As a Wedding Celebrant, you want everyone to cry, laugh and perhaps cheer, during the vows. That moment in the ceremony where the people they are all there to celebrate, declare their love for each other. With promises for the way they will honour and support each other for the rest of their lives. Helping your clients with their wedding vows is one of the unique, enjoyable, challenging and fabulous parts of the role.
Writing your wedding or renewal vows can feel a little overwhelming. It can feel so strange that it is often the reason people dread this part of their big day. On more than one occasion, I have been approached by one half of a couple I am working with, who is tearful and stressed. Their concern? ‘They’re a much better writer than I am’ or ‘I’m not good with words like they are.’ And in that truth, filled with fear of letting down the person they love, their wedding has become a nightmare for them.
It’s a good idea to offer choice when it comes to helping your clients with their wedding vows:
- Supporting them to write their own vows
- Working with them together to create a set of mutual vows
- Writing their vows for them, with their input and approval
There is no right or wrong solution. This is a very personal decision. I encourage the couples I work with, to get to know me better before they decide. Letting them know there is no urgency (provided there isn’t of course) is reassuring and removes a lot of pressure.
You will often find that people have made big assumptions about how long or detailed their vows need to be. There is a huge misrepresentation in the media that suggests nothing short of poetry will be sufficient. Let them know early on that there are options. This will help them relax and enjoy the rest of the process of working with you.
Remind them that one of the advantages of working with you, is that there are no rules about the vows. Even what to call them is up to their personal choice. I recommended to my students, that they create some vows to share with clients who are unsure where to start. Let them see there are lots of options and a multitude of ways to express what they want to say.
Some of my favourites from recent years include:
- ‘I vow to always have your back.’
- ‘I make this commitment to you today, my one true love. That you will always be the person I come home to.’
- ‘I swear that I will always put you second to the cat. Above every other human in our lives. Forever.’
- ‘We promise to nurture this precious gift with care and commit to making time for each other a priority.’
Supporting them to write their own vows requires a commitment of time on your part. I believe it is well invested. I let them know they are free to contact me in confidence if they want any help with their vows.
often I create a set of mutual vows, as not all couples enjoy the Public Declaration of Love. As you get to know them you will get a feel for whether this could relieve their concerns.
Most importantly, don’t push them into the option you want them to choose. This has to be their decision. You want to advise them and make sure they are aware that options exist. Be as flexible as you can be so that they know they have time to make the right decision.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a Wedding and Vow Renewal Celebrant, or you want to refresh your skills to offer vow renewals to your clients, take a look at the training we offer here.
This blog was written by Dinah Liversidge. Chief Training Officer and Master Coach. You can book a FREE zoom and coffee session with Dinah to talk about the training options and coaching for Celebrants here.