Writing Wedding Vows
Providing advice and a template for writing vows for your wedding ceremony that are right for you.
One of the most critical parts of your wedding (and yet one that is often left til the last minute) is the actual vows that you exchange with your betrothed. Some people use the purely traditional vows of their religious institution. Others prefer to write the entire vow themselves. Many couples these days choose to land somewhere in between.
Elements of the traditional vow give a wedding ceremony a feeling of being just that: ceremony. Something that has taken place for generations and will continue to be woven through the fabric of our society for generations to come. “With this ring, I thee wed” brings an automatic emotional response to the participants, whereas more casual, if more original, phrases may not.
On the other hand, given the nature of modern relationships, traditional vows may rather miss the mark on the reality of what today’s partners are willing to swear to. Be sure to pay attention to the words of the vow you will be taking. You may not want to promise to “obey” unless you actually mean to do so. Neither you nor your partner may be excited by the idea that the man promises to give his earthly possessions while the woman promises her fidelity—while the corresponding oaths are left unsaid.
Below is a sample of a simple ceremony to give you an idea of the different stages of a typical marriage ceremony and provide you with a base to edit and add to. To increase the length of your ceremony, you may want to include readings, musical numbers, or religious intonations between the various segments of the vow-taking itself.
Dearly Beloved, John and Jane have invited us here today to share in the celebration of their marriage--their wedding.
We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. Love is one, though its expressions are infinite.
It is fitting to speak briefly about love. We live in a world of joy and fear and search for meaning and strength in seeming disorder. We discover the truest guidelines to our quest when we realize love in all its magnitudes. Love is the eternal force of life. Love is the force that allows us to face fear and uncertainty with courage.
If you would have the foundation of your union be the love you have for each other, not just at this moment, but for all the days ahead, then cherish the hopes and dreams that you bring here today. Resolve that your love will never be blotted out by the commonplace nor obscured by the ordinary in life.
Devotion, joy, and love can grown only if you nurture them together. Stand fast in that hope and confidence, believing in your shared future just as strongly as you believe in yourselves and in each other today. In this spirit, you can create a partnership that will strengthen and sustain you all the days of your lives.
QUESTION OF INTENT
Jane, will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
John, will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?
John, please repeat after me:
I , John, take you Jane to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.
Jane, please repeat after me:
I , Jane, take you John 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 and to cherish till death do us part.
This is a moment of celebration. Let it also be a moment of dedication. The world does a good job of reminding us of how fragile we are. Individuals are fragile; relationships are fragile, too. Every marriage needs the love, nurture, and support of a network of friends and family. On this wedding day, I ask you not only to be friends of Adam or Eve, but friends of Adam and Eve together, friends of the relationship.
May the love you have found grow in meaning and strength until its beauty is shown in a common devotion to all that is compassionate and life-giving. May the flow of your love help brighten the fate of the earth. May the source of all love touch and bless us and grace our lives with color and courage.
From the earliest times, the circle has been a symbol of completeness, a symbol of committed love. An unbroken and never ending circle symbolizes a commitment of love that is also never ending. As often as either of you looks at this symbol, I hope that you will be reminded of the commitment to love each other, which you have made today.
Will each of you repeat after me?
I, John, give to you Jane, this ring, as a symbol of my commitment to love, honor, and respect you. With this ring, I thee wed.
I, Jane, give to you John, this ring, as a symbol of my commitment to love, honor, and respect you. With this ring, I thee wed.
Before this gathering, John and Jane have promised each other their love and have given each other rings to wear as a sign of their deep commitment. Therefore I declare that they are husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.