In my last post we worked out how the vows can be said and that it doesn't have to be a frieghtening experience!
As you can see from the picture above, I usually ask couples to stand close together and hold hands when they say their vows, as this helps with their nerves!
But what can be daunting is working out exactly what you are going to say in the wedding vows, after all, it is the one chance you have to make this public commitment and you are going to want to make it special.
When I first meet couples I send them away with a little excersise to do. They each write a list of ten things that they love about the other person. These lists are useful for expressing why they love one another in the ceremony and also for the vows.
Usualy when couples swap lists there are a few surprises. Although we know we love someone and accept that they love us, we may not articulate why. Perhaps because questioning someone's love for you is percieved to be a negative act. But doing it this way is great fun, very romantic and you may just find out something about yourself that you never knew before!
When couples swap these lists they often see things that they love about one another that are similar. For example, both might have written that they love each other because they are both supportive, generous, love to laugh and look at the fun side of life. Then there may be reasons that are different. Say, for exaple the groom loves the bride because she is grounded and down to earth and she always focusses on the positive things in life and challenges the way they both see the world. She might love him because he is adventurous, up for trying new experiences and encourages her to fulfill her dreams. Taking these similarities and differences into account, their wedding vows could go something like this:
Jane and Duncan, do you both promise to be supportive partners to one another even when times are difficult?
Jane and Duncan:
Do you both promise to be generous to one another and to those around you materially and with time, care and attention?
Jane and Duncan:
(these vows are repeated in short phrases, not all at once!)
Jane, please repeat after me: Duncan, I promise to help us keep our feet on the ground and focus on the positive things in life. I promise to be understanding to you and continue to approach life with an open mind and challenge the way we both see the world.
Duncan, please repeat after me: Jane, I promise to continue to bring adventure into our lives and encourage us both to try new experiences. I promise to respect you as an individual, encourage you in your dreams and invite you to share in mine.
Jane and Duncan, do you both promise to try to continue to see the fun side of life and enjoy laughing together?
Jane and Duncan:
I hope you can see that these vows would be special to this couple as they are promising to endeavour to keep the attributes that means so much to their partner. It is also a good way of showing their similarities and differences because some couples do have quite different personalities.
Although this is a good way of approaching your vows it isn't the only way. Going with the more traditional vows: "For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health", is also great and acknowledging that marriage isn't always easy is a positive thing to promise on your wedding day.
The most important thing to remember is that your celebrant should encourage you to be comfortable with every aspect of the wedding and as the vows are the most important part, you should work with your celebrant if you have any doubts at all in what you are going to say or how you are going to say it. Did you notice that in the last vow above I asked them to promise to 'try to' see the fun side of life? I think it is important to make promises you can keep!