The wedding ceremony reflects the humanistic values of Ethical Culture, and the joy and significance of the occasion. The focus is on the couple—their values, commitments, and styles—and on the ideals of Ethical Culture as they pertain to marriage. Ethical Culture wedding ceremonies express a warm and simple dignity, with values and personalism that can be appreciated by all.
A successful way of giving the ceremony this personal dimension is by inviting the couple to collaborate with the Leader in its creation. Elements couples may include in the ceremony are: a greeting to guests; brief talks by friends/relatives; an instrumental or vocal piece; a ceremony within the ceremony such as lighting a candle, drinking wine from a common goblet, etc.; composing and speaking personal vows; or recommending concepts to be included in the Leader’s presentation.
Ethical Culture wedding ceremonies are humanistic ceremonies and therefore do not include prayer or theistic references. Ethnic and cultural traditions expressing the backgrounds of the couple may be factored into the ceremony.
The American Ethical Union has always supported the legalization of marriage for couples of the same sex or gender. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision in June 2015, celebrants can officiate at weddings for same-sex couples throughout the USA.