Personalising and Renewing Your Wedding Vows ~ Food For Thought…

It's been a while since I sat and wrote a discussion post for Love My Dress – though Franky, my Intern, has been very reliably leading at the helm and dipping into various issues that have had our readers conversing over everything from children at weddings and  the pressure to craft and be a DIY Queen to wedding day perfume choices and more, while I take a break to focus on some big projects.

But there's been something on my mind for a while now…

In a few years time, I really would love to renew my vows to my husband. I know that he'd like to also;  we've discussed it a few times.  We've been through so much together both in our respective individual and also our shared journey through life, that renewal of our wedding vows would seem a perfect way of acknowledging the one thing that has kept us grounded, and kept us together through all of it – our vows.  Our marriage, our commitment to one another, a chance to revisit and renew the promises we made to one another back in March 2009

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2010, Karen McGowran

My Wedding in Whitby...

Now, there's a matter I'd like to 'fess up to you;  when we got married, we didn't write our own vows, we spoke the standard vows that came with the registrars form and guidance, and, er, well that was that really.  It didn't lessen the meaning or sense of commitment or anything like that on the day {infact I've written about how much my vows mean to me, and guide me during difficult times here}, but it's something that has bugged me a little ever since; I can't help but ask – why didn't we take the opportunity to write our own wedding vows – something more personal. Something more meaningful?

"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship,
communion or company than a good marriage."

Martin Luther

Regardless of whether you are having a civil ceremony or church wedding, there are certain vows that must be said during the ceremony in order for your marraige to be classed as legal {the through richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better for worse bits}, but most most officiants or Celebrants, in the case of a Humanist wedding, will allow and indeed positively encourage you to create and speak your own personalised wedidng vows on your wedding day. 

I love the notion of writing your own wedding vows, of being able to reference what is truly important and meaningful to one another, and you both as a couple, as you make the life commitment of marriage to one another.  It adds the opportunity to reference experiences, memories, dreams, and your love – a verbal expression of how you truly love one another, in your own words.  I love the idea of being able to frame those words as a keepsake after a wedding too a verbal turned visual reminder of the reasons you entered into a life long agreement, words to help guide you during difficult times, but reassure you during the good times too.

"I love thee, I love but thee
With a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold
And the stars grow old…"

Bayard Taylor

If you'd like to write your own marriage vows, you'll need to have a good clear think about what you'd like to say.  This is an opportunity to tell your husband or soon to be wife how very much you love them and want to invest your love in them.  Think about that. Think about a set of words you'd want to come back to when you are having a real rubbish day, or you've just argued again about whose turn it is to wash the dishes, or the fact you have no money and can't afford that latest 'must have' or a night out, or those irritating habits  your partner just refuses to drop, even though you're married now! Because that's real life my friends, and there will be days you'll think 'AGGHHH!'.  I'm just like you and get those days too, and honestly, truly honestly, my vows have been such a source of comfort, strength and guidance during these times.  That habit formed neurological pathway that would once have been sending impules to stomp out the room and sulk has been replaced with a desire to sit calmly and recall my marriage vows and the reasons I chose to be with this person for the rest of my life.  They help me get matters in to perspective when things get distorted or out of hand. They are my marital moral compass, guiding me when the nuptial seas become rough and throw things of course…


It's important to remember, I guess, that your vows are a public declaration of your love and commitment to one another – 'public declaration being the watch words there;  remember, you can keep your long, lingering conversations of love for private time – try to keep it succinct, but very sincere for the purposes of your wedding-day vows.

By the way, you'll need a pad and a pen before you do anything to start jotting down your ideas…

Be you. Write words from your heart.  Think about your love, friendship and companionship and how you want to build on that as time goes by.  Consider your relationship and how you intend to work at it so that endures anything and everything that is sent to test it.  Think of promises you would like to make to one another in relation to the love you share, the experiences you want to gain together, how you foresee yourselves in five, ten, twenty years time.

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the wedding cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.”

Ogden Nash

And if you're still stuck on how to start writing, and what to write, then cast your peepers on the list below to feel inspired:-

  Write down what your husband means to you in a single sentence.
  Read some love poems – the Internet is full of them, as will be your local Library.
  Are there any song lyrics that move you and/or remind you of the person  you are going to marry?
  What are your future husband/wife's best qualities?
  Do you have children?
  What are your partners dreams and aspirations, you might want to consider promising to help him or her achieve them.

And finally, check it all over with your Registrar or other officiant, they will be able to advise on word length and the rest.

"We're all a little weird.  And life is a little weird.
And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible
with ours, we join up with them and fall into
mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love."

  Robert Fulghum

When I do renew my vows, they're going to have to include something on the lines of this;

"I promise to always to always be honest and open with you, to love you completely and unconditionally.  I promise never to hold grudges, to forgive, to forget, to work through any disagreements and focus only on a positive, peaceful and loving way forward.

I promise to be the best Mummy I possibly can to our children, to nurture them as they grow older to become responsible, caring, loving human beings.  I promise to be most loving wife that I can be, and that I will prioritise regular time together to nurture our love and allow it to grow.

I promise to never let my work take over my life, to get to bed on time, to look after myself and my health, so that I can be the best Mum and Wife that I can be.
I promise one day, I'll learn to cook.  Promise!"


…I'd add to this of course – more importantly, I'd want my renewed vows to reflect our new life and experiences together and pay homage to the memories and experiences we have gathered since our wedding, and how this will shape our future. I'd also love to write a poem.  But all in good time. I'm working on a five year vow renewal, and that gives me two years yet 🙂

I'd love to hear back from my readers on this one; 

But how should one go about writing their own vows though?

Do you see added value in personalising your vows?

Do any of you have any experience of writing your own marriage vows? … and would anyone care to share their personal vows with us? {…please feel free to keep it anonymous if you prefer – you can leave a comment as 'Anon'}.

Are there any Registrars out there who would like to offer any advice?

Does anyone have anything to add to the lists above?

Does anyone know of any great online resources to assist those who are looking to personalise or renew their vows?

And last of all, is five years too soon to renew your vows?  Really?

By the way, the photographs in this feature are of my husband Phil and I, during our wedding ceremony over three years ago now, and actually right at the part where we exchanged our vows.  I will forever be grateful to photographer Karen McGowran for capturing these special moments on camera.

Check back at 10.30am, for a fab little DIY feature before a real wedding post at lunch time.

Much love all,



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.