If you’re having a civil wedding, you can make the ceremony more personal to you by penning your own vows. You’ll find lots of inspiring ideas to help you get started further on in this feature.
Before you begin, there are a few rules to take into consideration. Legally, a civil ceremony cannot contain vows, readings or music that have any religious references. You’ll also need to include the statutory declarations. That is to:
“...Solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name)”
However, apart from this, and calling upon those present to witness your vows, you can work with your registrar to customise your ceremony. Perhaps you want to include a favourite love poem, or a special quotation – or even write something yourselves. Whatever your style, keep the following tips in mind:
- Be sincere but not overly gushing or intimate – you don’t want your guests to feel uncomfortable. If you want to say something deeply personal, you could always send your groom a private love letter on the morning of your wedding as well.
- Make sure you always check any readings or vows with your registrar in advance. Ideally, give them a typed copy of your vows/readings and a list of your chosen music a fortnight before the big day.
- If you’re struggling to find the right words, buy a thesaurus. It’ll help you to avoid repeating yourself. Words such as ‘love’ and ‘honour’ are naturally popular, but there are plenty of other terms you can include as well.
- If you get stuck for ideas, write one another a letter saying what you love about one another and why you can’t wait to be married. The best lines are often the ones that come straight from the heart.
- If you have children, you could include them as part of your vows. For example, “We exchange our vows today for our future as a couple and a family.”
If you need a helping hand to get you started, you could consider one of these options:
"Today I, XXX, take you XXX as my husband, friend and partner for life....”
"XXX, I make these faithful vows today, in the presence of our friends and family...”
"XXX, I marry you today to love, honour and cherish ... (insert your own sentiments)”
"From today and ever more I promise you love and support, friendship and loyalty...”