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With the ever-growing number of venues that a bridal couple can get married growing year after year, a civil wedding ceremony can be a little boring and over with all too quickly.

On average, a ceremony lasts approximately fifteen minutes, including the signing of the register. A service and the exchanging of vows can be over in minutes. Many couples are choosing to include something special in their wedding, after all, saying the words that countless others have said before you isn't very inventive and doesn't really relate the joy the both of you feel as you embark on a lifetime journey.

Harpists are being asked to play some soft music in between the ceremony and the signing of the register to make it last that little bit longer. Another way to make the day go a little slower is to write your own wedding vows.

Did you know that you could write your own wedding vows?
If you are having a civil ceremony the words you will be asked to repeat (or you can memorise them) are as follows:

I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (your name) may not be joined in holy matrimony to (partner's name).

You will then each read this statement:

I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (your name) do take thee to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.

With the exchange of rings you may say these words:

I give you this ring as a token of my love and loyalty.

Many couples are choosing to write their own words, something that has meaning to them as individuals and as a couple. The registrars welcome this and they will help and guide you if you have difficulty with what you want to say.

Please note: You must keep the registrars up to date with all the ceremony plans and arrangements. If you do want to have music played at a civil service you have to check it with them first, as no music with religious elements will be allowed. To save yourself the inconvenience and upset of having to find another piece of music at short notice, make sure you ask your registrar.

Before you begin to write your wedding vows you must remember and think about these points:

1. No religious elements may be included.
2. Think about the length. The registrar will probably not read the wording out for you to repeat. You’ll be on your own so don’t write an epic if you aren’t prepared to read one out.
3. You will be nervous on the day so choose a short passage that you can easily read.
4. Reading from a piece of paper doesn’t look very good, especially as these words are supposed to mean something to you – you should know them by heart.
5. If you do suffer from nerves think about how you’ll feel on the day. If you are dreading speaking publicly the words won’t come naturally.

A good way to think of something to write and say is to take a piece of paper and a pen. Close your eyes and just think about how you feel about your partner. What do you want for the both of you in the future? Obviously talking about families and babies isn’t a proper subject. However, talking about your feelings and how you hope the relationship will evolve is appropriate.

Now put the words together. It doesn’t have to be a poem or a recital, just a heart-felt description and vow to your loved one. Don’t worry about being to soppy or romantic – weddings are supposed to be romantic, and anyway, this is your day.

Read the piece to yourself over in your head and try to memorise it line by line. As long as you have ample time before the wedding don’t try to learn it all now. Just keep going back the piece of paper or perhaps you could pin it to a certain board or wall in your house that you go often. Just getting used to saying the words will ensure you keep your cool on the day when you finally get to say it to your husband or wife to be.