“I now pronounce you woman and husband”

A Facebook page – which is probably a totally fine and lovely Facebook page, I really don’t know it – has raised the thought of how some people in the past use these words: I now pronounce you woman and husband” and here’s the thing.

I’ve never said “I now pronounce you woman and husband”

I marry people every week, sometimes multiple times a week, if it’s 2021, about five couples a week after last year’s disaster of a year, and I have never said those words.

There’s this bullshit thing people get in their head about weddings about all these things you “have to do” and they think it’s either law, or it’s luck, or it’s tradition like there’s only one tradition and you’ll be haunted by your Great Great Grandma if you don’t follow the traditions.

It’s all bullshit.

What’s not bullshit?

In Australia to get legally married there’s some things you need to do before you get married – with your celebrant, not the BDM or Registry or any government office – but in that moment you get married literally this has to happen:

1) The marriage celebrant will identify themselves and say words to this effect throughout the ceremony: “I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

2) The first partner must say to the second partner: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [full name], take thee, [full name], to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse. (Or words to that effect).

3) The second partner must say to the first partner: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [full name], take thee, [full name], to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/spouse. (Or words to that effect).

What is bullshit?

If you’ve done that, you’re married. No “I do”, no “do you”, no “for better or for worse”, no pronouncing anyone anything, no kiss, no sex, no group photos or chair covers, no wedding dress or rings. None of it matters. It’s all lovely, but none of it matters anywhere near as much as your words. Not my words, but your words.

The best part about stripping it all back is that you are then left with one beautiful question, “How do people like us celebrate our marriage?”

Create your marriage celebration and call it a wedding. Don’t just adopt someone else’s wedding which is a hand-me-down from ten billion other people over the last thousands of years.

You marriage is worth so much more than that.

Sorry, Man who has it all, but there’s no wedding police, it’s worse, you actually get to have a choice instead of having someone else’s forced on you, and sometimes making up your mind can be the hardest thing to do.