One of the key components of the day, and what truly makes your day special, are the vows that you share. It’s the one time during the ceremony where people really will be listening intently as you say those heartfelt words to your partner.
There are typically four standard questions I get asked around vows and I’m going to answer these for you:
What structure works best?
The form or structure that I believe works well and represents a good example is the following:
I, Name, take you, Name, to be my wife, my partner in life and my soul mate. I will treasure our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever. I will trust you and respect you. I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will love you faithfully and unconditionally through the best and the worst, the difficult and the easy. Whatever may come, I promise I will always be there for you.
The above is an example that follows the structure of :
• Legal – Legally you are required to say I take you to be my husband / wife
• Promises – what you will do in the marriage.
In addition to the above, you could add:
• Something personal about your bride / groom along the lines of – “Life wouldn’t be so fun and interesting if it wasn’t for you” .
• Humour into the promises – “I promise to always put the toilet seat down”.
The key is to make sure your vows are concise, hold meaning and are personal.
Do I have to memorise my vows?
No, it’s not a great idea. In my years of experience as a celebrant, there has only been one bride who successfully memorised her vows. If you are confident speaking, then I recommed you say your vows to each other holding one another’s hand; the other hand holds a cue card with the vows on, to refer to if you need to. The alternative would be to repeat your vows after the celebrant. However, I only recommend this to those who are not confident as it can sound repetitive, especially if the same vow is written by the bride as the groom.
Should I write my own vows?
The majority of couples I meet with want to write their own with guidance. There are a plethora of research avenues on bridal websites and blogs. Additionally, your celebrant will provide a few ideas or samples to get you started with writing your own. I always collaborate with my couples as to how they want to approach their vows.
Do we say the same vows or write them in secret?
This is your one opportunity to share your vows and promises with your partner in your own words. That said, it is important to chat to your partner about the key promises that you want to make to each other in marriage. You need to both be on the same page! You may decide to write the bulk of the vows together, with a few personal lines separately; or to completely write them on your own and send them to your celebrant separately to be shared with each other on the day for the first time.
Your vows are an important aspect of your day, as well as of your life together as husband and wife. Take the time to make them words to live by!