Writing your marriage vows

Jul 7, 2014

Organising a wedding together with a celebrant means your ‘script’ can be exactly what you want. Marriage vows are normally an integral part of the ceremony. But what do you say?

You don’t have to be original (you can use somebody else’s vows or enlist the help of your civil celebrant), but heartfelt vows make such a difference to the sincerity and beauty of the occasion.

So if you can write your own marriage vows, they may well turn out to be personal, moving and special for everyone.

But DON’T stuff up!

First things first

  1. Make sure you and your partner BOTH want to do this.
  2. Allow loads of time to write – and rewrite – the vows.
  3. Decide on a few general things to say (worry about the detail later) – just have clear in your head what it is important.
  4. Will your vows be serious, humorous, deep, spiritual, religious, or a combination?
  1. Once you’ve got a few sentences down (and sixty seconds per person is quite long enough!), see about reworking them so they look and sound good to you.

What content should you put in?

  • You should probably express deep emotional love for your partner
  • Was your first meeting ‘love at first sight’? If so, talk about it.
  • When did you first realise you were in love?
  • How has your life changed since you met your partner/fell in love?
  • Talk about your plans and aspirations for your future life together – or growing old together
  • Promise to stay together in the future, come what may

If you prefer, quote from an appropriate song, film or poem. Metaphor or simile may get your message across very well, but less embarrassingly!

Improving the draft

  1. Leave your draft a day or two, then review it. A brutal friend may help!
  2. Practise reading the vows (alone!) in front of a mirror – or with your partner.

You don’t need to learn your vows off by heart, either – you can read them off a card, or even repeat them after the celebrant, if you prefer.

To come up with a meaningful, original and affecting set of vows is not as difficult as you may think. The results will certainly be more than worth the effort!

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.