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.