two small words

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Brisbane wedding and marriage celebrant Rachel Green shares stories, tips and advice for wedding planning.

More than two small words: Writing your vows

For some couples, sticking to the legal vows is enough but for many couples, writing personal vows is a major rite of passage in the lead up to getting married, and sitting down to write your own personal vows can be a daunting (often left to the last minute!) task.

SPOILER ALERT!! If you think only saying the legal vows will get you out of shedding a tear, you could never be more wrong! There is something about saying that simple sentence out loud, that makes every voice crack and the gravity of the moment never escapes you.

And I get it, it’s a BIG deal.  There are not too many opportunities in life to publicly declare your love and devotion to your forever person.  Your wedding vows are kind of like your own real life Love Actually moment (by the way, if this is not your favourite movie, we need to talk).  

Hot Tip: if you’ve put a decent amount of time and effort into answering the couple questionnaire (what I use to get all the dirt for your ceremony), you’ve already done the hard part. The questions I ask and where they lead your thoughts and memories can be the source of some great material for what you write in your vows.   

Let me make take the pressure off by saying there are NO RULES when it comes to writing your vows. They should be as short/long/different/similar/funny/ romantic/cheeky/outrageous /sweet/ traditional as you are. 

My couples usually send me their vows a couple of days before the wedding to give me time to create vow cards for them (that’s a whole other post).  The vows arrive with by a plea for re-assurance that they are okay.  And I can honestly say that I have never ever suggested a re-write.  Every single time, I am flawed by the authenticity, vulnerability, personality and romance that people are capable of when putting their feelings on paper.

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: It is not a surprise to discover that (whether they know it or not) most couples are on the same wave length as each other and the vows they write complement each other perfectly. 

When it comes to the actual writing process, here are some things you can try that I know work…

  • You can write your vows together and say the same things

  • You can write your vows together and say different things

  • You can write them separately and keep them as a surprise

  • You can decide together how many lines your vows will be to make sure they’re the same length

  • You can use the same sentence starters but write different endings (I promise to….You are…..Thank you for….)

    OR

  • You can break with convention, trust the process and confidently write what you feel knowing that it can only be right! 

And I’ll promise you this, if you make an effort, inject your vows with personality and capture what is unique about your relationship, your vows will be received with appreciation and probably some very happy tears. 

STILL STUCK? Well, here are some real vows (used with permission) from a handful of my fabulous couples to get you on your way...

“You have taught me about the many benefits of owning a cat, how to savour a glass or two of red wine and to take my time eating chocolate.” Tom

“I love your old fashioned values, like phoning someone instead texting them and keeping your book of notes, instead of typing.”   Ashley

I promise to always kill the spiders if you kill the cockroaches.”  Grace

I promise to love you in good times and times when I find your shoes all through the house.” Jake

“And if I let you down for whatever reason, know I will always make it up to you with as surprise delivery of flowers or clothes.”  David

“I promise to support your freedom and to trust and honor you and your decisions.  I promise to turn on the heater when you are cold - even if it's 30° already.”  Dave

“Together, we will build a home filled with laughter, unconditional love, Nutella and a maybe even a boat.”  Alyce

I promise to only snooze my alarm once on mornings when I’m the only one getting up.”  Bernard

“I promise to always need you. To tell me everything’s going to work out, to give me a push in the right direction and to open jars that are too tight.” Elise

Take some inspiration from some of the couples that went before you…(Clockwise from top left: Dave & Alyce, Grace & Jake, Elise & Bernard, David & Tesh, Ashley & Tom)

Take some inspiration from some of the couples that went before you…(Clockwise from top left: Dave & Alyce, Grace & Jake, Elise & Bernard, David & Tesh, Ashley & Tom)