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How To Write Your Wedding Vows In Three Sentences

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It is increasingly common these days for couples to individualize their wedding ceremony with personal vows. For those of us who have a hard time declaring our love for our fiancés in public, it can be nerve-wracking to deliver personal vows during the wedding ceremony under the watchful, expectant eyes of friends, family and future in-laws.Rather than wait until the last minute to cobble something together and mumble your way through it, there’s a simple way to turn this public speaking chore into a simple and powerful part of the ceremony.

VOWS AND HOW THEY FIT INTO THE WEDDING

Before we look at how to compose your vows, let’s take a minute to look at where they fit into the traditional western wedding ceremony. Most of these ceremonies have prescribed sections that increasingly fuse two individuals into one couple. Here’s the scene: you, the officiant, and the groomsmen and bridesmaids are all waiting at the altar for the bride. Traditional sections of the ceremony include:

bride writing vows
  1. Walk down the aisle: the bride enters the ceremony space.
  2. Greeting and preparation: the officiant welcomes the attendees and participants to the ceremony.
  3. Leave-taking: the bride leaves her family, often represented by the father or head of the family.
  4. Officiant’s charge to the couple: makes sure you two are ready.
  5. Promises: these are the initial commitments you make to each other, typically including language such as, “Do you take this woman to be your wedded wife,” etc.
  6. Vows: this is the deepest, most sacred part of the ceremony, where you make your personal statements.
  7. Giving and receiving of the rings: seals the bond between the two of you.
  8. Affirmation: the initial message for the community, usually “Those that have been joined, let no one separate.”
  9. Pronouncement: the final statement to the community, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
  10. Nuptial blessing: a prayer, letting God in on the deal.
  11. Introduction of the couple: the transition is complete, “Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. X”

    This means that your vows come right after the promises. In other words, they are the deepest part of the ceremony, just before you two become one.

COMPOSING YOUR THREE STATEMENT VOW

First Vow: Build your first vow off of the last promise made. So, for example, if the last part of the promise section was to be “faithful as long as you both shall live,” start off with, “I just promised to be faithful, but more than that, I vow to…” Some examples:

I vow to…

  • seek new ways to be closer to you.

  • help you be faithful to yourself, to help you become the person you were born to be.try to be a better man and husband.

  • be honest with you and to live in such a way that it’s easy to be honest. 

bride and groom in blue suit getting married

Second Vow: Make this something light, fun and particular to your relationship. Some examples:

I vow to…

  • get rid of my Van Halen posters.

  • never again wear cargo shorts.hand over the TV remote every other evening.

  • remind you why you first fell in love with me, even when you can’t remember why you married me.

Third Vow – This one should be from the heart and, again, particular to her. What does she want most from you that she still doesn’t feel she has?

I vow to…

  • make your dreams our dreams.

  • care for, support and love (their child or children from a previous relationship), to make our home a sanctuary of warmth, safety and peace.

  • to put you and our marriage first before work, friends or other family members.

picture of his and hers wedding vows on soft stationary

DELIVERING YOUR VOWS

It’s unlikely that most people at your wedding will remember what your specific vows were. What they will remember is the emotion they felt hearing them. This means that how you recite your vows can be more important than what you say. Public speaking is tough for most of us, and reciting your vows in front of your fiancé, family and friends can be emotionally challenging. If you think you might be nervous or emotional, repeatedly practice reading your vows aloud.

Keep repeating your vows until you know them backward and forward until you are bored to death with them. Then, when you deliver them during the ceremony, you’ll be able to speak them clearly and focus on the meaning behind the words.Notes:

  • Although you don’t need to show your fiancé the final draft of your vows, be sure to share with her an outline or rough draft of what you plan to say.

  • If you feel like you want to include four or more vows, feel free to do so. It’s your wedding. Just make sure that each vow is distinct, honest and sincere.

  • Wedding officiants normally make the content of the ceremony available well before the wedding date. If you haven’t seen a copy yet, contact him or her to get one.

  • Avoid including too many absolutes in your vows such as “Always,” “Never,” or “Forever.” You can promise to try, but no one can promise to succeed.

  • The sections listed above and the sample language used to describe them are intended solely to show the progression of steps in a ceremony. In your wedding, for example, the bride may walk down the aisle alone or you and the bride may walk down the aisle together.

Don’t spend too much time composing your vows; it’s much more important to be clear and honest than clever. You’ve done the hard part: finding the person you want to marry. Explaining your commitment will be much easier and more fun.

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