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Expert Tips and guidance on how to write the perfect Wedding Vows! by Emily Rawlinson, Professional Celebrant

One of the highlights of your Wedding or Civil Partnership Celebrant-led Ceremony, is the moment you exchange your vows.  Guests love to hear these personal words of love as you commit to your future together.  These vows are often kept a secret until the day, so it’s most likely the first time that you share these words with your loved one too, making it even more special (get the tissues ready!).


A couple standing under a wedding arch during their wedding ceremony and the groom is reading his wedding vows to his bride.  Their guest are watching on with delight (and a few tears!)
Reading your own secret wedding vows. @simonjohnphotographer.

It’s thrilling to have the freedom to write your own wedding vows because rather than being tied to the legal wording, you are in control of each syllable you utter and every word that you are going to promise.  During a legal Civil Partnership Ceremony, you’re not required to make vows (unlike a legal Marriage Ceremony when prescribed words have to be said), so this is your opportunity to write something truly special for your partner.  But, faced with the blank piece of paper and a mind full of thoughts, it can be hard to know where to start…


Below are some tips and guidance to help you go from a blank page to beautiful vows:


How do I get started?


Before you start writing your wedding vows, sit down with your partner and chat about the style of vows you want to make.  Do you want them to sound traditional, be heartfelt, humorous or focussed on the importance of your commitment, or a mix of everything?  You don’t have to tell each other exactly what you’re going to say, but it’s a good idea to agree on the style so that they complement one another.  As your celebrant, I always offer to check your vows to make sure that they will fit together and flow perfectly.


Although it may be tempting to get some help for an AI Chatbot, try to resist – you want your vows to sound authentically you.  If you need a little extra support then ask your expert celebrant!  Having got to know you during the wedding planning process, I can help you write your vows so they are true to you.


Jot down a few bullet points or create yourself a mind map.  This is a great visual way of getting your thoughts down on paper before you start writing.  If you’re not a confident writer, then I’m here to help by turning your notes into heartfelt vows. 


What should my vows include and how long should they be?


Try to make your vows about the same length, so, on the day, you are speaking for about the same amount of time.  To do this, you’ll need to agree on a word count.  Between 200-400 words is about right (this will translate to between two and four minutes of speaking).


Some couples like to include details about how much their partner means to them, and how their lives have changed since they have been together.  Others prefer to focus on the future, and make promises in this way.  You can choose to combine both styles, beginning with a little about your love for your partner, then include some promises of commitment.


For example:


The day I met you my life began again, and as we start a new chapter of our lives together I promise to always love and support you.  I will give you unconditional love and acceptance and never try to change you, for I fell in love with all of you, and am excited where the adventure of marriage will lead us in our future.


Do I have to read my wedding vows myself?


It’s absolutely normal to feel excited (and a little nervous!) on your big day and you may decide that reading your own vows is not for you.  That’s no problem at all.  Chat with your celebrant about other ways that you can share your wedding vows without having to read them yourself.  Below are a couple of ideas.


Traditional sounding wedding vows


If you like the way wedding vows are traditionally spoken, and feel that this is how you would like to share them on your big day, you can repeat small parts of your vows after your celebrant.  These can still be personalised as you can see from the example below.


(the slashes denote the repeated sections)


The day I met you // my life began again, // and as we start // a new chapter of our lives together // I promise to always love and support you. // I will give you unconditional love and acceptance // and never try to change you,//  for I fell in love with all of you,//  and I am excited // where the adventure of marriage //  will lead us in our future.


A couple holding hands and looking into one another's eyes as they repeat their wedding vows after the celebrant, who is standing to one side
Traditional Wedding Vows. @charlottemailphoto

Question and answer


The other option is to answer questions with a simple reply.  This can really take the pressure off couples who are nervous about public speaking and I have seen people visibly relax during our meetings when they realise that this is an option. 


For example:


When you met XXX it felt as if your life began again and today marks that start of another exciting new chapter in your lives.  As a declaration of your love and lifelong commitment to XXX, please answer the following questions with ‘I promise’.


Do you promise to always love and support XXX?


Will you give XXX unconditional love and promise to accept them exactly as they are throughout your lives together?


Happy writing!


How ever you wish to share your vows, a good celebrant will work with you to make sure that you know all the options available to you, as well as exploring new avenues and coming up with creative ideas so that you have the best ceremony ever that truly reflects you in every way.


Wishing you a fabulous day!


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