to ask for help?It’s never too late, until it is. So call your JP now! (and read these tips to snap you out of your panicked brain freeze.)

1. Get Help from your JP.

If you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen while the weeks and days before your wedding slip by, do yourself a huge favor and ask for help from your Justice of the Peace.She may have templates of wedding ceremonies that you can use as a starting point. Or she can offer you direction in finding some. Having the basic structure of a wedding as an outline can inspire you to personalize the content.

2. Start with a basic outline.

What is the basic structure of a wedding ceremony? The samples your JP provide will guide you. While every wedding is different, a wedding ceremony commonly includes four sections: welcoming language; meditations on the couple, their relationship and the commitment they are about to undertake; the vow and ring exchange language; and the closing or pronouncing language.

3. Decide on a tone.

When you start to fill in the blanks, consider the type of wedding you’ve planned. >Is it ornate and fabulous or simple and elegant? Is it very formal (“Dearly beloved”) or relatively informal (“Welcome friends and family”)? These will cue you to the right tone and style of language for your wedding ceremony. Chances are, since you elected to write it, you want your ceremony to reflect the two of you. So allow your personalities to be your guide. If you want funny, include funny. If you want solemn, include solemn. If you want both – go for it!

4. Choose readings that you love.

While not required, a nice touch to any wedding ceremony is the addition of readings or blessings that a bride and groom select. But what may not occur to you is that you can use any source, not just the standard fare that you often hear at other weddings. Consider incorporating lyrics from your favorite love song, or a passage from a letter that your grandfather wrote to your grandmother 50 years ago. Or, even an excerpt from your own writings or letters to one another.

5. Focus on your vows.

The ring and vow exchange form the center of your wedding day so pay special attention to ensure that they are what you want them to be. Your JP will likely be able to show you traditional and contemporary versions of vow exchange language, and many examples are also available online. Remember that you can always revise traditional vows to suit you. You can change words or phrases to reflect your personal philosophy about your relationship and the promises you wish to highlight. Or, if you want to write them from scratch, you can make them extremely personal and leave out the traditional elements altogether.

Designing a wedding ceremony script yourself can be a rewarding way of infusing the two of you and your distinctive spirit into your wedding day. Remember though, there is help available! Since your Justice of the Peace will deliver your ceremony, why not invite her to help you edit and perfect it? By collaborating with a wedding expert like your JP, you can ease your pre-wedding jitters while at the same time create a wedding ceremony you both want and deserve.

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