For a lot of people though, the thought of trying to put into words the kind of promises that they want to make to their future husband or wife fills them with horror. With the best will in the world, not everyone can do this and so I have a big file of sample vows which might give you inspiration. You may find something in here that says exactly what you want to say and if you do that's great, we'll go with it.
You may find a line here and a line there that you want to put together and mix and match. Again, if that's what you want to do - we'll do it that way.
If you do feel moved to write your own vows, try to do it from the heart. It doesn't have to be Shakespeare - it just has to be pledges that you really mean and that reflect the reality of your life together. Try not to make them too long and involved - short and sweet is better and it will concentrate your mind into focusing on the things that are really important to you both. Try making a list of the things that you miss about each other when you are apart, or list the things that attracted you to each other in the first place. Remember vows don't have to be deadly serious and stuffy and sometimes adding a little humour can be great if that's the kind of people that you are.
Some couples work together on their vows and say identical ones. Some work on them on their own and send them to me separately. That way, the first time that the other person hears them is on the wedding day. Only you two know whether that approach is something that you are both comfortable with.
When it comes to the ceremony itself, there are several ways that we can approach the part where you actually make your vows. Some couples are worried that they will get emotional at this point and it would be strange if they didn't. I always have tissues available so if the emotions get too much, we can take a moment to compose ourselves and then carry on. Don't worry about it....
When the time comes for you to make your vows, I'll ask you both to turn, face each other and join hands. We can then do it one of several ways:
- We can write the vows on a card and you can just read them off.
- I can say the lines individually and you can repeat them after me: for instance 'Stuart - please repeat after me - I promise to always surround you/ with the love that you deserve.
- We can do it in the format where I ask if this is what you promise and you just reply I do - for instance 'Stuart do you promise to always surround Susan with the love that she deserves?' and you just reply - I do
You should choose the approach that you feel most comfortable with: don't stress yourselves more than necessary on the day and try to use words that you are comfortable with. If you try to make them very flowery and poetic and that is not who you are, the people who know you will know that you are trying too hard.
Enjoy this very intimate part of your ceremony and remember to look at your future wife or husband when you speak - and not me!!!