Writing Personal Vows
I strongly suggest that couples write a personal vow to each other. This is your moment. You may be nervous about speaking to a large group, but remember that the witnesses at your wedding are your dear family and friends.
You do not have to memorize your words. I will have them printed out on a card, ready to hand to you at the moment in the ceremony they are needed. (Even actresses I have married do not memorize their personal vows!)
This document includes 10 samples of personal vows ( contact me for more samples) and a section of poetry as vows as well. Use this as a jumping off point, to write your own personal vows.
Vows can be done a few different ways
- You may choose the same personal vow from the sample vows included in this chapter
- You may each choose your own personal vow from those sampled here
- You may write a personal vow together
- You may write separate personal vows and surprise each other on your wedding day (a popular choice)
Like others, you may feel intimidated to write something, especially writing something that will be said in front of a large group of guests. I have included some simple instructions I give to couples in “How To Write Your Own Vows.”
How To Write Your Personal Vows
Writing your own vows is not as scary as you may think. I can be fun, and quite easy. It can also be a meaningful exercise for you and enhancing to your wedding ceremony. Vows also serve you for your lifetime together. When things get rough, re-reading your vows to one another can be just what is needed to remember your wedding day, remember your love, and recommit to each other.
Think about your partner. Think about why in the entire world, this is the right person for you. Think about your relationship and your future. What are the promises you want to make to this person? What are words that will tell your partner what they mean to you? What is important to you as you enter into the unknown future together?
Below are examples of wedding vows, from traditional to creative. One of these samples may say exactly what you need to express. Or, you may choose to use a part of one, mixed with a part of another. As you read through the samples, speak them aloud. Try them on for fit. You will know what is right for you. Or, if you are comfortable and ambitious, you may choose to write your own vows. You can start from one of the samples and go from there.
Sample Personal Vows
- Thank you for coming into my life and for being such a wonderful partner. ____, I choose you to be my husband/wife. In the knowledge that I will never do this perfectly, I promise to, as consciously as I can, always be grateful for your presence in my life. I promise to choose my words with care, knowing that what I say to you will either nurture our love or begin the process of its destruction. I choose to create a safe haven for you to grow and be a place to heal and to feel accepted. I offer my care, my comfort, my love, my wisdom, truth, patience, and kindness, and when necessary, my forgiveness. I offer the gift of listening – listening to your joys and sorrows, confusion and tribulations. I promise to treat with care your emotional well-being. I will celebrate your joys and victories and rejoice in your achievements. I promise to remember love is an action and not a feeling, and to act that way always. I’ll be your best friend. I promise to always be truthful and faithful to myself and to you. I promise to take good care of myself, because without me there is no us. I commit myself to my own growth, and to yours, in this bond of marriage.
- ____, I will share and support your hopes and visions, helping to fulfill them in any way I can. I will strive to maintain joy, imagination, and newness in our union. I will keep our highest good as my first intention. I will never do anything to compromise what we have, and in keeping with this, I will remain conscious to never take you for granted. When life becomes difficult, I will share your burden and divide your pain. I will give you strength of spirit, nurture your body, and protect your heart. I will also continue to take care of myself, to inspire your love, and to ensure, as best I can, that you’ll always want what you have. When you laugh, I will share and delight in your joy. I ask that we challenge each other to become all that we can be. My hands will be forever open to you so that we may continue to walk this world together. I cannot express in words how much I love you, and it would take me a lifetime to show you just how much you mean to me. And that is what I intend to do, spend my life with you, demonstrating my respect, my admiration, and my love, completely and forever.
- ____, with a free and unconstrained soul, I give you all I am and all I am to become. I give you my heart and with it faith, respect, patience, and love, for all the days of my life.
- All that I am and all that I have, I offer to you, my love, my friend – in joy, in service, in sacred union.
- From this day on, I choose you, my beloved ____, to be my husband/wife. To live with you and laugh with you. To stand by your side, and sleep in your arms. To bring joy to your heart and food to your soul. To bring out the best in you always, and to be the most that I can be. To laugh with you in the good times and to struggle with you in the bad. To give you solace when you are downhearted. To wipe your tears with my hands. To comfort you with my body. To mirror you with my soul. To share with you all of my riches and honors. To play with you as much as I can. I promise you this, from my heart and with my soul, for all the days of my life.
- I, ____, accept you, ____, as my husband/wife/partner in life. To join our lives and energy together. To spend our days in friendship and love. To support and encourage your growth as my own. To always be open and willing to listen. To seek to be centered in love and serenity through all the changes of life. To nurture and tend the divine light in you and in myself. To manifest the highest good for ourselves, for those we love and for beings everywhere.
- In the presence of this community, I, ____, choose you, ____, to be my partner from this time forward. To love you. To be a comfort and safe haven in your life. To hold you close. To listen deeply when you are sad or angry. To learn compassion with you. To nourish you with gentleness. To love your body as it ages. To weigh the effects of the words I speak and of things I do.
- ____, I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife. Before these witnesses, I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you, with all your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.
- I promise to you today, before God, our family, and friends, to stand by your side, and unfailingly share and support your hopes and dreams. I vow to always be here for you through thick and thin. When you fall, I will catch you. When you cry, I will comfort you. When you laugh, I will share your joy. No matter what lies ahead for us, I will see it as a journey –
one that can only be completed by the two of us together. From this moment, everything I am and everything I have is yours, and for eternity, my love for you will remain.
- ____, from this day forward, I will be here for you. I will sing your joys, cry your sorrows, and stand by your side through whatever life may bring your way. From this day forward, through good times and bad, I will live with you, change and grow old with you, and do all that I can to keep our marriage strong and happy, and alive with possibilities. From this day forward, I will cherish you. With joy, I look toward the path of our tomorrows, finding peace and happiness, knowing we will walk together, side by side, hand in hand, and heart to heart. We have waited such a long time, and now that we are here, let us make our joys and dreams come true, with our love growing through the years.
Poetry as Personal Vows
A lovely way to add poetry and have unique vows is for the bride and groom to recite a poem together. Below are a few poems I love for this purpose.
I Promise, by Dorothy R. Colgan
Bride: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.
Groom: I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires, and needs are no less important than my own.
Bride: I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy, strength, and imagination to our relationship.
Groom: I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.
Bride: I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.
Groom: I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how, completely and forever.
Wedding Poem, by Rabindranath Tagore
(Bride and groom recite together)
It is for the union of you and me that there is light in the sky.
It is for the union of you and me that the earth is decked in dusky green.
It is for the union of you and me that the night sits motionless with the world in her arms; dawn appears opening the eastern door with sweet murmurs in her voice. The boat of hope sails along the currents of eternity toward that union, flowers of the ages are being gathered together for its welcoming ritual. It is for the union of you and me
(Bride only says) that this heart of mine, in the garb of a bride,
(Groom only says) that this heart of mine, in the garb of a groom,
(Both continue together again) has proceeded from birth to birth
upon the surface of this ever-turning world to choose the beloved.
(OR CHANGE THIS LAST LINE TO: “to choose you, my Beloved.”)
Wedding Poem, by Kuan Tao-Sheng
(Both recite together)
You and I
Have so much love
(bride only says)
Burns like a fire,
In which we take a lump of clay,
Molded into a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
(Groom only says)
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
(Bride only says)
I am in your clay. You are in my clay.
(Groom only says)
I am in your clay. You are in my clay.
(Both continue together again)
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we share one bed.