Nail your Vows by doing
these 3 simple things
(12/10/2019) | Categories:
| Vows | Wedding Ceremony |
never met a couple who didn't want their exchange of
vows to go without a hitch on the day. And most couples
do worry about that. But the good news is, like
everything else about your wedding, preparation is key.
Despite being advised that they should start
early, movies and TV shows regularly include
scenes of one or both sweating over the task on the
morning of the wedding. Neither a good look, nor a good
idea. And no a way to guarantee a confident,
However, doing 3 simple things before
writing your vows will guarantee a flawless vow exchange
on the day.
1. Make sure you are both on the
2. Decide on the logistics of
how you will make your vows
3. Decide who else will be
sure you are both on the same page
Your vows are your performance targets for your
marriage. That sounds unromantic, but making a
marriage work requires teamwork. Making sure your vow
exchange on the day flows smoothly, requires teamwork
too. Which means deciding together what sort of
promises you will make and how it will all come
together on the day.
Here's your decision check-list
- Legal vows only, or Legal Vows plus Personal Vows
- Negotiate what we promise and work on our vows
together (and make the same vows) or write
The Marriage Act only requires that you both say what we
call the legal vows, and that you say them separately,
because these are the statements that wil create your
marriage. How that is managed, however, is entirely a
Repeat your vows after me
If you get married in Church, or in a Registry
Office, you'll be given no choice. It's repeat after me.
The person officiating your ceremony will feed you your
lines, a phrase at a time, and you will repeat them.
There are a lot of pluses to this method
- you can hold hands and look into one another's
- if a microphone is being used, your celebrant can
hold it for you, positioning it perfectly for each
of you so everyone hears what you say
- if you are nervous you celebrant is close at hand
to pace you, and to support you
- your photographer and videographer will have time
to capture multiple images and both close-up and
Read your vows
While palm cards, or other 2-dimensional cards
are very common, I prefer to go all out with the vows in
bound booklet form. Not only is something that folds in
the middle easier to hold (you just put your thumb at
the fold and support it with the palm of your hand), it
looks so much better
added space means I can use bigger print to make it
easier to read.
- Reading from a card is the perfect choice if you
personal promises are long
- You can hold the microphone yourselves, or your
celebrant can hold it for you
- You will need to practice to make sure that you do
frequently look up and into one another's
- Videographers prefer this method as it is less
work for them to edit in the sound.
Of course, there is nothing to stop you reading your
vows from your phone, or even a teleprompter, but
always have a fallback plan in case of tech failure.
Regardless, your celebrant should always have a full
copy well before the ceremony.
Recite your vows from memory
Not something I'd recommend as it puts an awful
lot of extra pressure on you. But on the couple of
occasions when I've had a couple do that it has
been absolutely wonderful. If you choose to do this make
sure your celebrant has the full text of your vows in
order to be able to prompt you if necessary.
Make your personal promises spontaneous
... by working off a prompt card with
dot points rather than completely written out vows.
Use a combination of the above
I often suggest to the couple that they repeat
the legal vows after me, and read their personal
promises. This allows the legal vows to be neatly
differentiated from the personal promises, and gives
them the confidence that there will be no slip-ups
that might compromise the legality of their marriage.
Do something different
The groom goes first. Then the bride. Then
At least, that's the way it is
done in church, and civil and celebrant-led weddings
have meekly followed suit ever since.
that couples dedicated to ensuring that they have an
equal relationship, together with same-sex couples, have
wrestled with but not necessarily questioned, ever
since. But it doesn't have to be that way.
- Choose who will go first
The legal vows have to be said individually, so
one of you will always need to say your legal vows
after the other, but there is no legal requirement
for who goes first. You can even put a bit of levity
into the process by doing Rock, Paper, Scissors
or tossing a coin to decide.
- Split your legal vows away from your personal
You can both individually say your legal vows
(and get them out of the way) and then both say your
personal promises, either individually or in unison.
There is a lot of power in making personal promises
in stereo. And that method works well either when
reading or when repeating after your celebrant.
- Interweave your personal promises
Instead of each saying your whole vow, take it
sentence and sentence about. That can be great fun.
- Exchange rings before
That's got a long history. In Roman times the rings
were given before the marriage rites, and this
carried through to the Catholic Church for some
considerable time. As the ring you are given is a
symbol of your best beloved's commitment to you,
exchanging rings before the vows doesn't change
- Or each put the ring on the tip of the other's
finger and say your vows, and then complete the
act of putting the ring on
I can just hear you saying "Huh?
are all so used to seeing the celebrant or clergy person
up front, actively involved in the couple's vows,
because it is Repeat after me.
There is nothing in the Marriage Act that says
anyone else has to be involved. So your celebrant can
step out of the way, you can whip out your cards and
just do it.
You can invite someone near and dear to lead your
through your vows. As long as you say your vows, and
those present hear you do it, who prompts you, or how
you do it is absolutely personal choice. You can also
have others hand you your vows cards, if you're going to
read your vows. Ditto with the rings. Personal choice.