Let's talk about your wedding vows! So, assuming you're having a legal wedding ceremony, I want to let you know what your options are when it comes to the vows. Whoever is solemnising your wedding will ask you both to make a verbal declaration that there are no impediments to your marriage. You can either repeat the words after the solemniser, or read them aloud yourselves ( I always give couples a copy ahead of time so they can have a run through). Then the solemniser will ask each of you in turn if you take your partner as your legal wife/husband - and that is it- you are married! Most couples like to add a little extra into the vows, so let's look at a few options; typically couples will include words about taking each other in good times and in tough times: for example:
I take you as my spouse and I promise to love you,
In good times and in tough times , in sickness and health,
Whether we are rich or poor
Til death do us part.
With any of the options here, you can either speak them to each other, or the solemniser can read them and you can answer "I DO". Sometimes couples feel strongly about making the vow to each other, for other couples, it can feel a bit stressful and they prefer simply responding "I DO".
Once we have covered the basics; that you agree to take each other as your legal spouse, you can, of course get a little more creative! Here are a few more ideas:
Today I give myself to you in marriage.
I promise to encourage and support you in all you do.
To laugh with you, and to share your joys and sorrows.
I promise to comfort you, and to love you, through the good times and the tough times. I will be there for you; as your spouse, and as your best friend,
for as long as we both shall live.
All that I am and all that I have I offer to you now
From this day forward, I will love and comfort you,
hold you close, and prize you above all others
For all the days of our lives
It’s because of you that I wake up smiling every morning
I promise to keep you smiling too
It’s because of you that I am happy in my life,
And I promise to do what I can to keep you happy too
It’s because of you that I know what it feels like to be cared for
I promise to care for you forever
It’s because of you that I have learned how to truly love someone
I promise to forever love you
Just reading through these I think you will quickly get a sense of the vows that suit you as a couple, and what works with the kind of wedding you are having; formal, casual, lighthearted, romantic. Let your vows reflect your relationship.
Another option to think about ( and again it won't be for all!) is writing your own personal vows. In this case, after the legal vow is made, I will invite the couple to make their personal vow to each other. Just from my own experience, I'm going to offer a little advice on this.....
1) Don't wing it! Have a look at some sample vows and feel free to adapt them to your relationship. It's fun to keep them a secret from your intended until the wedding, but please do share them with the solemniser. They can advise on tone and length and ensure that the 2 sets of personal vows complement each other. You don't want a situation where one goes for quite jokey vows and the other goes super romantic....
2) Allow that you may feel very emotional or even a bit stressed - know what you are going to say and stick to that. ( I tend to keep a copy of the vow in plain sight, so you can stop, breathe, have a look and continue).
3) I think it's ok to add something quirky or funny, but if you want to, then I suggest putting it in the middle of the vow. So you might start with : "You are my best friend/love of my life. I promise to to be there for you no matter what. Then a good ending might be: " This is my vow to you". I have had couples include vows in the middle such as promising to make breakfast on weekends, getting rid of spiders, sharing the choccy biscuits etc. Like I said, put this in the middle and perhaps just pick one thing that will make your partner smile.
And that's it! Your ceremony should reflect who you are as a couple, and so should the vows. Be true to yourselves, be creative and make a vow that you can keep for a lifetime... :-)