Traditional Wedding Vows – or Write Your Own?

Wedding vows are essential in any marriage ceremony. More than mere words, whether you repeat traditional wedding vows or vows you’ve written yourself, these are oaths that each says to the other, a verbal commitment for life.

Writing Your Own Traditional Wedding Vows

For the last couple of decades, except with most Roman Catholic wedding vows, many couples write their own vows, using their own words or using verses from wedding poems.

Sometimes these vows are simply variations of traditional wedding vows, adding a little personality into them.

Many couples even include some words of their vows as wedding invitation verses to share with their invited guests.

Sometimes You May Not Be Permitted To Write Your Own Vows

For a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony, the Rite of Marriage doesn’t allow for couples to write their own vows. If you’re planning a Catholic ceremony, you may want to check with your priest before you decide on writing your own vows.

Some ‘wedding officiates for hire’ – i.e., ordained, non-denominational ministers who perform the exchange of vows at a wedding as a paid service, may have pre-written words they prefer the couples to use.

They might be more like traditional wedding vows or the ministers might add their own words to them too.

For example, when my husband and I were married, the minister who performed our ceremony emailed us three or four versions of wordings we could choose from.

We weren’t able to write our own, but the pre-written romantic wedding vows were so perfect and beautiful that we didn’t need to.

And since her primary career was performing marriage ceremonies, having pre-written variations of traditional wedding vows on hand made it easier for everyone.

She already knew what to say, and then we simply had to ‘Repeat after me.’

How to Find Just the Right Words

When you do have the flexibility to write your own words, as long as you’re saying ‘I Do,’ the page is pretty much wide open.

Personalized wedding vows can be extremely sincere, touching and inspiring, speaking of the true, undying love each has for the other. Or they can interject some humor into the moment.

Think before you decide to write humorous wedding vows though. Marriage is a commitment not to be taken lightly, so your words shouldn’t be so funny that it seems you’re not taking your oaths seriously.

Also, you may not want to make the vows too long if you’re planning on repeating them from memory. If you’re nervous in front of crowds, you may want to write vows that the minister or other officiate will read and you’ll repeat.

If you’re not sure where or how to start writing, you can do what I did when my husband and I renewed our vows – go online and Google it.

I found several websites that had several sample wedding vows, and so I blended my favorites into one set and gave it to the officiate to read to us.

Different Vows for the Bride and Groom

Some couples choose to write their own vows separately, each speaking from the heart to the other in their own words. Obviously, you want to discuss this with each other before taking on this task.

Again, if you’re going to be speaking in front of a lot of people and you’re nervous, you may forget ‘your lines.’ So you may want to write words that your minister will read and you’ll repeat.

If I Write My Own Words, Are They Still Legal Wedding Vows?

Actually, any vows are legal wedding vows. They’re simply the words of the oath that the couple repeats to each other.

A legal marriage ceremony is based on the laws governing the state or country where the couple is getting married. And the signature of the minister or person performing the ceremony must be licensed and have the legal authority to do so.

For example, if you say your wedding vows in Vegas at a Drive-Thru or Drive-Up ceremony, it’s still legally binding regardless of what vows you say to each other. As long as the person who performed the ceremony is legally permitted to sign the marriage certificate, it’s legal.

Preserving Your Special Words

Traditional wedding vows can be found all over the Internet and in books. But the words you create from your own heart and mind, and then embed into your memory for that special day, may be something you want to preserve as you would your marriage certificate.

If you wrote a special poem or verse, you can include it in your wedding program and your guests can read them later at the reception.

Or you can print them on nice paper and frame them so they’ll last forever.


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