When it comes to your wedding ceremony, there are two pieces of text that are legally required (or the marriage can’t be registered).
One of these is the legal wording of the vows that you must say to each other. These read simply:
“I call upon the persons here present,
To witness that I, (full legal name )
Take you ( full legal name )
To be my lawfully wedded husband / wife.”
Can you see what’s missing here?
No mention of Love, or joy, or passion, of growing old together, or any of the things that make you laugh in each other’s company each and every day, no mention of the romance, the attraction, the light in your eyes, of personal or human qualities. No mention of FUN !!!
Just the dry, impersonal, legal requirement.
And while I have done weddings where the couple have only wanted these as their vows, when it came to the time, this important piece was over in a flash and felt very impersonal for them.
So, I encourage couples to include personal vows – to read or to speak aloud.
There are a host of ideas if you simply google ‘Wedding Vows’. This is a wonderful start point
And I have a lot of examples to share with my couples for inspiration.
Perhaps you’ll hit the jackpot and find something that absolutely speaks for you on google, but more often than not however, you will need to contemplate what love and marriage mean for you… what is it that you are VOWING to your beloved on this day?
So – what is a VOW? And what does it mean to make a VOW?
A vow is a solemn promise, pledge or personal commitment, committing oneself to an act of service, of giving, of being. A vow is said in dedication to each other, and in devotion to each other.
I particularly love this last piece – in devotion to each other. This is what we see when a couple face one another and, in front of so many family and friends, speak of their personal devotion …… promising to their life partner, what they are open to giving, doing, being in this beautiful relationship.
So, where to begin when writing your vows?
One way is to write a love letter to each other.
Sit and contemplate what it is you love about them, what it is you look forward to sharing over the decades of your lives together.
How you felt when you first laid eyes on, or knew you were in love with, this one and only, wonderful person
And from this you can see and then glean those pieces that stand out for you, that you can use: things you would like to promise, to commit to, how and why you feel you wish to devote your love and your life to him or her.
Remember too that it doesn’t need to be too long, you can save lots of your ideas from your love letter for your speech at the reception.
Or keep the love letters to be opened on your first wedding anniversary.
The vows are simple and beautiful little acts or gifts of love and a beautiful opportunity to speak and share from your heart.
This isn’t to say they can’t have a little humour in there somewhere, to lighten the mood – but remember this is a solemn promise you are making.
the hilarious bits are best shared later, in a speech.
To share before your wedding day or not ???
Some couples write their vows together and use the same vows to each other during the ceremony.
Some couples write their own and run them past each other prior to the day.
Some couples keep the vows a secret and give a copy to me to look at and print out and only hear each other’s vows at the ceremony.
Remember too that you will be saying these vows, making these promises, to your beloved, in front of all your family and friends – another reason to keep them real, to make them authentic and speak from your heart ….. will be a lot easier for you this way.
This thing called love – it really is a divine opportunity to lift ourselves to be more than we could ever have been, had we not met and fallen in love with this one special and amazing soul. How perfect that you get to write and promise your devotion to each other – how incredible that you get to set the template for your life together by dedicating yourself in your own unique way.