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The exchange of wedding vows is one of the most memorable parts of any wedding ceremony. They have been a part of just about every type of ceremony that has taken place. Whether you’re having a religious ceremony, a non-religious, contemporary, traditional, modern, or something in between – the vows are a staple in wedding ceremonies.

Many couples I meet with also feel a lot of pressure when planning this part of their ceremony. They either don’t know how to handle this part of the ceremony or think that they need to write and memorize their vows. Since most people are shy when it comes to being in front of people, they stress about what their vow ceremony will look like.

It doesn’t have to be stressful! One thing I always mention to couples is that this is their ceremony. They do not have to follow tradition or what they see on tv or the movies. They don’t have to do what their parents did or what their friends or relatives did. They should feel free to make their ceremony fit their personalities.

When it comes to the vows, there are basically 3 ways I’ve seen that you can do your wedding vows in your ceremony.

Write and Recite Your Vows to Each Other

Many couples want to make this part of their ceremony very personal. They feel comfortable speaking in public and are gifted writers. But even if you’re not either of these, don’t let that stop you from writing your own vows if you wish! There are a lot of resources online to help you craft your vows as well. Simply Google “wedding vows” and you’ll find an infinite number of examples!

Many couples will write their vows and include stories, humor, inside jokes, and their personal hopes and dreams. They will share what they love about their fiancee, what they look forward to, and what they promise to them.

Some couples will decide to memorize their vows, but that is actually very rare. In the 80+ weddings I’ve officiated, only 1 couple has ever memorized them. Typically, they will write them and then read them to each other during the ceremony.

When I have couples that write their vows and want to read them to each other, I recommend they send them to me to provide for them. I will print them out on a half-sheet of cardstock and bring it with me in my notes folder. I then hand the cards to the couple when it’s time for them to read. This way, they don’t have to remember to bring them and aren’t taking out crumbled pieces of paper from their pockets! I don’t even know where a bride would keep her vows!

Write Your Vows and Respond

Another option is to write your own vows, but simply respond with “I do,” or “I will,” at the end and let the minister say them. This is a great option if you want to personalize your vows, but aren’t comfortable speaking in public.

If you use this format, be sure to write your vows in the 3rd person so that they will make sense when the minister reads them.

Use Pre-Written Vows and Respond

Finally, many couples are very comfortable with this last option, and in fact, most couples I work with choose this one. They ask me to use traditional vows that I’ve written and just respond at the end with “I do.” This is the most common way to do vows that I’ve seen in couples that I’ve worked with.

Whichever way you choose to organize and do your vows, I hope you will take this advice: this is your ceremony and you should be happy with the way you choose!

For couples I work with, I provide help writing and organizing wedding vows. If you’re interested in booking a no-obligation consult, feel free to contact me to set that up!