How to Write Vows That Reflect Your Relationship

A guideline to composing meaningful vows.

How to Write Vows That Reflect Your Relationship

Photo: Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography

You have options when it comes to creating your wedding vows. While we frequently hear either traditional or conventional vows, you are legally free to write the vow that best suits you and your fiancé. While traditional and conventional vows have a charm all of their own, you may want to try combining the two.

Very traditional vows are usually read first as a question and then as a repeat. “(Bride/Groom), wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wedded wife/husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her/him in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep only on to her/him, so long as ye shall live?” Now repeat after me: “I, (Bride/Groom) take thee, (Bride/Groom) to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight me my troth.”

Conventional vows are typically read and followed with the affirmation, I do. “(Bride/Groom), do you take (Bride/Groom) to be your husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?”

Should you choose to blend the two, you might come up with “(Bride/Groom), Do you take (Bride/Groom) as your wife/husband? To have and to hold from this day forward. To love, honor, and cherish her/him above all others. To teach her/him and learn from her/him. Do you promise to do your best to understand her/him as she/he is, loving what you know of her/him and trusting what changes the future will bring? To always speak the truth to her/him. To communicate and share your true thoughts and feelings. To grow older with her/him and be faithful to her/him. To comfort and encourage her/him in laughter and in tears. And to be her husband/wife and best friend from this day forward?”

Of course, you can always add your own special vows. This is the perfect opportunity to include something that is unique to your relationship. If you like, you can intersperse humorous vows with more serious ones. For example, “Do you promise to listen intently to all of (Bride/Groom)’s narratives of her shopping successes, even if you’re not certain whether Manolo Blahnik refers to a third world country, or a shoe?” Or, “Do you promise if (Bride/Groom) is upset, that you will provide (Bride/Groom) with your credit card so she can engage in retail therapy from time to time?”

Another way to approach these more specialized vows is to have series of them first and then proceed to the more serious ones with an explanatory paragraph that reads “Although these vows were light hearted the next are more serious (Bride/Groom) and (Bride/Groom) wanted a mixture of both because that’s the way you know them and that’s the they live their lives together a balance of fun and sincerity.”

With the extent of second marriages and children within our relationships, it may even be appropriate to extend vows to your fiancé’s child. One recent groom spoke these vows to his new bride’s daughter. Repeat after me: “I (Bride/Groom) take you (Bride/Groom) to be my daughter, to love and respect from this day forward, to help you with your homework, to care for you when you're sick, to screen your suitors, to teach you how to drive and to always be there for you.

Make time to create vows that are truly reflective of our personalities and beliefs. The outcome will not only give you the opportunity to learn more about each other, but hopefully won't bore your guests to tears.

Opening photograph by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography