Marriage Vows

Marriage Vows

You’re getting married, congratulations. You have your celebrant booked and now it’s time to add some personal details to your marriage ceremony wording.

The vows part of your ceremony is really special. This is the time in the ceremony you can express to each other your love and promises.  It’s also the time in your ceremony when after you have both said your vows, you are now legally married.

Wedding vows in some form can be dated to the Roman Empire (17 BC – 476 AD).  The oldest traditional wedding vows, however, can be traced back tothe manuals of the medieval church. The couples in these marriages would promise to “love and cherish” or, alternatively, the groom promises to “love, cherish, and worship”, and the bride to “love, cherish, and obey”.

Wedding vows have come a long way since then, thank goodness. Now couples although having to say the required legal vows can now add their own personal vows after this.

In this post, I will be providing you with some easy tips on writing your own personal vows to your partner.


Legal Vows do I need to say them?

Yes. If you wish to be legally married in Australia then you must say the legal vows as stated in the Marriage Act 1961.

Subsection 45(2) of the Marriage Act sets out the minimum words (or vows) which must be used by the couple for a non-religious (civil) ceremony to be a marriage ceremony: Each of the parties to the marriage must say the vows to each other.

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded (wife, husband or spouse).

Couples wishing to personalise their vows further are able to lengthen their vows by adding their chosen wording after saying the minimum words (so long as any material added does not contradict the minimum vows).

Nicknames should not be used in the legal section of the vows. However, shortened names or nicknames may be used in the personal vow section.



Why is adding your own personal vows special?

After you have said the legal section of your vows you can add your personal section.

This is where you can add your personality, feelings, and promises.

When you start to write your personal vows, just remember to make them about you and your feelings for each other. 



The easiest way to start is to write down the answers to the following questions in point form. 

* What you love about the other person

* What you love about your relationship

* Why you decided to get married

* What you promise for the future

Then extend them into sentences using your own words. If you need any help writing your vows or if you would just like a sounding board to hear what you have written ask your celebrant for help.

Just remember not to make your marriage vows too long as it will make it hard for you to get through them on the day, especially if you are emotional when you need to read them.

It’s also a really lovely idea to keep your marriage vows a surprise for each other only revealing them during your ceremony. It’s a special gift you can give to one another on your wedding day.

Example of personal marriage vows

This morning I woke up excited because today is the day I marry my best friend. I love how when I’m too busy to be there to do household duties, you always look after things. You are the most beautiful, smart, and generous person I have ever known. I promise to continue wiping away your tears with my laughter, and your pain with my caring and my compassion. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, my best friend. I will love you forever.


Don’t be afraid to write your own personal marriage vows. You can’t get them wrong if they are from your heart. 



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