ADVICE - Fools Rush In: Humanist Celebrant, Jennie Hermolle, Shares How to Best Prepare Your Wedding Vows

1st April 2020

It's April 1st, the day one would typically be wary of being made a fool of - and on your wedding day, the last thing you want to do is make a fool of yourself while you're making your vows!

Luckily, we have Jennie Hermolle, a humanist celebrant, on hand to guide you. She crafts wedding ceremonies that are rooted in each couple’s life experiences and the people and places they love. The result is a naturally warm and meaningful ceremony, that starts each wedding day with joy!  

Sam Jayne Photography

Writing your wedding vows

Words matter. All the more so in a green, eco-friendly wedding, when you’re focused on amplifying the meaning of the day and minimising the waste! In this context, words are all-powerful and blissfully carbon-free. The words of your wedding ceremony should tell your story and celebrate your love. And your vows are at the emotional heart of your wedding.

I know writing personal vows can seem a little intimidating at first, but emotion doesn't require grand prose. In my experience, simple, heartfelt words are just as, if not more effective. Speaking from the heart is always enough.

Vows can also be described as promises, commitments, or pledges to each other. But whatever you call them, they should express your love and commitment in your own way, using words that feel right to you.  

Working with all kinds of couples from flamboyant to the most humble, I see how glad couples are that they invested some time and thought into creating their own personal vows.

Where to start writing your wedding vows? 

The best place to start is by thinking through what you love most about your partner. What characteristics define them? What qualities do they bring to your lives together? Remember, this is your moment to praise the person you love most in the world, acknowledge what makes them unique, and share why they are so important to you. So, don’t hold back!

What do you want to promise each other in marriage?

Kerry Schofield Photography

Next, it’s great to think about the promises you want to make to your partner for the years ahead. What will you commit to doing, and keep doing, to keep your relationship strong over the long-term? Promises can be serious such as: "I promise to stand by your side, and bring out the best in you, through all life’s adventures,” or more light-hearted such as: “I promise to laugh at your jokes (most of the time)!” In fact, the best vows are often a beautiful balance of sincerity and humour.

Speak your future

They say the best way to predict the future, is to create it. So, it’s great to close your vows by expressing your hopes and intentions for the future. What do you want to create your lives together; what do you want your shared future to look like? 

How to say it?

There are lots of different ways that you can deliver your vows to each other so do ask your celebrant to talk you through the options, and help you pick a style that you feel comfortable with and suits you best. You might like to say your vows quietly to each other or deliver them with humour in a way that plays to the crowd. You could take it in turn to make one promise each, so your vows flow back and forth between you like a conversion. Or you might choose to save the words you’ve written as a surprise, sharing them for the first time with each other on your wedding day.  

Your celebrant can help!

Your celebrant can give you lots of help and support for writing your vows. Chat to them if you get stuck and send them an early draft to get some feedback. For example, as celebrants are skilled in writing prose to be spoken aloud, they may be able to suggest a very slight tweak to the word order that gives your own words the cadence and impact they deserve.  

You know best what lies at the heart of your relationship. So, there is huge power in owning and personalising the words by which you commit to each other on your wedding day. Speaking them aloud, and hearing your partner speak their vows to you will be the emotional highlight of your wedding day.

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