(Closed) Civil Ceremonies too short and unemotional

posted 6 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@ChocolateLime:  I had a civil ceremony, and I didn’t feel it was too short or unemotional at all, but the reason it was so great (in my opinion), is because my officiant was amazing.  We got married in Dallas and I found him online of all places, but he does weddings for a living, has done hundreds, and was SUPER PREPARED.

As soon we booked him, he sent me a huge 20 page PDF with a million ceremony options.  He literally had 4 different types of ceremonies he does, ranging from very traditional to very humerous to very romantic, with an almost unlimited amount of add-ons.

So our ceremony had:

-a poem for my dad, who’d passed away (about how we wish he could have been there that day–read by my officiant, provided by him as all

-his welcome and blessing

-his “speech” on what makes a marriage successful (approx. 10 minutes– it was amazing and genuinly touching)

-two readings, that each of our older sisters did (I picked those)

-unity candle ceremony

-song was optional here, we opted out


-ring exchange words

-pronouncement of man and wife.


It was about a 30-35 minute ceremony, maybe 45 min with the entrances and exits…..not short for an american ceremony, but not long and uninteresting either.

We got a lot of rave reviews from our guests about our officiant.  I can’t say enough good things about him.

Does your officiant not provide any guidelines??


Post # 4
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Our ceremony lasted 10 minutes, including an intro by my mother, 2 readings, and our own hand-written vows. If you don’t have either of that stuff, how is the ceremony lasting even 15-20 mins? Or are you counting the processional/recessional?

It isn’t about length, it’s about meaning. 10 minutes of my mom marrying us with our vows had people in tears.

Post # 5
595 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We had a civil cermony too and it was about 20 minutes.  We did not have anyone do any reading, but had the officiant do everything.  We did not memorize any vows either.  We repeated after the officiant.  There is no way that either of us would have been able to remember them otherwise.

Post # 6
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Oh, and we also had a ceremony that started at 7 pm.  We’d done most of our pictures before the ceremony, so we had a *very short* cocktail “half hour”–Cocktail hour was immediately following the ceremony for 25-30 minutes–and then people entered the reception hall to eat at around…8:15? 

I think it worked out fine.  In my husband’s culture, they tend to eat dinner late, so eating earlier really was not an option for us.  8:15 is kind of in the middle of both cultures for dinner.

Post # 8
9916 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I really hope our ceremony doesn’t last more than 15 minutes.  I don’t understand making people sit there and watch you for so long.

Post # 10
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Anything longer than 15 minutes and you’ll lose your audience. Quality over quanity! 

Post # 11
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

For me, I WANT it short and unemotional. We didn’t want a sappy emotional super personal ceremony with crying, they’re just not for us. I like to keep the mushy stuff private. Sounds like maybe that’s your fiancé’s opinion as well. Your guests will also appreciate a shorter ceremony. Look at it like this: the ceremony is the small legal part of the day and the reception is all about celebrating that with your family and friends!

Post # 12
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I disagree that all guests appreciate a short 15-minute ceremony.  I’ve been to short ceremonies that were also terrible (for various reasons), long ceremonies that were very nice, long ceremonies that were terrible, and short ceremonies that were good.

But I am the kind of person that likes to see/hear a good ceremony–not overly cheesy, in fact I cringe at most people who write their own vows and cry in front of everyone–but I’ve like some of the ceremonies that really focus on the couple starting a new life together. 

I have been to ceremonies before where I was disappointed at how short it was.  But I realize that’s personal taste.

Post # 13
5177 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

A civil ceremony can be emotional, and it does not need to be long to be emotional.  Nor does it being very long mean it will be emotional!

For ours, the officiant gave us a selection from which to choose our own vows, though there were a couple things she HAD to say as part of the legal process. She said them and we repeated them. We also wrote our own personal vows to each other (which we had written down separately) and that we shared for the first time during the ceremony. It was a very meaningful moment for us both. We did not have readings during the ceremony itself, however, we did have a period of time before the officiant came where guests were free to participate in ways they wished, with readings or songs, and so on and many did. They ranged from funny to touching, and so on. The actual ceremony was under 15 minutes, the time period before it was another 30-45 minutes or so. 

No one had to memorize anything!

Have you talked to him how and why the vows are the most important part for you? have you explained you find them important because they are the actual promises you are making to each other as you go into the marriage? 

But, I will say that if he is not a guy who is the type to be emotionally open and share his feelings, this is not likely going to change at or after the wedding. That is who he is or chooses to be. So, I am not sure what you can expect if that is how he is, you know? 

Post # 14
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

You’ll need to compromise.  You want everyone in tears, he doesn’t. It’s his day, too, so you shouldn’t automatically get what you want. Pick your battles.

Post # 15
3521 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

We had a civil ceremony at the courthouse and yes, it was pretty short, but it was also extremely emotional. Pretty much everybody was tearing up, even though we used the standard vows that the magistrate spoon-feeds you. Civil ceremonies are not automatically too short/meaningless. 

Post # 16
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@BookGirrl:  This! Our officiants sent us a very similar document that we really loved. We sat down and went through the readings and options and chose what we liked and created our own ceremony within the guidelines we were given. It’s only going to be about 15 minutes, which is exactly what we wanted.

Can you two not write your own vows or choose other vows and not memorize them? They definitely don’t have to be memorized.

The topic ‘Civil Ceremonies too short and unemotional’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors