Wedding vows—maybe the most heartfelt part of the ceremony, and one of many moments when you might hear sniffles in the crowd. And, now more than ever, couples are mixing it up when it comes to this part of the service. We’re seeing some couples do away with tradition and even go as far as not exchanging vows at all or reading them privately before the service. For those that are looking forward to hearing their partner express the promises of their new union in front of their loved ones, the question still remains, do you go with traditional vows—or do you write your own?
Traditional vows are those usually tied-in with a religion or culture. And most of the time, the husband will say his first. In the Jewish religion, for example, the couple will recite the Seven Blessings (Sheva Berakhot) along with the exchanging of the rings. The most familiar, at least in Western movies, may be the Protestant or Methodist vows. The Protestant vows include “I, (your name), take you, (partner’s name), to be my (husband/wife), 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 . . . ” The Methodist version is a call and response, where the officiant will ask if they will love and honor each other in sickness and in health, and the only words uttered by the couple are “I do.”
Going the traditional route over writing your own vows is a completely personal choice, and 100% does not reflect the couple’s dedication or creativity. Elvis and Priscilla went this route—and so does every royal couple!
Personal vows, on the other hand, are notoriously hard to write, but are often worth it in the long run. In Sex and the City 2, Anthony says, “It was not exactly love at first sight, but it turns out, it was love. You are the first man to accept me for the man that I actually am,” at his wedding to Stanford in Connecticut. Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camilla Alves, reportedly whispered their vows to each other. And Jennifer Aniston vowed to always make Brad Pitt his favorite banana milkshake—yes, really.
If writing isn’t your forte, but you know you want your vows to feel personal, think about employing a service like Speech Tank. This small, female led company of speech writing experts helps people perfect whatever it is they want so that it comes across as sweet, sincere, humorous, and above all heartfelt.
The bottom line is don’t stress about whether or not to do traditional or personal vows—you can always switch methods at a future vow renewal! Vows so nice, say them twice! . . . or three, four, ten times?