There are a lot of important moments in a wedding ceremony such as the signing of the marriage certificate or the presentation of the ceremonial items. However, none of them are as most-anticipated than the Exchanging of the Wedding Vows. Save for the Kiss, of course.
The exchange is a rather straightforward affair. The bride and the groom simply recite their vow to their partner, promising to be there for each other for everything, and this segment would not even last for more than 10 minutes.
However, what is said during those moments would matter significantly. Its the moment where both pour out their hearts to one another, after all. There is the option to use the generic “for richer and for poorer” vows and that would be perfect for any wedding.
But for a wedding to be more memorable, it would be best for the partners to recite their unique vows. And to do that, there are a few things to consider first.
Why are Wedding Vows Important?
Before everything else, it’s best that we address this question: why are wedding vows that important in the ceremony? After all, there are more portions in the ceremony that are either more momentous or, better yet, legally-binding.
But, believe it or not, wedding vows hold a great importance to the ceremony itself and to the marriage as a whole. First of all, the vows act as the very foundations of the marriage. The placing of the rings on the fingers and the signing of the certificate may have some tangible bind on the couple but the words they speak to one another act as an unbreakable promise.
And if you are the religious type, you can consider the exchange of the vows to be the couple’s formal announcement of their promises to one another before the unseen and the divine. Also, it tends to make a person even more cautious about treating their relationships knowing that they’ve made their promises before their god.
On a more legal sense, the vows are the vocal announcement of the promises that are directly (or indirectly) included in a marriage certificate. To put it simply, the vows act as one’s vocal agreement to the terms and conditions put forth in the marriage. Of course, this also acts as their willingness to be held liable if they break even a single portion of what they said.
The value of the wedding vows, then, cannot be underestimated. However, there is no hard and fast rule as to what can be said and how they are said during a wedding. So as long as the one officiating the ceremonies allows for it, couples can say their own, personalised wedding vows to one another.
Words and Phrases
Creating personalised wedding vows can be a bit daunting, especially if you are not the one to be poetic in your statements. As such, it would be best that you look to other vows for inspiration. Fortunately, there are certain terms and words popularly used in vows today. Here are some of them:
“For Richer and for Poorer……” - Anyone who has heard these lines know exactly what these sets of promises mean. It’s basically the conventional wedding vows wherein couples promise to be there for one another in times of wealth, want, health, illness, and even if death parts them from one another.
It’s cliched to recite these phrases at the wedding but the power of these words are still there. You can even use variations of these terms in your wedding if you are that concerned with sounding generic.
Comfort - Emotional support is often one of the unspoken promises couples make during their wedding. We often talk about providing support to one another through money or assistance but rarely is there any talk about just being there when the other is at their lowest point.
Phrases like “to comfort” and “to encourage”, and “to uplift” are becoming popular with wedding vows in recent years. Perhaps people are now valuing other things that money cannot buy in relationships.
Cherish - The literal meaning of this word is “to build up”. it connotes commitment to the personal growth of one another throughout the duration of the marriage.
It also has a rather profound message for the couple and the people in attendance. It connotes that the marriage will have an atmosphere wherein both will be able to improve themselves and, hopefully, reach their potential through each others help.
Friend - This term can be used alternatively with “partner”, “soul mate”, “confidante”, “lover”, and “best friend”. It connotes a notion of equality between the couple as they start their own family. No one is superior to the other and both have a say in how their family is going to grow and flourish.
It also hearkens back to how the couple first met: as friends. Acknowledging how everything began for the couple is a good way to end one chapter of their relationship while starting another.
Forever - Also synonymous with “eternity”, “for good”, “permanent”, and “endure”. It connotes that the marriage is one that has no finite term. Sure, there might be chances that everything will be called off later down the road but adding these words to a vow encourages the couple to maintain their love for one another for as long as humanly possible.
There is an air of challenge in writing wedding vows. Aside from that, there’s the chance that you’ll suffer from writer’s block when preparing it. However, whatever you will write for the vows will be so important and worth it once uttered at the altar. As such, here are some tips that will help you get through the writing process.
