In the past few years, the popularity of personalizing the wedding ceremony has increased dramatically. By putting their own personal touches into their wedding ceremony, couples can ensure that their personalities are fully incorporated into their wedding day.
What many couples don’t know, is that your personal feelings can even be included into the legal parts of your wedding day. Adding your own views and thoughts of your love, and of your future life together, will give a touching intimacy to your ceremony.
If you would like to write your own vows, you should first meet with your Officiant to find out what must be legally kept in the ceremony, and what can be written by you. It is a good idea to make a list of what you would both like to say to your family and friends about your relationship and future life together, your hopes and dreams. You may want to say something about your feelings for each other, your views on commitment and trust, or simply read a poem.
Couples often find that their own words can be more meaningful than traditional vows. Some couples feel that the traditional vows are chauvinistic, and because of this, reciting these vows may be inappropriate if you have strong views on equality. Such couples are frequently omitting the word “obey” from their vows. Instead, they substitute such words as: “I promise to love you, comfort and encourage you, to be open and honest with you, and stay with you as long as we both shall live”
An Example of a Personally Written Vow:
…Today we make a commitment to one another. I want you to know that you are a precious gift and that you bring so much joy into my life. I affirm the special bond between us, and promise to keep it alive always. I promise to be your confidante, your best friend and to share in your hopes and dreams. In recognition of this, I, __________, take you, __________, to be my husband. With this vow we face new responsibilities together. I will be trustworthy as your wife, and to love you in all circumstances.
You may like to keep certain elements of the traditional wedding ceremony, or to completely change the ceremony with assistance from your celebrant.
However, most couples still choose to follow a standard
order of service:
*The Declaration of Intentions (Wedding Vows)
*The Exchange of rings
The service usually begins with the Officiant introducing the couple to the guests, and explaining that they are here to witness the wedding of yourself and the groom. This may be followed by a reading, poem or song. After this, there is an exchange of rings and vows, after which the couple sign the marriage register. The couple are then pronounced married by the Officiant.
Once you have decided what you would like to include in the ceremony, and have written this up, you should meet again with the Officiant, as your vows will have to be approved. The vows you have written will need to be practiced a number of times before the wedding. You will need to be relaxed in reciting them, and familiar with the words.
Take the time to talk with your Officiant and discuss the options you have. This will give you time to plan ahead, write your vows and to become comfortable in reciting them.