Your wedding vows are a public declaration of your love and commitment to one another.
For many couples choosing a Humanist wedding allows them the freedom to write their own vows because their entire ceremony is bespoke to them.
If you take one thing away from this it has to be this: vows written from the heart and said with intention are incredibly powerful to witness, so even if your mouth goes dry and you stumble over a few words or someone sneezes in that moment it will still be perfect!
1. Set your intention by thinking about the WHY?
Start by thinking about why you want to exchange personal vows-what will it mean to you to say them? What will it mean to hear them? Holding this intention in your mind as you think about, write about and develop your vows will deepen that intention when you say them. Really think about this and give yourself some time.
2. Agree on tone and length together.
When it comes to tone go for one that feels most comfortable, most like you: choose words together that you want to evoke when exchanging your vows like ‘romantic’, ‘loving’, ‘banter’ or ‘natural’, ‘honest’, ‘moving’. Especially if you are going to be keeping them from each other until the ceremony which many couples choose to do, but of course you can write them together too.
Length wise there are no hard and fast rules. Shorter, poem like vows work just as well as longer passages, just remember to balance the lengths so that one of you hasn’t written a weighty tome whilst the other’s is written on the back of a post it note! A minute or two each is ample!
3. Gather ideas.
Once you have agreed on style, tone and length gather ideas from songs, poetry, films, quotes and even jokes! These can all inform the tone, word choice and rhythm of your vows if you want to.
4. Whittle them down!
Give yourself time to sift through the ideas that you have gathered and to sit down and write your vows. Allow a decent amount of time-an afternoon that you have cleared in your diary and set the scene for. Get your favourite coffee and snacks, a lit candle, favourite records, grab some paper and pens and get writing!
5. The structure: A beginning, a middle and an end.
For beginnings examples could be ‘I vow to…’ ‘I choose you…’ ‘I promise…’
The middle of your vows is the main bit-the bit where you get to say why you are standing here saying these things, in this part you may reflect on your relationship and why you want to make this commitment, you may share a hope for your future or you may talk about what you will try to compromise on (a funny line or joke)
The ending of your vows could end with the same final line; ‘This is my promise to you’ ‘I will always love you’ ‘You are my everything’ ‘These are my solemn vows’.
Practise reading your vows out loud, have you used words that come naturally to you? Does it feel right?
7. Send your vows to your celebrant a month or two before your ceremony.
Finally, send copies of your vows to your celebrant to check for tone and length and be open to suggestions-though rare, sometimes it’s just a matter of trimming the length for a more even match.
Exchanging vows isn’t as mushy or soppy as it sounds, they are meant to be the moment in your ceremony where your guests witness you speaking honestly about what your commitment means to you, it’s not cheesy if its heartfelt-which it will be!
I hope reading this has left you feeling inspired and empowered to write your own vows and if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to get in touch!