If you are stumped in figuring out what works for the upcoming wedding, it’s best to look into what has worked in the past. The traditional, minister-approved wedding vows are a great source of inspiration as they give you an idea as to the format, length, and tone used in vows.
Of course, there is no harm in incorporating sections of these traditional vows on yours. Eventually, with further editing, you can come up with a vow that is both profound and still personal to you and your partner.
Set The Tone
Now, there is no hard and fast rule on what tone should wedding vows take. The traditional ones are quite formal because, well, weddings in the past were formal. However, wedding vows now can be romantic to the point of being cheesy, funny as if two friends are just making pinky-swears in front of the altar, or poetic and profound.
You and your partner should have a uniform tone so take the time to discuss and agree on what your vows should sound like. You should also consider the logistics of the writing process. Would both of you create your own separate vows or would you go for one uniform vow as is with traditional wedding vows? Lastly, will you allow each other to view and critique your vows or would this be a secret until the wedding day?
Look into Your Relationship
Writing the wedding vows can be a perfect opportunity to reminisce. Think about that time when you first met or the time when both of you became official lovers. Think of the time when you decided that you would rather spend the rest of your life with them and what made you fall for them in the first place.
You can even go back to those times where your relationship was tested and how both of you were able to pull each other together. Write all of these things down so that you have a lot of inspiration when finalising the vow.
Come up with Many Promises
There is reason why they are called wedding vows, after all. Keep your promises as diverse as possible. You can start with broad ones like “I’ll always be there for you” and then finish with more specific ones like “I will always prepare dinner if you are cranky”. The more promises you can think of, the better.
Trim the Fat
Once you have come up with your first draft, now is the time to start editing it. You should keep the ones that are important and worthwhile while editing or removing the ones that don’t fit the overall theme of the vows.
You might even want to remove things that are too cliched or ridiculous to listen to. Also, be mindful of how each vow is going to be uttered. Some vows might look good when written but are embarrassing to say in public, let alone listen.
Also, you should mind the length of the vows. The goal here is to come up with something modest in length but profound and memorable. Keeping things too long will just make your vows all the more impossible to keep. A vow that is a minute or two in length should be your standard.
It could not be specified further how important vows are in a wedding. They symbolise that you and your partner are ready to take that next step in your relationship and seal your fates to one another. As such, it would be best that you approach this process with a great deal of respect and consideration.
However, that is not to say that writing your wedding vows be needlessly complicated. Always look to what made your relationship with your partner all worth it to the point that you’d want to spend the rest of your life with that person. Once you have found that, all you have to do is to write everything down and gradually refine it before the big day comes.
Each country have their own wedding traditions. These traditions are usually evident as most wedding couples would like to follow them for good luck.
Here are some weirdest wedding traditions as collated by Charlotte Long.
Shoe’ll be sorry! In India the groom traditionally removes his shoes while he walks down the aisle. The bride’s side of the family will then attempt to steal them while the groom’s side protects them from being stolen.
Oh my cod, stop beating my feet with fish! Ah weddings, so romantic, particularly the part when you have your feet beaten with fish and canes the night before. In South Korea it’s tradition for the groomsmen to do just that to prove the groom’s strength of character. And put him off fish ‘n’ chips for life, you would think.
La Soupe (Toilet soup in France) Yes you read correctly. After the wedding in France, tradition sees friends of the bride and groom put all leftovers from dinner in the toilet pan and then force the newly-weds to drink out of it.
This is Sparta! In Spartan culture, it was custom for women to shave their heads and dress like a man before being kidnapped by their future hubby. Now that’s a future wedding waiting to happen on Don’t Tell The Bride.
Urine my life forever Newlyweds in the Tidong community in Northern Borneo are to stay in a house together for three days without going to the toilet to ensure they have a wee-ly great marriage.
We have previously shared with you some wedding traditions we usually see on wedding ceremonies. These traditions usually came from one or both of the couple going to be wed.
Upon reading some articles regarding another wedding tradition being out of fashion, we wanted to write something about it since we are on that subject. We are talking about wedding rings.
Wedding rings is an essential part of the wedding ceremony. Wedding rings can be made of gold, silver or platinum metal and indicates that the wearer is married. It is usually worn on the fourth finger of the left or right hand depending on local culture.
