Writing Your Own Vows

How You Can Take The Worry Out Of Writing Yours

Hey thanks so much for landing on my website and this page! I’m absolutely delighted to introduce Laura Gimson from Humanist Ceremonies. I’m always looking to make new friends within the wedding suppliers I work with. I was super lucky to work alongside Laura during Paul and Cecile’s wedding in the Cotswolds.

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Something else I’m always looking to do is to add value and provide as much help as I can for brides to be. Thats why Im super excited to share this awesome content with you. There are many more helpful articles across my website if you fancy reading more. Anyway enough from me here’s Laura;

Laura Gimson Humanist Celebrant
Laura giving the ceremony at Barnsley House

As a Humanist Celebrant, my job is to help create one-of-a-kind, non-religious wedding ceremonies. Instead of those stuffy, off-the-peg scripts that all guests dread, you can celebrate and reflect your relationship in glorious technicolour! 

Without the constraints that church or registry office weddings impose, you have complete creative freedom. It’s a chance to tell your story – to laugh, to cry and to be joyful! And if you want to enter to the theme tune from Game Of Thrones, include a traditional German log sawing, or have your dog as your best man, that’s all A-OK with me (though arguably, your mother-in-law might feel differently!) The most fundamental of differences though, is when it comes to your vows. Because instead of picking from a menu of pre-decided options, you can write your own!

Coupe tie the knot after Humanist Ceremony
Couple tie the knot during Laura’s service

Your vows summarise exactly what you’re signing up to in marriage. They’re a kind of verbal contract which outline what you’re promising to one another and the values you’ll seek to live your married lives by. And if you get them right, they’ll make even the most hardened of wedding guests come over all dewy-eyed! But the mere thought of attempting to put pen to paper brings many couples out in a nervous rash. So I’ve pulled together some hints and tips that should get you off to a flying start!


Keep it simple!

There are endless ways to structure your vows but the very simplest is just to come up with six or seven endings to the phrase “I promise to…” Or, if you’re nervous about public speaking, your celebrant can ask “Do you promise to…” so you only have to reply with “I do”.

Make them timeless

Generally speaking, I don’t believe in ‘timeless weddings’. Nothing exists in a vacuum. And I think the pressure to be timeless often encourages couples to make boring choices in the hope their wedding albums won’t become a source of ridicule in 30 years’ time! What a wasted opportunity for fun?! I say embrace trends! Reflect the stage of life you’re in now! The one exception to this rule is with your vows. They really should be timeless. So instead of promising to ‘always make time for watching Call The Midwife together on a Sunday’ or vowing to ‘still go raving at least once a month’, instead let them highlight qualities or values that you’d still hope to be relevant in 10, 20, 30 years…and more.

Remember it’s not stand up!

Try not to opt exclusively for one-liners! It’s easy to default to humour when you’re feeling self-conscious but this is probably the only moment in your ceremony where I’d be encouraging you to take it seriously! You only get one chance to stand up and declare your commitment so make it count. As a general rule, I reckon no more than a quarter of your vows should be in there just for laughs!

Check you’re on the same page

If you’re keeping your vows a secret from one another until your wedding day, spend an evening chatting and talking through ideas before you write them. Agree on some common themes or styles so you feel confident you’ll be coming at them from a similar starting point. And ask your celebrant to act as the middleman/woman. There is literally nothing more awkward than watching one person dredge the very depths of their soul for deep and meaningful words, only to be responded to with promises about taking the bins out and feeding the cat. 

Read them out loud!

Writing something to be read silently in your head is very different to writing spoken language so don’t consider your vows final until you’ve checked they work out loud.  And then practice them! You don’t need to learn them by heart but equally, it would be nice if you could deliver them without having to be glued to the page!

See – I told you it was simple!?

Thanks Laura for that awesome advice! You can find out more about Laura and the services she offers on her website and make sure you follow her on Instagram. Her Instagram Stories are awesome!

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