Do you want to make your vows completely and utterly amazing, but unsure how to get started? Swayed by the gazillion examples out there in Google-Land?
The most heart-felt and beautiful part of any wedding ceremony can be the moment the couple share their vows. However, this is one area couples seem to get most concerned about. What to say? How to say it? What happens if one is full of lengthy heartfelt sincerity and the other is a quick witty ditty?
Argh! Panic not though – read the handy tips below on how to write your vows and hopefully this will ease your vow-writing-pain to help you wow your partner and express what it is you really want to tell them.
Where to Start
You’ve got the blank piece of paper, you’ve got the pen…. and you’ve got total mind-blank. So, take a deep breath, pour yourself a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise depending on your preference), ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:
- What do you want to promise them you’ll always do throughout your relationship?
- Do you have some flaws that you will try to improve?
- Do they have some flaws you’ll promise to overlook?
- If in the future you have hard times, what do you promise to always do during this period?
- Where do you see yourselves in your future together?
- What support will you give your partner to help them reach their goals?
- Does your partner have children, or do you have children together (of the fur or non-fur variety)? If so what kind of parent/step-parent do you promise to be?
If you answer these questions, you have your vows!
How long should they be
Now, there’s no ‘correct’ answer for this, but generally speaking, three or so paragraphs is enough.
Forget Your Audience
Try to forget your audience. Write your vows for your partner and not for your guests. This may sound obvious, but I think it’s easy get hung up on ‘will people laugh’ or ‘will my friends and family think these romantic enough’. Imagine it’s just you and your partner, and you’re getting one chance to really explain to them exactly what you promise to do throughout your married life together.
It is also worth writing your vows as close to the ceremony date as possible. This might sound a bit ‘what the ….?!’ but writing your vows too far in advance can lead to over-editing and ending up with something which may sound insincere or over-written.
I also suggest couples share their vows with me prior to the ceremony. Getting a second opinion can really help and I can give you some suggestions or the assurance you need that you’ve written the right words.
If You’re Completely Freaking Out…
You don’t have to have personalised vows. If you find that the thought of sharing your feelings about your partner in front of your friends and family excruciating and it’s going to outweigh any enjoyment of your ceremony, then don’t feel pressured to do it.
If you want to omit this part of the ceremony, you may wish to consider other alternatives, which could be
- Share your personalised vows with your partner after the ceremony when it’s just the two of you
- Opt for something more standard and less personal. I have a few standard options which can be tweaked to make them feel right for you
- Write something yourself but ask your celebrant to read them out as a series of questions, eg: ‘Do you [name] promise to not put the empty milk bottle in the fridge. Do you vow to make them a cup of tea every morning, no matter what?’ etc. You can then just say ‘I do’ or ‘I will’ once they’ve been read out.
OMIT PERSONALISED ONES
If you would like something over and above the mandatory vows, but do not wish to do personalised vows, you may wish for something like one of the below to be included.
XXXX, let me ask you if in taking XXX to be your wife/husband/partner, you’ll cherish your friendship with them, love them today, tomorrow and for as long as the two of you live. You’ll trust and honour them, love them faithfully through the very best and the very worst of times, whatever may come and if, for any reasons, you should ever doubt, will you promise to remember your love for them and the reason why you came together with them on this day?
Let me ask you [Name], if you will agree for [Name] to be your partner for life. Before these witnesses do you vow to love them and care for them as long as you both shall live. Do you take [Name] with all their faults and strengths as you offer yourself to them with your faults and strengths. Will you help [Name] when they need help, and will you turn to [Name] when you need help. Do you choose [Name] as the person with whom you will spend my life.
‘I do/I will.’
XXXX, do you promise that whenever life challenges your relationship, you’ll work through things together? Do you promise to be open in your communication? Do you promise to give XXX support, and allow XXX to support you? Do you promise to cherish your love and never take it for granted?
Although the sharing of personalised vows can be one of the highlights of the ceremony, don’t let this part of your day overly stress you. A good celebrant will make this aspect of your ceremony a truly magic aspect of your day and will support you through the process.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss this or anything else weddingy further by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0478041227.