Writing your own wedding vows

Writing your own wedding vows adds a special touch to your Wedding Ceremony. Here are some ideas to make it easier. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your Marriage Celebrant too.

From a legal perspective each person getting marriage in Australia must say a mandatory vow like: ” I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Full Name to be stated here take you Full Name to be stated here to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/spouse.”

You could:
• Share the same wedding vows where you write them together and repeat them to each other during the ceremony or
• Have different wedding vows but work on them together. Write individual vows for each other but then share your vows with each other in advance so you both know that they are similar in length and tone or
• Write different wedding vows and keep them a surprise for the day

Regardless of which you choose, remember there’s no right or wrong in what you say. Importantly, write your own wedding vows from the heart.

Amanda and Sam wrote their own wedding vows with Sydney Celebrant Michael Janz

The format
Deciding how to structure your wedding vows will give you a good jumping-off point. You don’t have to both have to write your own wedding vows in the same format but it does tend to help keep them consistent so that one person isn’t reciting something pages long while the other is done and dusted in two sentences.

[Vow-starter] The first time I saw you, I…

[Promise] I promise to be…

[Promise] I promise we’ll…

[Promise] I promise to love you…

[Vow-starter] You give me…

[Vow-starter] Together, we’ll spend our lives…
Consider giving yourself a word count, say 200 words max. That way, you know you’ll both have vows similar in length.
Whatever the format, if you both do the same, then you’ll be fine.

How Long Should My Vows be?

There’s no right or wrong length to wedding vows. It is suggested through it may be wise to reach an agreed approximate length with your partner. Remember its not a competition, it’s expressing what’s important from your heart.

As a guide most vows take between 45 seconds and around 2 minutes. From a word count perspective 2-minute-long vows would be around 260 words. The 2 example vows below will give a feel for vows that would take just over 2 minutes and just under.  Allen’s vows below are 331 words in length whereas Anna’s vows are 236 words in length.

What could Personal Wedding Vows Look Like
Here is an example of an actual Couple’s Personal Vows that were built from a common agreement on format and number of words. You can see they evolved slightly differently. These like many were kept a secret from their partner.
Allan…
I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Allan Jeremy Smith, take you, Anna Elizabeth Jones, to be my lawful wedded wife.
Anna, your ten-year free trial period expires today!
Ten years has flown by and I can’t imagine life without you.
You’re my best friend, my biggest supporter and my favourite travel companion. You’ve stood by me during some of the most difficult times in my life and there is no one that I would rather have by my side to take on whatever the future may bring.
Everything that we have is a result of your hard work, determination, resilience and positivity. Everything that I am is a result of your love, support and encouragement.
It struck me when I was writing this that although I know these promises to be true in my heart, I’ve never made them to you in so many words. I want to rectify that now in front of the people we love.
1. I promise to love you. Plain and simple. More than that, I promise to tell you and show you that I love you so that whatever else happens in our lives, you can always be sure of that.
2. I promise to laugh with you and to cry with you. To celebrate the highs and battle through the lows.
3. I promise to support and encourage you. To smile and give you a thumbs up when you catch a good wave and to be the loudest voice in the crowd when you make a try saving tackle.
4. I promise to try not to be so annoying and to want to do what you want me to do without you having to ask!
5. I promise to work on myself so that I can be the best husband that I can be to you and, if we’re blessed with children, the best father to our kids.
I love you, Annie. I always have and I always will.

Anna…
I call upon the persons here present to witness that I Anna Elizabeth Jones take you Allan Jeremy Smith to be my lawful wedded husband.
It was 10 years ago today since we first met and I already knew on that day I felt something special with you, even if I didn’t show it. You are clever and fun and although you have the ability to drive me mad you also give me comfort and care. You fit into my family and they love you as much as I do.
This wasn’t the day we had initially planned but I love you for supporting me through the roller coaster it has been and even ‘volunteering’ to plan this one. No matter where we are in the world I’ll always be at home with you.
The most important part of the day is remembering all the commitments we have already made together over the years and the commitment we are making here today. I have a few promises to start our married lives together.
1. I promise that one day we will travel again and see more new places.
2. I promise to be more patient with your ‘half a job’ behaviours.
3. I promise to support you in the difficult times, stand by your side and work towards our dreams.
4. I promise to be faithful to you.
5. And I promise to love you unconditionally.

Thought-starting questions
When writing your wedding vows, these thought starters will help with filling the gaps. You’ll find yourself coming up with some pretty good stuff that you can include or reference in the vows.
What did you think when you first saw them? Was it love at first sight?
At what moment did you know this person was the one you wanted to marry? Why?
When did you realise you were in love?
What are the little things they do for you that you appreciate?
What are the little things you do for them that they appreciate?
What do you want to work on in your relationship to make it even stronger? Tip: this can be serious – or not.
What do you have now that you didn’t before? Tip: think head and heart, not material things. For example, ‘an appreciation for homemade pasta’ or ‘a newfound open-mindedness and acceptance of people, thanks to our time exploring the world’.
What have they taught you? Tip: be serious and lighthearted too. For example, ‘You’ve taught me to stand up for the things I believe in. And you’ve taught me the many virtues of watching cricket. Actually, no, we’re still working on that’.
Have you gone through adversity together? What did it mean to you to have them by your side?
What inspires you about them?
What do you respect most about them?
What does marriage mean to you?
What are you most looking forward to for your shared future?
What goals and values do you both share? Tip: again, feel free to get playful. For example, you might share a mutual appreciation for a crisp craft beer to kick off a Saturday, or a Wednesday night Netflix-and-chill – but with actual Netflix.
What do you miss most about them when they’re away?
What’s your favourite thing about them?
What’s the most annoying thing that they do?
Where was your first date? How did it go?
What’s the most embarrassing moment you’ve had together?
How about the most romantic moment?
What special quirk do you love about them that no one else would realise?
Have you traveled together? What did that teach you about them?
Did you guys have a rocky start? Why, and what made you guys overcome it?
Do they have a sporting team, band, clothing item or event they’re obsessed with?
What have you experienced together that you never would have on your own?

That’s seriously the hard part done. Now that you’ve fleshed out some of your relationship history, highlight the answers that stand out to you as the most poignant, insightful, heartfelt and fun. You don’t need to do this immediately – return to it in a few days’ time and then review. Your favourite answers will stand out. These are the answers you want to take elements from to weave into your vows.
Next step: agree on a format. The earlier one is a great start. Then, pick some promise starters and vow starters from below, or make up your own and write your own wedding vows.

Promise starters:
I promise to give you…
I promise to treat you…
I promise to tell you…
I promise to love you…
I promise to respect you…
I promise to laugh at…
I promise to be…
I promise to always encourage…
I promise that we’ll…

Vow starters:
I vow to…
I’ll always…
Together, we’ll…
When you’re up, I’ll…
When you’re down, I’ll…
Our future will bring us…
I will never let…
You make me…
You give me…
Because of you, I see the world…
We share…
Life is better infinitely better with you in it because…
I’m proud of…
Your smile makes me…
I admire…
You’ve taught me…
I look forward to…
I’m crazy about…
I value your…
I can’t believe that…
The first time I saw you, I…
I realised I loved you when…

The decision whether you write your own vows is entirely your choice. Your Marriage Celebrant can help with the range of choices you have.

Chrissy and Andrew wrote their own wedding vows with Sydney Celebrant Michael Janz
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