The vows are a key moment in any wedding ceremony. They are your personal commitment to each other. There are many options to consider but, whatever you select, make sure they are "right for you both", not what someone else thinks you need to have! The only thing to consider is that you must use your full name, if you haven't used it elsewhere in the ceremony, and include that you are here to marry each other. I love the Vows part of every ceremony. No matter the style or length, they are always the key moment in the ceremony. I love seeing the connection between couples as they make their vows and the emotion that comes with these commitments to each other. Here are some things to think about:
1. Formal or Informal? I think the answer to that usually lies in the overall style of your wedding ceremony. A really formal wedding with really informal vows might not work quite as well as informal vows in a more relaxed ceremony. So think about the look and feel that you want.
2. Formal might include those words we all know from the movies: "I Emma take you Matthew to be my husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, so long as we both shall live". There are, however, lots of variations for this wording. Vows always used to include the word "obey" but thankfully no more! Not that it stops the occasional groom asking me to slip it in .....! Today it is more about "care, support, respect, trust, help, value" etc.
3. Informal vows are typically more personalised. They might include references to things that are very "you" and might include some humorous references. For example, you might promise to put the dishes in the dishwasher, pick up clothes off the floor, always be there to catch the spiders or not read after midnight!
4. Long or short: "I take you as my wife/husband" through to 2.5 pages of vows! It is entirely over to you.
5. Emotional or not? Hmmm, that's a bit more tricky. Weddings are almost always emotional. I always have an emergency supply of tissues for that reason. Think about what you will be capable of saying. If there is something that would be too emotional to say out loud or too personal, consider exchanging those with each other in writing, maybe in an exchange of cards on the morning of your wedding.
6. To "Repeat after me" or read out? Consider the length of the vows you want to make but consider also that, when reading, you are looking down at a card rather than looking directly at each other although I do have some tricks to get around that as maintaining that personal connection at this really important moment is key. Think of the practicalities of font size and print colour ..... you don't want to be having trouble reading the words in the sun or because you don't want to wear your glasses!
7. Think of the guests and are the vows appropriate to the audience! A good test is, if you have your Grandparents attending, will they appropriate for them to hear!
8. Will they last the test of time? They might be humorous or appropriate for today but will they stand the test of time looking back at them? Will you remember the reference to certain things? If you aren't sure, err of the side of taking that piece out.
9. What do they have to include? Somewhere in the ceremony you need to use your full name. So, if you haven't used it say in the Statement of Intent, it needs to be used here and also include a clear reference that you are here to marry each other. Other than that, it is a personal choice.
10. How long have we had vows in wedding ceremonies? In most English-speaking countries, vows derive from those practices introduced in mediaeval times in the churches.
So, hope this has given you a few things to think about in terms of your vows. Make them special and make them to each other.