A Binding Promise

The roots of the wedding vows exchanged in most modern ceremonies go back centuries. And although they have evolved over many generations, they still serve as an expression of one’s love and commitment to another.

It’s a public declaration of love and a promise to share all that your future together may bring.

As part of the humanist ceremony of marriage, couples can opt to have not just one set of vows, but two; personal vows and legal commitments.

By law, both parties to the marriage must make their legal commitments to one another by repeating the words spoken by the Celebrant. There are four choices of wording for the legal vows, but the differences are fairly minor.

The legal vows are mandatory in order to be lawfully married, but personal vows are optional.

Personal vows can be made in many forms and as there are no legal restrictions, they offer a great deal more flexibility.

And of course, when a couple make that extra effort and write their own personal vows, this is even more magical. Personal vows can also be light hearted in content, as long as they are still dignified, it’s okay to have a bit of fun with them.

For couples that are a little nervous about writing their own vows, or for those that are nervous and want to say as little as possible, the personal vows can be posed to them by the Celebrant in the form of a question, for example if the Celebrant asks the following…..

Do you (Name) take (Name) as your one and only love and from this day forward promise to protect, cherish and honour her, during good times and bad, happiness and sadness, through all the days of your married life together?

The correct response is  – I Do.


Will you (Name) take (Name) to be your partner for life, to love and look after her and bring her happiness and laughter throughout your lives, whatever the future may hold, sharing your wholeness, your brokenness, your success and your failures?

Response – I Will.

And for those feeling a bit braver and are happy to recite vows, here’s a couple of perfect examples…

I, (Name), promise you, (Name), to be your best friend, to respect your individuality and always to try to understand any differences between us.  I promise to trust you, to be honest with you and to bring you laughter throughout your life. I now ask everyone to witness that I have taken you to be my husband. 


I give my love to you, and will be open to yours in return.

I will always try to bring you laughter and happiness throughout our lives,

But will always be there to give you a hug when you need one,

In the presence of our family and friends,

I promise to respect you, look after you, love and enjoy you.

There are many options, but whatever couples choose, what’s most important is that the words truly reflect their feelings for each other and the promises they wish to make.

By Victoria Bisland


Image Courtesy of Graham Mackay Photography

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