For me, marriage is the ultimate union of opposites, the Sacred Union of the masculine and feminine, the union of the physical with Spirit. Marriage is the union of two people who have grown so much in Love that they choose to formally & publicly share their commitment with their family & friends by choosing to take their relationship to the next level. However, while a marriage ceremony that provides a legal piece of paper can be a sacred ritual, it is no more sacred or special than two people committing to one another, with or without a ceremony.
Not everyone wants a formal, legally binding marriage ceremony, and given the history of marriage where the man became the legal owner & master of the woman, she is property, which over time created the Marriage Archetype pattern, where by the evening of their wedding day, the woman was already feeling the need to ask permission before she did anything & both felt trapped, this pattern is not something any couple want to create consciously. I believe that creating a conscious Equal Partnership Archetype is far more harmonious, whether a couple choose to get married legally or simply have a private or public sacred commitment ritual.
Perhaps a couple want a spiritual ritual that is recognized by their Higher Power with their loved ones present as their witnesses. And that is enough! For these reasons I provide an alternative: A Commitment Ritual.
A commitment ritual or ceremony can be as magical, simple or elaborate as a marriage ceremony, but without legal paperwork it also becomes a less expensive option.