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The Vows

The Vows

The Vows

At the heart of the ceremony

Whether traditional and standard like the ones we all more or less know, or original, thought out and written by each of you for the other, vows in a wedding ceremony cannot be missing. They are the heart, the acknowledgment of the passage that is happening in your life. They are the wonderful gift you give to each other.

In the Catholic Rite

In the Catholic ceremony, for example, they are standard and you can choose between three styles, although the most commonly used formula is:

Groom/Bride: I, (your name), take you, (partner's name), to be my husband/wife. I promise to be faithful to you always, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, and to love and honor you all the days of my life.

In the Civil Rite

The Civil Rite, in its purely legal form, does not provide for a true exchange of vows. There is the commitment to be spouses according to the articles of the civil code, read just before the explicit question posed to the couple, and in some ways, this is already an exchange of promises for the future. However, it is possible to ask the Mayor or their delegate to include a moment dedicated to the exchange of wedding vows, and in this case, you have more freedom in their formulation: you can exchange poems, love letters, etc.

In the Symbolic Ceremony

In a symbolic wedding, whether it includes the legal aspect or not, being a non-traditional ceremony, there is maximum freedom.

You can choose pre-written texts to read alternately, or simply formulated as a question from the celebrant and answered by the couple. You can exchange poems. You can even express your vow through singing. And finally, you can write them yourselves, making them certainly original and highly emotional.

Whatever formula you choose, your secular ceremony celebrant will guide you in the choice, proposing different styles, or helping you draft personal ones until the moment you exchange them.

Personal Vows

Personal vows are beautiful because they are authentic and that alone makes them special.

I know, just thinking about writing them can make you nervous.

In reality, it is far from complicated: let your feelings inspire you and the words will come without you even noticing. This is what couples tell me right after they have written them.

In any case, I recommend getting help from someone. If you turn to a professional celebrant, it's even better. This is because the vow is a surprise that you will pronounce and hear for the first time during the ceremony.

Help is important to ensure that a third person can receive the mutual vows to ensure there is balance. Particularly in the length of the text: if, for example, one vow is twenty lines and the other two pages, it is obvious that there is no balance. And it will not be nice to hear one of the spouses go on at length while the other has said little. Balance is also given by the tone. It is not necessary for the two vows to resemble each other, but it would be jarring to hear one too serious and the other too playful.

When couples choose this formula for their ceremony, I consult with each of them individually, guiding and advising them. Sometimes I help them bring out that initial spark from which to start the text. Finally, I make sure there is balance between the vows.

To give you a practical tip, I can tell you that the best vows consist of direct and straightforward sentences. There is no need to use sophisticated language or flowery expressions. Indeed, the closer the sentences are to the language you use with each other daily, the more they will achieve their purpose: to say how much you love each other!

Write about how you feel when you are together, what you love most about him/her, what makes you laugh about him/her, thank them for the love they give you every day. Promise to always support him/her in good times and bad, and (why not?) make a light-hearted reference to one of his/her quirks, saying, for example, "I love you even when... (or even if...)". In short, include the sweet and romantic side, but if you want, also the humorous side to bring a smile, adding a touch of authenticity.

Take inspiration from wherever you find it: songs, poems, prose, movies.

Read, for example, this one from the movie "When Harry Met Sally":

I love that you get cold when it's 25 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Contact Me

If you dream of a unique and personalized non-traditional ceremony, if you want to learn more about symbolic or civil rituals, or if you are looking for a professional lay celebrant in Sicily or Calabria, contact me.

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