Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Wedding Vows
RI wedding ceremony
Photo by Jamie Corbman Photography
Your wedding vows are your declaration of love to one another. It is where you publicly make promises to each other. You can elect to use traditional vows or to write your own. Most religious ceremonies require you to use their traditional vows, but may allow you to personalize them. You should check with your officiant for guidelines.

Using Traditional Vows
Read the vows ahead of time to ensure that you agree with them. For instance, most couples decide to use "love, honor and cherish" NOT "love, honor and obey"!

"I, ____, take you, ____, to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love, honor and cherish you all the days of my life."

Writing Your Own Vows
Although it may be difficult to find the right words to express your feelings, writing and memorizing your own vows may make your marriage vows more meaningful. Spend time thinking about how you feel about each other and what it will mean to you to be married to one another.

Here are a few tips and suggestions for writing your own vows:

  • Before you begin, think about what marriage means to you.What do you want to give and receive from your marriage?
  • Describe what is unique about your relationship.
  • Describe what you like about each other (the way he makes you laugh, her smile, etc.).
  • Express what you want your future to be like (friendship, parenthood)
  • Let each other know the commitment you feel towards each other now and in the future (even through the good times and the bad).
  • If religion is important to you, describe how it will be part of your relationship.
  • Express your love and desire to be married to each other.
  • If you think you'll get weak in the knees and forget your vows, write them on an index card. Just knowing that you have a backup in case you forget them will make you feel at ease. If you have to read from the card, no one will care - it's the sentimental meaning that counts!
  • After writing them, read them out loud to make sure that they sound nice.
  • Try to keep your vows under three minutes (short and sweet). If you use short, simple sentences, they will be easier for your guests to follow (not to mention the fact that it will be easier for you to memorize!).
  • When you are at the altar saying your vows, you should face each other, speak clearly and hold each other's hands. Say it like you mean it!
  • If you prefer, you can read prose or poetry passages that are meaningful to both of you. Before you decide to personalize your ceremony, you should speak to your officiant. He/she can assist you with your vows.

Here are a few examples of "untraditional" vows:

"All that I am and all that I have, I offer to you, ____, in love and in joy. I, ____, take you ____, to be my wife/husband, from this day forward. I will love and comfort you, hold you close, prize you above all others, and remain faithful to you all the days of our lives."

"I, ____, take you, ____ to be my partner in marriage and in life. I will love and honor you and take your side, walk with you through life wherever it may lead, whatever may come. I promise to be faithful and true from this day forward."

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