Why Writing Your Own Wedding Vows Is Important

Why Writing (Or Choosing) Your Own Wedding Vows Is Important!

It’s important that we take back our rites and rituals. That we reclaim our spiritual and philosophical sovereignty.

For more reasons than I can name here, we’ve handed our authority over to others - to our parents, religious institutions, spouses, bosses, doctors, gurus, coaches, culture, educators, and the media.

As a wedding officiant I see this “outsourcing of authority” manifest especially strongly when it comes to wedding vows.

It's surprising to me how many couples don't take the time to reflect on the wedding vows they’ll be making to each other, which essentially forms the ground (or covenant) of their marriage.

Since I’m a bit of a trickster, whenever I see this happening, I rub my hands together with a dubious twinkle in my eyes because it means that I’m the one who gets to decide what a couple will promise one another under the altar.

But honestly, I much prefer it when couples write their own wedding vows, and make promises to each other in proportion to their natures and private knowing of each other, and staying true to themselves and to the spirit of their relationship. It delights me when they use the opportunity of their wedding vows to highlight what is already alive and well between them, and to stretch a bit so that they keep growing and evolving as a couple.

Why should it be me who determines their vows, or anyone else for that matter? How can I or anyone else ever really know what happens behind closed doors, or know the way they navigate the turbulence of their relational dynamics?

Some couples just feel confused and don't know how or what to write. They need help, and that's great. That's when we can put our imaginations together and create something meaningful and true. That’s the sweet spot where my 15 years of training and experience in ceremony creation and facilitation can coalesce with their vision, values and relationship to create something honest and life-giving.

However, some couples legitimately don't want to think about it, or they just can't be bothered. But it's not easy to get behind words that don’t have your own stamp on them, or keep promises that don’t truly resonate for you, or that feel contrived and rote. It's kind of like pulling the covers over your eyes because you don't want to deal with a major part of your life.

Just to be clear, I’m not here to judge! I’m actually here to encourage your self-agency and to help you along the way. As in unlimited drafts until we get it just right.

I’m of the mind that our relationships (and our culture) would be very different if we looked within (at least more than we look without), determined what was true for ourselves, questioned our beliefs and conditioning, challenged the status quo, and insisted on things that had relevance and meaning.

I hope that we can all wake up to the ways that we give our thoughts, preferences, and choices away, break free from influences that obscure our unabashed self-expression, take back our rites and reclaim our rituals.

I’d love to hear your take on writing your own wedding vows. Please share it in the comments below!