Your wedding vows are the most important and meaningful part of your big day, when you finally become man and wife. And though it's perfectly fine to use the standard vows pre-selected for you by your registrar, you have the option to add more sentiment to it by writing your own.
Before you begin, there are a few rules to take into consideration. Legally, a civil ceremony cannot contain vows, readings or music that have any religious references. You’ll also need to include the statutory declarations. That is to:
“...Solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name)”
However, apart from this, and calling upon those present to witness your vows, you can work with your registrar to customise your ceremony. You might want to include a favourite love poem (like these meaningful poems), or a special quotation (like these love quotes from romantic films or wedding readings from Disney films) – or write it from scratch yourselves.
Whatever your style, there are a few tips to keep in mind first:
- Be sincere but not overly gushing or intimate – you don’t want your guests to feel uncomfortable. If you want to say something deeply personal, you could always send your groom a private love letter on the morning of your wedding as well.
- Make sure you always check any readings or vows with your registrar in advance. Ideally, give them a typed copy of your vows/readings and a list of your chosen music a fortnight before the big day.
- If you’re struggling to find the right words, buy a thesaurus. It’ll help you to avoid repeating yourself. Words such as ‘love’ and ‘honour’ are naturally popular, but there are plenty of other terms you can include as well.
- If you get stuck for ideas, write one another a letter saying what you love about one another and why you can’t wait to be married. The best lines are often the ones that come straight from the heart.
- If you have children, you could include them as part of your vows. For example, “We exchange our vows today for our future as a couple and a family.”
Now that we've got the tips covered, here are a few wording examples in case you need inspiration for your vows:
"Today I, XXX, take you XXX as my husband, friend and partner for life....”
"XXX, I make these faithful vows today, in the presence of our friends and family...”
"XXX, I marry you today to love, honour and cherish ... (insert your own sentiments)”
"From today and ever more I promise you love and support, friendship and loyalty...”
"I promise to love and respect you and to dedicate my life to keeping our love alive and making you happy. I will be there for you in good times and bad. I will support you in your times of need, but also give you space for yourself."
"Today, I give myself to you. I promise to love and cherish you always, for better and for worse. I promise to remain faithful as long as we both shall live and never take you for granted. I will try to make you laugh every day, and support you through all your decisions."
"Today I vow to be your husband/wife for the rest of our lives. I promise to love you and remain devoted through the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health. Together we will face any problem united, and any joy we will celebrate together."
"I, XXX, take you XXX, to be my husband/wife. To have, 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, and this is my solemn vow."
Funny wedding vows example
If you feel that traditional wedding vows are a bit stuffy for you, why not go for a funnier, yet equally sentimental approach? For example:
"I, XXX, take you XXX, to be my husband/wife and my Netflix partner in crime for as long as we both shall live - I even promise to watch Pretty Little Liars with you even though it's the worst show ever made. I promise to love you even when you won't let me play Call Of Duty, and cherish you even when we can't agree on what takeaway to get."
"I promise to always leave the loo seat up. I promise to make you breakfast in bed every weekend. I promise to create a life for us of unexpected and strange adventures. I promise that I will love you for ever."
"I promise to care for you in sickness and in health, unless it is self‐inflicted or two o’ clock in the morning: not to kick you when you are snoring; and to care for your prize collection of comic books."
" I promise that I will always let you win arguments (even if I know I am right!), to always let you, to buy you flowers once a week (even if I have nothing to apologise for), and to agree to disagree on which cake is better. It's lemon drizzle obviously, not red velvet cake."
"I promise not to whatsapp my girlfriends after 8pm, to buy only one pair of shoes a month and to accept all your bad habits because they make you as loveable as you are."
Wedding vows that will make you cry
"XXX, you are my best friend and today I take you as my life partner. I promise to laugh with you and cry with you, and grow with you. I hope to make you as happy as you have made me, and to love you a little more every day. May we have many adventures and grow old together."
"I, XXX, promise you, XXX, my soulmate, to love you for as long as I live. What I possess in this world, I give to you. I will keep you and hold you, comfort and tend you, protect you and shelter you, for all the days of my life."
"XXX, you know me better than anyone else in this world and yet still you manage to love me. You are my best friend and one true love. There is still a part of me today that cannot believe that I'm the one who gets to marry you."
"You are my light, and you've shown me more love than I've ever known. I promise to never take our love for granted, and to show you every day how much you mean to me. I vow to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share in the silence when they are not."