Love + Marriage | ,

The Art of making promises


For some, a wedding ceremony is simply a legal requirement that precedes the party, but for others, their ceremony is the heart and soul of the celebration. Central to that are their promises—the rich tapestry of words exchanged during their vows.

The legal fulfillment in all Australian marriages comes down to the following non-negotiable vow: ’I call upon the people here present to witness that I (full name), take you, (partner’s full name), to be my lawful wedded husband/wife’. Couples often choose to supplement this with a personal vow, which creates an opportunity to bring warmth and authenticity to the ceremony. However, it can often be a stumbling block too. That’s where I come in.

A celebrant’s role includes supplying resources to assist in creating personal vows. For those who need a little help, I provide templates, samples and an excellent ebook, Create Your Own Inspiring Wedding Vows by Wendy Haynes.

It’s a straightforward process that starts by deciding if you’ll both have identical vows. Then, you’ll need to consider if you want to keep your vows secret until the ceremony. If you opt for the secret route, it’s strongly recommended you share your vows with your celebrant; they can check for any glaring discrepancies.

When it comes to writing vows, couples find it easier when I suggest deconstructing them into three manageable sections: declaration, commitment and future. The declaration is where you greet your love, perhaps reflect on your time together and on what you adore about them. During the commitment, you state your promises in words that reflect you and your partnership. Lastly, a look to the future and the new phase of your life that is about to begin wraps it up beautifully. 

Speaking from the heart can be intense and emotional. If tears get the better of you, we simply stop for a moment and, when ready, resume. Surprisingly, it’s often the groom’s eyes that moisten and in one instance, the best man’s too!

Now and again, couples are adamant about learning their vows off by heart and no thanks, they won’t need prompting. Experience has proven it’s rarely achievable; adrenaline gets the better of you and memory lapses. Fortunately, I always carry copies of vows on the day.

Most elements of your wedding celebration will be created by others but your vows are yours alone. Your emotional investment will add richness and authenticity, and draw your guests into the significance of the occasion. Enjoy the journey!


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