Examples of Vows and Promises
There are several ways of saying vows, commitments or promises. What matters most is agreeing what is most important to you as a couple, meaning what you say, and feeling comfortable with how it's said.
I can guide you through the whole process, both in writing the vows and delivering them on the day. You can be solemn and romantic. You can also raise a smile. There are no rules with a humanist wedding. Here are a few examples, but I can give you more guidance when we meet!
Reading vows to each other:
John: "Lucy, you have taught me the meaning of true love. You're my shoulder to lean on, the chaos to my calm; my best friend, my partner in crime and I hope that some day you will be the mother of my children and the co-owner of at least one dog.
I want nothing more than to grow old with you. You are so beautiful but that's not why I fell in love with you. I fell in love you you for a million reasons, and I vow to love and support you, to be loyal to you, to make you laugh, and to be the one you can rely upon forever."
Lucy: "John, I love you and your enthusiasm for our future, your compassion for other people and your spirit of adventure. I want to share all of life's triumphs, decisions and challenges with you and I will go anywhere with you, even if it means I have to watch football sometimes..
You take my breath away - not just because you are handsome, but because when I watch you being kind to people and animals I know there is no-one else I would like to share a family with. I realised you were 'the one' within days of meeting you. I love you now and I vow to love you, to be faithful to you, to support your dreams and to be your best friend for as long as we live."
Celebrant: "Do you vow to love Lucy and be her family through triumph and sorrow?"
John: "I do"
Celebrant: "Do you promise to encourage Lucy to grow and change, and to be supportive of her dreams?"
John: "I do".
Celebrant: "Lucy, do you promise to build a life with John, and share all your joys and sorrows with him?
Lucy: "I do".
Celebrant: "If you together have children, do you accept the commitment this requires to work together to nurture and guide them to maturity?"
Lucy: "I do".
Repeat after me, line by line - together or separately
Celebrant: "John please take Lucy's hands and repeat after me: I vow to be faithful to you in health and sickness, during times of want and plenty?""
Celebrant: "Lucy, please look at John and repeat after me: I promise to use a recipe as a guideline when fixing meals and will try to be more enthusiastic about going camping."
How do I start?
However you do it, it's entirely your choice! There is no right or wrong way – go with whatever you are both comfortable with.
Agree on vows – have the same vows and say the same words to each other.
Agree on vows – have slightly different vows so you say slightly different words to each other.
Send me something lovely that you want to say to each other, secretly, and I will add them into the script but you don’t get sight of each other’s lovely words. This could be words that you write, or you could use someone's else's words, or a poem or reading. Agree in advance if you are going to do – I promise to love and support you now and for the rest of my life – kind of thing OR whether you are just going to say a few lovely things to each other.
For 1 and 2, I can:
Print out the words – and give them to you on cards to read to each other in turn
Print out the words, and you read the same thing at exactly the same time, together, to each other
Do a “Repeat after me” so I say it first, and then you repeat a line at a time
Frame the vows as a question – eg “Do you Kevin, promise to do the washing up every night?” Then you both answer “I do”
You can also combine readings, vows and poems or your own words if you are having a symbolic act, such as ring exchange or hand fasting. This is a good way to add significance and emotion to the symbolic act but light heartedness and humour to the end of the vows.
Celebrant: Leanne and James have written their own words, which they will declare before you now, before they exchange rings in turn.
Leanne – I fell in love with you as soon as I met you. I love your optimism about life and I love that you are so easy to please. I promise to watch weepy films with you, I will always remove all the spiders from the house, and I will try not to steal the bedcovers at night, even though it’s nice when you cuddle up closer. I will always try to surprise you with things that are out of the ordinary because I love watching your face light up when you get excited. I will encourage and support every one of your dreams within reason, will always buy you chocolate with nuts in, and will always tell you what’s on my mind, because I know that I can talk to you about anything. As your husband, I vow to love, support, look after and be faithful to you through good times and tough times for the rest of my life.
James pushes wedding band onto Leanne's ring finger.
James, I love you exactly as you are. I promise to always support you wholeheartedly, I will encourage you to grow as a person, and I will go anywhere in the world with you, unless it involves a car show. You are the calm before and after the storm and you are the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. You are the yin to my yang and you constantly amaze me with your kindness, your patience, your love for me and the cat, and your exceptional tidiness. I promise to always say sorry when I am wrong, even though we both know I never am and I will always give up the window seat if you share the armrest. I will always be there to hold your hand, so that even when things are not right in the world, they are right with us. As your wife, I vow to love you, support you, look after you and be faithful to you as long as I live.
Leanne pushes wedding band onto James's ring finger.
Celebrant: “James – will you promise to love Leanne with all her impetuous ways, will you always share your chips in a restaurant, even when she said she didn’t want any, and will you love her the way that you do, laugh with her, support her mad ideas and try to avoid talking to her when she’s in a bad mood?
James : “I will”
Leanne – will you promise to let James organize everything that’s really important because he is more focused on the detail, will you try not to wear his favourite t-shirt for decorating, and will you continue to love him the way that you do, and let him rein you in when you are in the shoe shop?
Leanne: “I will”