In Australian weddings you often find that there’s no part of the ceremony where couples say ‘I do’. In fact, I’ve only had this happen in a handful of weddings, where the couple has specifically requested this.
This doesn’t mean I’m against them – on the contrary. If you want to agree to a statement, I’m more than happy to include this.
History of ‘I Do’s’
The history of ‘I Do’s’ as practiced in most English-speaking countries derive ultimately from the Sarum rite of mediaeval England, with a statement similar to below.
(Name), do you take (name) to be your wife/husband? Do you promise to be faithful to her/him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her/him and to honour her/him all the days of your life?
In Australia, with celebrant led weddings, the couple must state the legal wording which is ‘I call upon these persons here present to witness that I [name] take you [name] to be my lawful wedded [wife/husband/partner].’ And so, it appears, that this statement has replaced the need for the ‘I do’s’, with many couples choosing to also include personalised vows.
Does that means I can’t do ‘I do’s’?
Mate… you can do pretty much anything you want to do in your ceremony. If you want to include this, please feel free to include it. In fact, some couples love this part as you often see it in films or on television, and it makes them feel like they’re really married.
Are there some alternatives to the traditional words?
There sure are! Below are some suggestions, but you can write your own if none of these work for you.
Do you (name) take (name) to be your partner, your best friend, and your forever person. Do you take them to be your (husband/wife/forever partner), respecting them in the good times and the bad, and continue to show them love and support as you embark on your life together as a married couple.
Today, surrounded by your friends and family, do you, [name], choose [name] to be your forever partner. Will you promise to support them, push them, inspire them, and, above all, love them, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live.
Do you (name) agree that you will always be the biggest supporter you can possible be for (name)? Will you always work your hardest to make this marriage work, and offer them honesty, love, patience and understanding?