While a civil wedding ceremony has a fairly standard format, there is plenty of scope within it to make it a personal statement of your love and commitment to each other.
The minimum vows for a legal civil wedding are included below, under legal declarations and contracting words. You can choose which version suits you best from each one: traditional, modern or simplified.
Traditional: I do solemnly declare, that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (your name) may not be joined in matrimony to (your partner’s full name).
Modern: I declare that I know of no legal reason why I (your name) may not be joined in marriage to (your partner’s full name).
Simplified: The Registrar asks: “Are you (your full name) free, lawfully, to marry (your partner’s full name)?” You reply “I am.”
Traditional: I call upon these persons, here present, to witness that I (your full name) do take thee (your partner’s full name) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.
Modern: I (your full name), take you (your partner’s full name) to be my wedded wife/husband.
Simplified: I (your full name) take thee (your partner’s full name) to be my wedded wife/husband.
Writing your wedding vows is a highly personal task and should not be done at the last minute. Leave enough time to write your wedding vows carefully so that you happy with them and can say them with confidence and pride on the day .
The first thing to do is to talk to your groom and make sure that you are both on the same page and are both happy with writing your own personal vows. If either of you have doubts it is best to avoid the bespoke wedding vows and go for the more traditional wedding vows. Once you have decided that the bespoke wedding vows are for you it is time to start the work. Find a quiet place with a pen and paper and start asking yourself what you want to say in your vows, What does your marriage mean to you? What is important in your relationship? What do you want to promise? What can your partner expect of you in your marriage?
The next stage is to look at the professionals at work. Find love poems, love stories and famous love writing for inspiration for your bespoke vows. Highlight sections, phrases and words which you like, evoke emotion or really ring a bell in your relationship. Once you have done this bring all your work together and pare everything down to the minimum and bare emotion. If you are still struggling it is probably because you are trying to make it too complicated! Keep it simple, it is a vow and not a speech. Finally practice makes perfect!
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