much ado about "I Do"
By Super Meredith
Vows mean different things to different people. Some think of them as the necessity of their ceremony that legally binds them for all of eternity, some think of them as a chance to freely express themselves to each other outside of all of the other predetermined formalities of the ceremony, and some don’t think about them at all until they’re asked to “repeat after me.” The bottom line is that all of these things are true and valid and just fine.
There’s no one right answer to what vows are and what they should mean to you. Generally speaking though, they are the spoken words of promise that you will make to one another to love each other – in whatever way, shape or format those words may turn out to be spoken. So they should will be meaningful to you regardless.
Given this, you have a couple of options of how you can handle the vows for your ceremony: you can either repeat a string of sentences that your officiant gives to you, of which can be straight from The Book of your religious or spiritual choice or loosely based off words from The Book, or you can write them yourself and read them (or recite them from memory if you’re extra talented and confident). Some people prefer to repeat and recite, some people prefer to write and recite. It’s also worth noting that depending on your religious or cultural traditions, there may be certain precedents in place for this if you so choose to follow them. Point being, you have options so go with your gut on what feels right for you and your partner and how you want things to flow.
Personally, my soon-to-be spouse and I chose to write our own vows. We’re both very sentimental people who love to express ourselves and our thoughts and feelings to one another on a regular basis, so it just felt right for us to read something in our own words from our hearts and minds rather than repeating what was written by someone else. We are also more so writers than public speakers, so that too played a role in our decision.
Though as I began writing my vows, I found myself wondering “What format should this be in? A letter recounting our experiences together and my plans for keeping our love alive in the future? Bullet points on each and every thing I promise to do or not do? How long should they be? Then I realized (after doing a little educated research and interviewing others on their experiences of course) that your vows can be whatever you want them to be. That, no matter what, those vows will be the spoken words of our promise to love each other, and we will both feel that in that moment and boy will that be special. After that, the words just flowed. I had to do some serious editing and paring down as I just LOVE to reminisce, but overall I am more than happy with our decision to write our own and can’t wait to read them to each other during our ceremony. Now if I can just manage to keep the tears at bay!