Written by Gil Fronsdal and adapted by Evan Kavanagh
- Can include music, flower bearers and flower scattering
- Are there important friends or family members who enter before or with the couple?
- The altar can represent the couple's spiritual values (Buddha, Dharma, Nature, God, Creation, etc.)
- Officiant welcomes everyone and talks about why everyone is gathered. This might be the time for a talk on marriage/commitment and the role of the community in supporting their partnership
Short meditation or period of silence
- Perhaps having people reflect on their wishes and feelings for the couple being joined. Or perhaps doing loving-kindness/metta meditation
Refuges and Precepts
- These are usually done in a Buddhist ceremony- repeated after the officiant. Some couples will re-write the refuges and precepts in their own language. When something close to the traditional refuges and precepts are used, this is the heart of what makes the ceremony Buddhist
- In a wider sense, this part of the ceremony can be a statement of how the couple intends to live their lives spiritually- by what values
Poetry and song
- Offered by one or both people being married, and/or by friends and family
- This is one way to involve loved ones in the ceremony
Exchange of vows and rings
- Alternatives or additions to exchanging rings could be exchanging malas (Buddhist prayer beads) or Tibetan blessing scarves.
- There are many different opportunities here to make commitments or undertake the Buddhist Precepts together
- Could include statement of undertaking to use relationship as practice to reveal the underlying spiritual qualities of life together
Pronouncement of union
- Officiant pronounces partnership
- Blessings or well wishes from family and friends
- Another opportunity to include community and family
- Might include asking people who have something in their relationship you admire to offer that quality to you as a blessing
Blessing from officiant
- This may include short metta meditation, sprinkling with holy water, blessing cord, etc.
- Other possible elements: chanting, ringing of bells, noisemakers, prayer flags for everyone, etc.
- Provides a concrete ending to the ceremony – especially important if reception is being held in same location
- It is often a good idea to have the couple exit before the guests and, if it is going to be a legal wedding, to immediately go to a private location with witnesses to sign the marriage license (which the couple provides). It could be hard to gather people together and the signing is more anti-climatic later.