‘To have and to hold; for better or worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health’ – these traditional wedding vows have a special ring to them. But with so many different options for vows and readings today, how do you decide what to say in your ceremony?
In the past, when the majority of couples married in a religious ceremony, the format of the marriage, including the vows and appropriate readings, was set down in the order of service. But in civil ceremonies, and even in many religious ones today, the bride and groom have a wide choice of what to say when making their promises to one another, and what readings are used as part of the ceremony.
In legal terms, the only requirement is a simple declaration from each of you that you agree to take the other as your husband or wife. While some couples choose to keep their vows short and sweet, most people want to take the opportunity to expand on the legal basics, personalizing their vows and making the most of this important part of the ceremony. And while there is no legal requirement to have readings as part of a wedding ceremony, they are another opportunity to put your personal stamp on the ceremony and also involve other people in your special day.
Your vows are probably the most important part of the wedding service. The two of you are making promises to each other in front of your family and friends about the nature of your relationship and the life you plan to have together, and this is often the most emotional time in the ceremony. Vows are essentially what you are willing and able to promise each other into the future.
Don’t worry if the idea of writing your vows fills you with panic and you simply don’t know where to start: that’s normal. Most, if not all, celebrants will have examples of popular vows that you can either adopt or adapt to your own circumstances and personal tastes. Alternatively, they will help you put together something completely original.
Ria & Andrew wedding Photos by Danelle Bohane
Jessica & Jakes Wedding Photos by Kate Macpherson