Connecticut Justice of the Peace
Ernest Adams — (860) 543-2334
Celebrating Your Day Your Way!
One of the nice things about the Internet is that you can find a wealth of information, but sometimes it seems overwhelming. There are times that too much information is worse than not enough! Maybe that's the way you feel about writing your own wedding vows, too....
The words a Justice of the Peace will say when marrying a couple should depend on what the couple wants. Some couples want to include promises to God in their vows, while other people prefer not to mention God at all. Do you want to say "forever" or "as long as our love shall last"? You always have choices for your wedding vows, at least with me.
Let's start slowly. What do you want to express to each other? (Too basic? Read on.) "I love you." is certainly on the list. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." is probably near the top, too. (So far, it's simple!)
"When I read your Profile on Match dot Com, I was hooked."
"When I saw you on the beach at sunset I knew I had to meet you."
"Chris had said so many good things about you that I didn't think you could be real. Then we met, and I found it was all true."
"You were so forgiving when I accidentally broke your vase."
"Seeing the way your treated my kids, I knew that I wanted you to be their other parent."
"I love doing everyday things with you, like working in the garden."
"I promise to stop and ask for directions when I'm driving and we get lost, trust you when you tell me that my tie doesn't go with my shirt, and let you lead when we dance."
"I promise not to correct your grammar in public, to smile when your friend calls me 'the keeper', and let you think that you're leading when we dance."
Remember, while the ceremony is important, it doesn't have to be boring! You can put some humor into your vows to make them reflect your history and personalities.
"We've come from a third-floor walkup apartment to our own condo. You made each place seem like a mansion. Soon we'll have our own farm to raise kids and horses."
"You're the one person who always laughs at my jokes. I want to keep you laughing for the rest of our lives."
"I want to take care of you when you need someone to lean on, serve you breakfast in bed, and hold your hand while our children are being born."
... and write some thoughts about vows on it. (You'll see why paper and not a computer in a moment.) When you have a little time, take out the paper and do some editing. Stuck in a traffic jam? Waiting for your food? Have a few minutes before the show starts? Those are times that you could use a break and de-stress by working on your vows.
You can write either repeat-after-me wedding vows or your own question-and-answer wedding vows.
When you write repeat-after-me wedding vows, you will be prompted to say your own words, expressing your own thoughts and feelings.
If you word your vows as questions rather than statements, it is best to have all your vows formed as either "Do you ...?" or "Will you ...?" questions, so that all your answers are the same, either "I do." or "I will."
The answer is always "It's your wedding!" Each of you can have your own set of vows. (It's especially important for humorous vows!)
Here is one sample of different vows:
"Zelda, I love you for making me better, and happy, and whole. I promise to open the wine without spilling any on the tablecloth, say 'Port' not 'That red stuff' when we have company, and 'Left' not 'Port' when giving directions while you're driving. And I'll remember to say 'I love you' without the word 'but' following it."
"Ziggy, I love you. Not just for who you are, but for who I am when I'm with you. I promise not to complain if there's a piece of cork in my wine, say 'Thank you' when you tell me I've missed a turn instead of 'Aye, aye Captain', and remember to say 'I love you' without you saying it first."
There are no "wrong" words! Whether you call the person you are marrying your soul mate, your beloved, your partner, or any other word, your intentions are much more important than the words that you use. You want to show respect and love for your soul mate, so of course you will use only positive words.
The best words are the words that express how you feel toward the person that you are marrying. The most profound emotions can be expressed in the simplest words. Think of the three small words "I love you." Eight letters, three syllables, two nouns, one verb. Yet they sum up the most intense of all human feelings.
It depends on what you want! Some couples work on their vows together, so that each will know what the other is going to say. Other couples write their vows separately, surprising each other on their wedding day.
If you are going to say the same vows to each other, then working together probably makes the most sense. You could begin separately, work alone for an agreed-upon time, then work together on the final version of your vows.
If you are going to promise different things to each other, then keeping your vows secret from each other may be the way to go. Part of your decision making process might include "Do I want to be surprised?" For many couples, the answer is "Yes! Being surprised by the person I love the most is part of our romance."
If you decide to keep your vows secret, then you two should probably agree on some guidelines, such as "'I love you' will be the last thing we say.", "We'll each use just one phrase of the lyrics from our song.", and "Our vows will be about six sentences long for each of us."
As with everything else, I'll help you in any way that I can.
No. In fact, I strongly urge you not to try to memorize your vows! Your wedding day is a very happy day, and it will also be a stressful day. If you try to memorize your wedding vows you are likely to get lost and frustrated. When you and I meet for your planning session, we'll discuss how to say your own vows without stress.
That is a good question, and another reason why you should have an experienced wedding officiant help you! In addition to helping you write your own vows (if you'd like help), I'll make sure that your wedding ceremony flows smoothly and effortlessly.
Parents often ask "... how to include our child in our wedding vows". It may seem harder to express how we feel toward children in a way that they will understand than to adults. The best advice: Keep it simple and sincere.
Is saying vows to your children at your wedding important to you? Marriage vows that welcome children into your life should be appropriate for each child's age. Including children in your wedding vows helps them feel like they are your children. Vows for blended families do not have to be like traditional vows, they can be much more contemporary. As with any vows, your feelings should be summed up in ways that you find express your emotions. Do you want to promise to take care of your child? Do you want to promise to treat every child equally? Do you want to promise to take special care of your child's other parent? How about asking for your child's help in making your family complete?
"Jenny, thank you for making me your dad. There has been something missing from my life, and it was you."
"Pete, you have always made me proud of you. You quickly welcomed Mike into our family, and today he's officially yours and mine to keep."
"Grace, I've watched you grow and bloom like a flower. I promise to help you with your homework, even the algebra, and remind your dad now and then that you're old enough to choose your own friends."
"James, thank you for being a great baseball player. If it weren't for you, your mother and I wouldn't have met at the baseball game. I promise to help you take care of her."
A child's wedding vow can be very simple and heart-felt. Perhaps a few words welcoming you into the child's family would be appropriate ("Jason, I'm happy you're joining our family."). If you and the child's other parent feel that it would be a good idea, your child could ask for your help taking care of the child's other parent ("Please help me take care of Mom."). No matter what the child's age, a child can say something that will melt your heart. Usually it is best to keep what the child says brief and simple.
"Thank you for teaching me how to catch fish, and not getting mad when I spilled the worms. I promise to be good and help mommy until you get back."
"Thanks for being my new mom. I promise to help empty the dishwasher, feed the dog, and give you and dad your alone time."
"Thank you for making my father smile again. You brought sunshine into our darkness. I love you."Back to top of Page
Copyright © 2013 Ernest Adams — All rights reserved.
Version 6.00 19 September 2013