Tips for writing your wedding vows

Tips + Advice // Wedding Vows // by Kate Carey

When it comes down to it, vows are the most important part of a wedding. They are the little words that marry and give meaning to everything else that happens that day. The solemn promises you make to each other during the ceremony that lay the foundation for your future together. Whether you have chosen a church or civil wedding ceremony, you’ll find there are certain statutory things that must be said in order for a marriage to be legal, but there is increasingly more opportunity for brides and grooms to put their own personal stamp on their wedding vows by writing sections themselves.

Vows are one of the few parts of the ceremony where you get to tailor the wording to your own style and individual flair. If writing your own vows is something you really want to do, but seems a daunting task, it’s not quite as hard as it seems.

Feature image: From the wedding of Sian and Andy [photo: Stories by Ash]

We have prepared five easy steps for you to follow to write your own wedding vows.

1. Talk with your celebrant about writing your own vows and check with them about what they accept and what you legally need to include. The celebrant will need to review your vows and can help you with examples from other weddings.

2. Decide whether you want to write your vows separately, work together, or whether you want to write on statement and repeat the same vows. If you work separately, will you show them to each other before the ceremony?

3. Finding the perfect words for your vows can seem daunting. Forgetting about the vows, for now, think of words that describe you and your partner and how you feel. This will give you a collection of meaningful words you can incorporate into your vows.
+ How did you meet each other?
+ How does your partner make you laugh?
+ What are the three greatest qualities do you admire most in your partner?
+ Where do you see yourselves in the future?
+ What does marriage mean to you?
+ Why do you want to be married?
+ When did you realize you were in love and wanted to marry? How did you feel?
+ Choose three words to describe your partner.
+ Choose three words to describe how they make you feel.

4. Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; this had all been done before. Love has been the topic of many a verse over the centuries. Take a look at a variety of traditional vows. The time-honoured sacrosanct sentiments can form the foundation of your vows and you can add your personal style and flair to make them your own. Take some time to read through other’s wedding vows, passages of prose and poetry about love, take note of phrases that especially speak to you.

5. Once you have written your vows, discuss them with your celebrant. They may have helpful suggestions or be able to flag any potential problems. Writing your own wedding vows is a wonderful opportunity to add your personal style and sentiment to the ceremony. The most successful way to write personalised vows is to think about the two of you and the things you would like to promise each other. Finally, your wedding vows should be sincere, write your vows from the heart, then say them and mean them from the heart and you can’t go wrong.

The Sunshine Coast wedding of Zoe and LIam

From the wedding of Zoe and Liam [photo: Soda Photography]

Ways to say your vows

Try to memorise your vows so you can articulate them with heartfelt sincerity and confidence. Your celebrant will have a copy and can offer you a little subtle assistance if nerves get in the way on the day. If you prefer, the celebrant can say your vows and have you repeat the words after them, while you look into your partner’s eyes. Alternatively, you can read your vows. Remember to read slowly and pause to make frequent eye contact with your partner.

Saying your vows

• Practise your vows in the mirror or with your partner or a friend.
• Make a copy of your vows to have with you during the ceremony or repeat them after the celebrant. Nerves play havoc with the memory and the last thing you want to do is to be worried about whether or not you will remember your words.
• Look into each other’s eyes when you say your vows. Remember, this is your solemn promise.
• Speak slowly and clearly, your family and friends need to hear what you’re saying.

From the wedding of Rebecca & Dean [photo by Edwina Robertson Photography]

Famous love quotes

Sonnet 18 William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate… When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart. – Pope John XXIII
God is a great matchmaker. – Jewish Proverb

Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. – Ephesians 4:26

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. – Barnett Brickner

What is yours is mine, and all mine is yours. – Titus Maccius PlautusUnion gives strength. – Aesop

…In marriage, everyday you love, and everyday you forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament, love and forgiveness – Bill Moyers

The first duty of love is to listen – Paul Tillich

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage. – Martin Luther King

To make One, there must be Two… – W.H. Auden

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain. Doubt thou the stars are fire; doubt that the sun doth move; doubt truth to be a liar; but never doubt I love you. I love thee, I love but thee with a love that shall not die. Till the sun grows cold and the stars grow old. – William Shakespeare

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. – George Sand

If love were what the rose is, and I were like the leaf, our lives would grow together in sad or singing weather. – Algernon Charles Swinburne

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. – Robert Browning

You are always new, the last of your kisses was ever the sweetest. – John Keats