When it comes to your wedding vows, couples are often unsure of what to have. Many opt to have the traditional vows not realising that they are able to design their own!

Legal Requirements

People are often interested to find out that the only legal requirement to their wedding are the words “Do you … take … to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife”, to which they hopefully answer “YES!”.  Apart from this one statement, the rest of the wedding ceremony is completely up to the couple, including their vows.

Thoughtful Planning

When designing your own vows, start early on in your wedding preparations. I have married one couple where the husband-to-be finally presented his vows just before the wedding ceremony, having stayed up half the night trying to work out what to say! Your vows are just as important as other aspects of your wedding, and the promises you make carry on long after the ceremony. For this reason alone you want to dedicate quality time to preparing what you will say!

Choosing Your Vows

Often the biggest struggle in writing your own vows is “where do I start?”. A good place to start is using the traditional vows as a template. The traditional vows are – “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”.  The idea behind these traditional vows is that of a covenant. A covenant is a commitment you make to another person without demanding like in return. It is not a contract that says “I will love you as long as you don’t leave your undies lying on the bedroom floor” – it is a promise based on unselfish love and making a commitment to the other person in all times and seasons of your life, whatever may come.

Keeping the idea of a covenant in mind, consider readings, poetry, lyrics or vows from a mixture of sources that you may want to include. There are many rich resources on the internet dedicated to wedding vows which provide a rich resource of ideas.   Borrow from these to help you craft those unique words that reflect your feelings and commitments to the other person.

Be aware that some religious places and celebrant have restrictions on what you can have and do in a wedding ceremony and if you haven’t already discussed writing your own vows with your celebrant, you may want to do this first.

For more information you can find celebrants in New Zealand via the NZ Wedding Directory or try Yellow.co.nz

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