24th October 2013
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“I, [your name] , take you, [your partner’s name], to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.”
'I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, [your name], may not be joined in matrimony to [your partner’s name].'
'I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, [your name], do take [your partner’s name] to be my lawful wedded husband [wife].'
How much you want to influence your wedding ceremony is, to a certain extent, up to you. Of course, it is entirely acceptable to go along with the service outlined by your minister or the registrar.
However, if you want your ceremony to be individual, you could add some meaningful lines to your vows, or ask someone to do a reading for you, a special poem for example, that will make it more memorable for you and your guests!
Writing your own vows
If it is a civil ceremony you can get involved in practically the whole service! But remember, there can be no religious content and because it is a legal procedure you will have to work within the guidelines of the law. You should work closely with your minister or registrar who needs to approve your written vows at least a month before the wedding.
Decide whether you want one wedding vow that you both say or, have individual vows. If individual, try to keep them both the same length.
As your vows are a public declaration for others to witness, it is advisable not to make them too intimate.
This is your chance to include your children, family and friends.
Write down all the special times you’ve experienced together: how it felt when you realized you were in love, how your partner has supported you during difficult times, how you feel marriage will change your life together, how you see your futures in 30 years’ time, if you have children, how family life has been made special…
To inspire you, look in poetry books and books of quotations under “love” and “marriage” and watch your favourite love story movie, note your feelings and emotions.
Use a thesaurus to find love related words so not to repeat too often.
Condense your notes to about 120 well-chosen words and expressions.
Include your guests by asking for their blessing and support.
Practice reading it out loud in front of a trusted friend.
When you are happy with it, give a copy to your registrar or minister.
On the day, speak slowly and clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear.
Other Timeless Advice you might want to read:
‘Renewing your Vows’
‘Organising the Ceremony’