Oct 31 2011

Wedding Transcript

The Magic Sandwich Show did their very best to live-stream the show. (Thanks Aron, Judy and DPR Jones!)

Unfortunately, there were various audio problems (my fault, not Aron’s) and while there’s video posted and some people were able to watch it live, it’s virtually impossible to make out what was said – so we’re posting the transcript here. Aron wrote the opening paragraph and the rest was culled from a secular ceremony transcript we found online. We edited some of the language, added a few snippets that we liked from other secular weddings (thanks Greta!) … and so I take no credit for any of this. Apart from piecing it together and changing a word or two to suit our interests, this is all someone else’s work. We found what we liked and we ran with it.

I’m posting it “as is”…exactly as it appeared on the sheet we handed to Aron.

Wedding Ceremony Transcript


Beth Presswood and Matt Dillahunty


Officiant (Aron)

“Honored guests, we gather to participate in a ritual tradition now practiced in nearly every culture or creed throughout humanity, -albeit with some variation, the formal declaration and celebration of marriage.  While some weddings may be polygamous, arranged, and/or entirely political, the most common observance here in the west is that of a partnership of a pair of people; a union not of statute, class, obligation, or obeisance, but a mutual bond of love, wherein both parties hope to honor, cherish, and embrace the other indefinitely as they sail into the unforeseeable future.

Beth and Matt thank you for your presence here today and now ask for your encouragement, and support, for their decision to be married. They are grateful that each of you could share this day with them, and they are especially honored that friends and family have travelled great distances to be here.

Beth and Matt, remember that no ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that, through your consent and cooperation. What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you make to stand together as partners.

And now we come to it…”

(Declaration of Intent)

Aron: Will you, Matthew Wade Dillahunty, take this woman to be your wedded wife, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in conflict and in tranquility, in poverty and in prosperity, placing her above all others, from this day forward?

Matt: I will

Aron: Will you, Rachel Elizabeth Presswood, take this man to be your wedded husband, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in conflict and in tranquility, in poverty and in prosperity, placing him above all others, from this day forward?

Beth: I will

(Support of Community)

Aron: Two people in love do not live in isolation. Their love is a source of strength with which they may nourish not only each other but also the world around them. And in turn, we, their community of friends and family, have a responsibility to this couple. By our steadfast care, respect, and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are creating today.

Will everyone please rise.

Will you who are present here today, surround Matt and Beth in love, offering them the joys of your friendship, and supporting them in their marriage?

All: We will

Aron: You may be seated.

(Wedding Vows)

Aron: Before I ask you to recite your vows, I’d ask you to remember that love – which is rooted in respect, trust, and acceptance – will be the foundation of your deepening relationship. Learn to appreciate your differences and strive to make the important things matter and to let go of the rest. Keep the vows you take here today, not because of any external authority, but out of a desire to love and be loved by another – and your life together will be joyful.

Please repeat after me.

(Aron – with Matt repeating)

I Matt, take you, Beth to be my wife and my constant friend.

I will work to create a bond of honesty, respect, and trust that grows along with us.

I vow to honor and respect you for all that you are and will become, taking pride in who we are, both separately and together.

I promise to challenge you, and to accept challenges from you.

I will join with you and our community to create a better world, where love and friendship will be recognized and celebrated in all their many forms.

Above all, I will give you my love.

I pledge this to you from the bottom of my heart, from this day forward.

(Aron – with Beth repeating)

I Beth, take you, Matt to be my husband and my constant friend.

I will work to create a bond of honesty, respect, and trust that grows along with us.

I vow to honor and respect you for all that you are and will become, taking pride in who we are, both separately and together.

I promise to challenge you, and to accept challenges from you.

I will join with you and our community to create a better world, where love and friendship will be recognized and celebrated in all their many forms.

Above all, I will give you my love.

I pledge this to you from the bottom of my heart, from this day forward.

