What you will remember most about your Northern Michigan wedding ceremony, even more than the wedding dress, the weather, or anything in the wedding address is the vows you and your partner exchange. Whether traditional or contemporary, the vows you pick contain the words that express how you will give your heart and mind and soul to each other in the lifetime ahead of you. So you must choose your vows wisely. If you are considering writing wedding vows, remember they set the tone for the quality of your commitment.
Over the last few years, I have noticed many couples chosing traditional vows. These are the vows that promise, “for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” In many ways these vows have been exchanged so many times over the centuries that they have a life of their own. They reach back into a time when people stayed married for 50 years, indeed forever. With today’s dire statistics that predict the fragility of relationships, tradition can help to strengthen a couple’s resolve to remain together for the rest of their life. If you need that kind of support, i.e., the strength of the ages, than these are the perfect wedding vows for you.
In your relationship, you and your mate are the ones who define what it means to be in YOUR relationship. There are no real “shoulds”, other than the ones you accept. You two are the pair who will make it or break it. While it’s true that the relationships of the past had longevity going for them, they clearly were not perfect. Women were treated more like chattle and little they had to say was taken seriously into consideration because the man was the head of the household and that was that, sister! Some couples stayed married who would have been much better off getting a divorce. Both women AND men have put up with infidelity, dishonesty, dysfunction, and abuse in the name of keeping their “for better or for worse” promise.
While you may want to call on the strength of history to support your vows, it is important to understand that the blessing of our contemporary times is the ability to review our commitments. When you make this promise to each other, be sure that you realize how things can change, veils can be stripped away, and you will undoubtedly be called on to bring forth from yourself strengths and resolve you didn’t know you had. Love can grow in you, that is a given. But love evolves often by showing you many faces, and by challenging you not only with the depths of joy, but also with indifference and hardship. For better – success, miracles, children, travels, and for worse — infidelity, dishonesty, dysfunction, and abuse. In sickness – really life threatening, body maiming illness; for economic problems and wealth. These vows say you are truly in this relationship for the long haul.
Your vows are about consciousness. It’s similar to hearing Celine Deon or Carrie Underwood sing the national anthem, or Roseanne Barr or the guy down the street. The thought behind the words, and the way the words make your heart feel, matters. They set a tone.
Another tone, yet encompassing the more traditional vows are also very popular:
I promise to encourage you in good times and bad. I shall cherish and respect you all the days of my life, forever giving thanks that we found each other.
These vows suggest freedom, equality and state that being cherished and respected are important. Because there is less tradition in these vows, there is a different “tone” about what the future may bring. Whatever tomorrow and the next day and the next brings, you’ll be there for each other and you will appreciate each other through good times and bad.
These two examples of vows are invitations to test how they feel in your heart. Both make beautiful promises, but the way they feel is different. Because I offer a number of choices, you can find vows that will suit the consciousness of you and your fiancé.
If you are a couple who wants to write your own wedding vows, or combine several selections into one vow, remember that you do not have to cover all the bases. I’m always happy to accommodate whatever vows you want. However, don’t try to say too much. It’s all relevant, I know, and the many words (I’ve been in weddings where they read whole pages of vows to each other) can sound and feel very meaningful when you discussing what to say to each other in the privacy of your home. But I have stood with a couple many times and the vows go on and on. From my perspective, the couple gets visibly uncomfortable. For most of us, being in front of a lot of people is hard enough. Then, sharing your heart so publicly can seem more than you want or need to do. In front of a crowd of people, one minute can feel like five minutes. I can psychically feel them wishing I’d hurry up, get the vows over with. These are the words PLUS FEELINGS that will plant themselves in your heart whether you remember the exact words or not.
Tip #6 is to choose the vows that reflect who you are. They must be a reflection of love, your confidence level, your inner sense of security, adventure and creativity. Your vows should reflect what you both need to say as well as hear, because they can pave the way through better or worse for the rest of your life together. See examples of the vows I provide to my couples at Wedding Vow Examples.
An extra tip about creating your vows is to keep the length of your vows in mind. The selection of vows I offer you are short and sweet, meaningful and amendable. Add or delete, or mix up some pieces, but try to keep them to a reasonable length.
Click for another wedding vow image