Exchanging of wedding rings has been recorded from Ancient Egypt about 4800 years ago. Before metal was used, sedges together with rushes, reeds and papyrus were the first known wedding bands. Even before, circle was used as bonds as it symbolizes eternity.
When wedding rings have been adapted by other cultures, it was first used to brand women and show ownership of them. Which is why, only women only wore rings. It was around the 860s, when wedding rings has been used in marriage ceremonies. Different factors are added to the wearing of the rings until it was now worn by both the wedding couple.
Wearing of the wedding ring may be done in 3 ways. The traditional way is to wear it on the 4th finger of the left or right hand. For women, they usually wear it together with their engagement ring. While for some, they tie the ring on their necklace.
Regardless of how they are worn, wedding rings symbolize the unity of the two persons who wed and exchange vows. And we sure hope it will not go out of fashion.
If you missed it, you can also read up on our last article about choosing a wedding ring.
Weddings are one type of an event where heartwarming traditions are mostly incorporated and infused. These wedding traditions are usually dependent on the wedding couple’s background, history and religion.
Among the few wedding tradition we have discussed is about the bride wearing a white dress and something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Another wedding tradition that caught our attention is the throwing of Rice. This has been a tradition being done as far as history can remember.
Throwing of rice at the bride and groom as they depart the wedding reception was told to be a symbol of good luck, fertility and abundance. Rice was the most common type of grain used in the wedding ceremonies but other seeds and grains has been used as well. Seeds and grains are first used because it was believed that even from the smallest of them, life and crop can grow.
As beautiful as it was thrown, rice as well as other grains can be a bit hard on the face and may get slippery sometimes. Some instances, these grains may be caught on the bride and grooms eyes. So as an alternative, some preferred to throw flower petals. Rose petals are among the most thrown out on weddings.
Recent times also contribute to this wedding tradition. Nowadays, we are seeing some weddings throwing bubbles at the couple instead of rice and flowers. There are also some instances that bells are rung and butterflies are released.
But one thing remains true regardless of what has been done, it all symbolizes and wishes luck, joy and hope for the newlyweds.
Different wedding traditions are being incorporated by the Bride and the Groom when planning on their big day. These traditions may come from the traditions passed on by each of their family to them.
But, one thing I think most Brides try to incorporate on their Wedding, regardless of their origin is the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” tradition. Most of Brides I know follow this old saying.
This saying, whose origin is not really known, came all the way back from time.
Something old symbolizes the Brides Past, Tradition and her Family. Brides usually wear a piece of jewelry (i.e. necklace, earrings, ring) worn by her Mother or Great-grandmother even, on the day of the wedding. But it can also be a Wedding Dress or a head piece.
Something new symbolizes the Bride and Groom’s optimism towards their new life together. More often than not, the Bride’s wedding dress represents this. But it can also be a head piece or jewelry if she is going to wear a dress that has been passed on from generations.
Something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness. It is usually something that came from another happy bride. It can also be the same item as the something old. This item can be a handkerchief or a bible perhaps. This item usually is not limited to the ceremony or to the Bride herself. It can be a song or speech as well.
Something blue symbolizes fidelity, purity and love. More often than not, the Bride’s garter is the one representing something blue in a wedding. Some also incorporate something blue on their bouquet.
Refer back to our post on bridal garters.
Wearing a garter on your wedding day is a time honoured tradition said to have originated in the 14th Century when guests were of the belief that owning a piece of the bridal dress would bring them good luck. Brides started to wear a garter in attempt to stop guests from trying to snatch a piece of her dress and would toss the garter into the crowd. Nowadays most weddings are much more civilised affairs and it is customary for the bride to simply pose for a photo by tantalisingly showing her garter.
There are now a wide array of designs and styles to choose from although the traditional lace garter with a blue silk ribbon and bow is the most popular. The colour blue is thought to symbolise fidelity and purity and the blue trim of a garter is great way to incorporate the colour into your outfit.
Garter above: Tianna from the Love By Susie Bridal Couture Range made from vintage lace and a silk ribbon, presented in a nice keepsake box.