(Unity Candle)

Aron: As a symbol of their union, Beth and Matt will now join together in the lighting of a unity candle.

(Wait for us to walk over and begin lighting)

Aron: Their personal candles will remain lit, representing that they retain their individual identities, while the larger, center candle represents their new identity as a family.


Aron: Please repeat after me: I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you. (Twice)

Aron: By the power of your love and commitment, and the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss each other!

(Recessional: All you need is love.)

Beth and Matt exit

Bridal party exits

Aron: Please join us for a reception in Tejas Hall, behind you. Thank you!




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  1. 1

    Seems to have been a beautiful ceremony. Congratulations to you both! I wish you a life full of love, awe and cake!

  2. 2
    Matthew Smith

    Awesome! Congratulations to you both.

  3. 3

    Congratulations! Also I love using “All you need is love.” for a recessional!

  4. 4

    Congratulations to both of you! I wish you happiness and success in all that you do!

  5. 5

    A long and happy life to you both, congratulations!

  6. 6

    Beautiful! All the best to you both!

  7. 7
    Stuart Taylor

    Congratulations, you guys! Seems awesome!

    As a point of interest, here in the UK, I couldn’t have had the ceremony you guys did. If you have a non-religious ceremony you cannot have any religious symbols or songs with religious words in. So we can’t have candles or crosses or Robbie Williams song, “Angels” for example.

    1. 7.1
      Matt Dillahunty

      First of all, I don’t believe you. What do you mean “you cannot have…”? Is there a law?
      Second – candles aren’t religious.
      Third – we didn’t have crosses or any religious songs.

      1. Old One-Eye

        Speaking as a Brit, two good friends of mine got married, in a civil ceremony, last year. And when the British law says “civil ceremony” it means it. Their original choice of music was rejected because it included the line “You are my angel” – and that’s a non-”religious” love-song, the “you” in the song refers to the woman (which is what the groom intended)- not a harp-playing cherub.

        Snarky little subversives that they are, they replaced it with a Christian rock track that specifically didn’t *mention* deities, halo-wearing winged things or faith. There were quite a few grins from the guests who were in on that joke ;)

        And now for an actual link to explain this.

        From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_ceremony)
        “In the UK, a civil registrar ceremony cannot include hymns, religious readings or prayers,”

        Speaking as a reader – the transcript is an awesome read. Congratulations and best wishes to both of you.

        1. Matt Dillahunty

          What a completely stupid and strange law. (My apologies to the original poster…I just couldn’t believe anything this stupid would be going on in Britain.)

          I’m assuming that it’s the venue or registrar that is vetoing music choices, primarily to cover their ass and keep their license?
          Still, though…candles aren’t religious and there were no crosses, hymns or religious anythings during the ceremony.

          I’m curious if that encourages people to opt for religious ceremonies and if they could select religions other than COE. I’m definitely glad we got married in Texas. :)

          1. Stuart Taylor

            I do know non religious people that have had church weddings because a)there is an element of tradition to it, b)they love churches and c)they get the benefits of candles and songs with words like ‘heaven’ in.

            It is a bit of a nightmare though as churches like you to be present weekly at their services. I suspect non-CofE religions are even stricter.

      2. Stuart Taylor

        Hi Matt!

        Yes there is a law. It’s a stupid law and I don’t understand the point of it, but it is law.

        I know candles aren’t religious but we were told they could not be included in our service and other people we know were told the same thing by their registrars. I shall have to double check the lawbook.

        I know you didn’t have such songs, I was just extending the list of legal exclusions for your interest! We had a pianist friend play Nintendo music for us :)

        Again – big congrats!

