Dot Point your Vows for Ease and Effect

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (21/10/2021)
Categories: | Vows | Wedding Ceremony |
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Spiral pad on which is written the words
                          My Dot Point Vows . A pink and turquoise pen.
                          Pink roses and white lisianthus with green
                          leavesSitting quietly with a cup of tea this morning, watching the cockatoos bicker in the gum tree in my front garden, I had a thought. Well, more than a thought, a bloody bright idea. One of those "so obvious, why didn't I think of it before" flashes of inspiration.

Rewind a little. When I talk to couples about writing their personal vows, I always suggest that they start with dot points*. Just jot down indicative words for what you want to promise one another. And then I talk through how to develop those thoughts into a vow they can read on the day or repeat after me. But I also tell them that, if they wish, they can send their dot points to me and I'll put words round them and send them back for them to get out their red pens. It is often easier to edit that to start with a blank sheet of paper trying to write sentences and paragraphs.

*  an item in a list that has a large dot in front of it to signify its importance. Also called bullet points. 

So what was the flash of inspiration?

Quite simple, really. Why not just use the dotpoints. Not only will a dot-pointed vow be easy to read, It will serve as a very handy check list down the years! No ambiguity. And no need to try to tell a story via your vows. Just pure intention and promises.

But won't we need extra words?

Well, yes. But not many! Just a few to act as a link or introduction to highlight what the list is about.

Is there a formula?

Absolutely! But that's the brilliant thing about doing dot pointed vows. Here's how I envisage they might go (but whatever you come up with that expresses who you are will be wonderful and personal)
  • An introductory sentence that says to your best beloved, and to everyone present, I'm in for the long haul, boots and all. Obviously, you could say that, word for word. Or you could be a bit more formal. Something like
    • [Name] with my whole heart, I commit to being the best husband/wife/spouse/partner I can be
    • With my whole heart, for my whole life
    • I'm so happy to be marrying you
  • I promise to be  .... followed by your dotpoints about how you are going to behave towards your best beloved, for example
  • kind
  • loving
  • supportive
  • understanding
  • And to do my best to (here's where you could list things that you aren't particularly fond of, but you know your partner is - more than a word is probably required!)
    • barrack for [TEAM]. even though I know that [YOUR TEAM] is better
    • learn to like [FILL IN THE BLANK]

Simple as.

You know what else is great about dot pointing your vows?

It will be easy to
  • Write them on your phone
  • Read them from your phone
  • Set up a group of all  of the guests at your wedding, and as you finish reading them say that you're sending your vows to everyone present as an indicator of you commitment to accountability.

Help is at hand - the alternative

There is no shame, or harm, in getting professional help to write your vows. And I'd love use my sixteen years of experience and expertise as a marriage celebrant to do that for you. 
Jenny xxx Let's talk
                        soon about how you can have the best ceremony
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