When it comes to your vows it’s common to be completely stumped and not know where to start.
It’s not because you don’t have anything to say but, in most cases, that you have too much you want to share about this amazing, magical human you’re about to spend the rest of your life with and why you love them to the ends of the earth.
There are a few things to consider when writing your vows and hopefully these will get you started.
What is the minimum requirement? As stated in the guidelines subsection 45(2) of The Marriage Act 1961 requires that each party say to the other, in the presence of an authorised celebrant (who is not a minister of religion) and the witnesses, the words:
‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (husband or spouse)’; or words to that effect.
These words must be included in the ceremony. They are the minimum words which must be exchanged by the couple to ensure that they fully understand the nature of the ceremony and that they are marrying each other.
It’s important to remember that not everyone has to have or wants personalised vows, it’s a personal choice. You can say the minimum requirements and let the rest of the ceremony do the speaking for you and your great love.
How long do they have to be? For this I recommend talking to your partner and mutually agreeing on a length that suits you both. It could be 100-250 words or it could be a monologue - decide together.
If public speaking isn’t for both of you, maybe letting the other know that yours might be a little shorter is the the way to go.
How do I write them? Like a good book or movie plot, it helps to have a structure with a start, middle, and end.
Am I just listing promises? No, you can include whatever you feel in your heart (mushy, huh!). It may be that you want to say ‘I promise you XYZ’, what you love about them, or that you simply want to share what effect they’ve had since they walked (or swiped right) into your life.
Can I google them? There is nothing wrong with jumping online and having a gander at what others have said. If you do sway towards using others’ words when writing yours, just remember to speak from the heart and make it sound like you.
What if I really don’t know where to start? That’s what I’m here for, to help and guide you through the process. Part of the way that I structure my couple questionnaire is to include questions that plant the seed for your vows. Using your words I can draft up a starting point for your vows for you to either to use as is, or to run with and add or change because it’s given you enough inspiration to keep writing.
How serious do they need to be? How serious are you? If laughter fills your life and your relationship then share that in your vows. I love when couples share promises that make them laugh.
On that note, here are a few of my favourite lines from real weddings I have had the privilege of being a part of. May they inspire you with your vows.
I PROMISE (the funny ones):
I promise to sit with you while we watch the Inbetweeners for the 200th time.
I promise to stay awake in the car when we go on our adventures just so you don’t get bored.
I promise that I will continue to make my own words up to songs because deep down I know you love it.
I can’t promise I’ll give you a massage every time you say your necks sore and that you need one. But I promise I’ll at least consider it…
I promise to keep reminding you that drinking Coke and sun baking with coconut body oil are unhealthy, because I want us to live long happy lives by each other’s side.
I love that with you I can be myself and that you always try and make me see the positives in everything.
I love your smile, your cheekiness and your sometimes-questionable humour but most of all your positive approach on life is what makes me wake up everyday so happy.
I will love you, care for you and help you when you need. I will make your lunch, cook your dinner and always have a cold beer waiting for you when you get home.
You have challenged me to step outside my comfort zone time and time again but each time I’ve felt reassured knowing you’re there to catch me if I fell.
You laugh at my jokes when they are terrible or outright mean, which always brings a smile to my face.
You're the funniest person because you are not funny at all, but at least you give it a good crack, and that's the thing about you, you are a do'er, fearless and not afraid to speak your mind.