        1. Matt Dillahunty

          Noted and thanks for the education…that’s something surprising and I tend to like learning things that are unusual. :)

          1. Stuart Taylor

            OK it was tricky to get to the bottom of this, but I was wrong about candles. The main elements to avoid are simply any religious wording in ceremony/vows and songs. Civil Ceremonies can have a unity candle. Details of different types of civil services are here. http://www.weddingchaos.co.uk/wedding-basics/non-religious-wedding-ceremony.asp

        2. ButchKitties

          I’m getting hitched next year, and I may have to mine this for ideas. Don’t worry, I won’t plagiarize the awesome opening of Aron’s… much as I want to.

        3. ButchKitties

          Would British law allow for a unity volcano?

        4. Athywren

          I’m just wondering something for clarity. Is this a law relating only to registry office weddings, or does it apply to any secular wedding ceremony?

          1. Stuart Taylor

            Any secular wedding ceremony. Even if you hire out a church to do it in.

  8. 8
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao


    Somehow the secular words work better, cause you mention one thing that’s usually sorely missing from religious weddings: mutual respect!

  9. 9
    helen sotiriadis

    what beautiful, outstanding vows.
    congratulations to matt and beth.

  10. 10

    *sniff* It’s just so beautiful!

  11. 11
    Al Stefanelli

    There are so many people who are searching for someone to officiate a secular wedding without having to resort to the spartan confines of the offices of the local Justice of the Peace. Not every state is replete with wedding chapels, or authorizes Notaries to perform this function.

    This weekend, I am officiating at a secular wedding, and even though the majority of the guests, including the families of the bride and groom, are religious, the couple being married are ardent atheists and deserve to have their wedding officiated as they so choose.

    1. 11.1
      Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there no requirement for people to be married by priests / judges / whatever? Why can’t your best friend be the officiator at a wedding?

      I mean sure, the marriage certificate has to be signed by a clerk, but the ceremony itself shouldn’t matter who’s doing it.

  12. 12

    Coincidentally, I just listened to an old AE episode on my zune yesterday where some guy was rambling about his opinions on his friend getting married. The call was not particularly interesting other than Matt’s great pronouncement that he “probably won’t get married. because I don’t think it’s right to do it until everyone can do so”. I may be paraphrasing, but I don’t think it’s too off. Oh how quickly finding someone can change our mind on these things! That’s probably a good thing, though. Don’t honeymoon for too long you guys.

    1. 12.1
      Matt Dillahunty

      We had actually discussed this. It’s something that Brad Pitt said and I liked it and intended to go that route. So what changed? Well, two things:

      1. A number of states changed their laws…and I’m convinced that marriage rights will be available in all states relatively soon. But I’ve been fortunate to see some of my gay friends marry and that’s a start.
      2. Beth wanted a wedding and I found that I did too.

      We also wanted to take this opportunity to educate some of our relatives (and others) about atheists – to eliminate some of the mystery and confusion. We’re people, just like anyone else. Our ceremony was fairly traditional. I’ve been to some very non-traditional weddings (there’s one coming up this weekend) and I tend to enjoy those, too. Have the wedding YOU want to have. We wanted to dress up, and show folks who we were…and then have an excuse to drink, dance, party and laugh. :)

  13. 13
    Lauren Ipsum

    How sweet! Congratulations. Lovely ceremony, lovely vows.

  14. 14

    Beautiful! Congratulations Matt and Beth! Best wishes…

  15. 15

    I’m close to tears (of the happy variety) even on the other side of the world… I might have to steal your vows if/when I get mattied.
    Congratulations, I hope you’re very happy together for a very long time.

  16. 16

    Congratulations Matta and Beth!

    Thats so D’awww sweet. Here’s wishing you the best of lives together.

  17. 17
    Jerry Houston, TX

    Congrats Matt! You give hope to chubby bald white guys everywhere(like me) with your marriage to Beth!

    1. 17.1
      Matt Dillahunty

      Yup, all you have to do is find a TV show, take over as host, stream it to the world and wait for the groupies to come-a-knockin’ … it was easy! ;)

  18. 18

    My husband and I used the same wording for support of the community in our wedding.

  1. 19
    Atheist Weddings | Camels With Hammers

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