@audrey_lane: We did a 100% secular ceremony centered around planting a tree (we got married in the woods, and both love nature!).. This was the gist of our ceremony script (officiant took it and ran with it, and added his own lovely touches throughout, but here’s the basic thing I gave him!):
(Welcome the guests, thank them for coming, etc. etc)
Bride and Groom will now take part in a Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other/s family today.
Bride and Groom, today you stand before us ready to share the rest of your lives together as a married couple. But long before today your parents provided you with a foundation of love and caring which has brought you to this point. We will start by adding soil from Bride’s childhood home, (town name), and soil from Groom’s childhood home, (town name). This soil symbolizes their individual families; it has been the years of their families’ love and support that have helped shaped who Bride and Groom are today: a man and a woman who are ready to be committed, in a loving marriage of their own… (add dirt)
Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love enriches our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.
At this time, ____, a dear friend to both Bride and Groom, would like to offer a reading.
[Guest reader steps up!]
From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis DeBernieres
Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathless, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and that is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
[Guest reader sits, Officiant continues…]
Bride and Groom, would you please plant the sapling. [Sapling planted!]
Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow tall and strong. Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment.
Bride and Groom, would you please water the sapling. [Sapling watered!]
Remember to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love. This is needed on a daily basis so you each can grow and reach your fullest potential – just like this tree.
From here, our officiant spoke of the trees in the woods in which the ceremony was taking place, as well as some of the history of the area. I don’t have written down what he said, but it was lovely, and all about the beauty of nature and the reason we chose that location to get married, etc.
If you’re not getting married outdoors, you could still plant something! A sapling from a small pot into a larger pot, or even seeds (flowers, fruits, veggies..) to begin seedlings to plant later. 🙂
We got so many positive comments over how unique and beautiful our ceremony was. Even my very religious family member who was initially very upset that I was not getting married in a church told me she enjoyed the ceremony (and she’s the type who would have been completely honest if she hated it! Haha).
Best of luck to you, I think it will be lovely!!