How to Write Feminist Wedding Vows That Show You and Your Partner Are Truly Equal

Writing your own wedding vows[1] will almost always garner tears from both the nearly-wedded couple and those celebrating with them, so it's no surprise that more and more brides and grooms are straying away from traditional vows, and opting for more modern, personalized wedding vows. Another benefit of penning your own promises? In lieu of traditional wedding vows, you can write feminist wedding vows that show that you and your partner are truly equal.

In 1981, Princess Diana made headlines[2] when she chose not to include the word "obey" in her vows to Prince Charles[3]. Instead, she promised to "love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health," giving way to an ongoing, international discussion about the language used during a wedding ceremony. In 2011, Kate Middleton took the same approach[4] when she married the late royal's son, Prince William. And of course, Meghan Markle[5] followed suit when she married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018, also opting to omit the word "obey" from her wedding vows. This shouldn't really come as a surprise, considering that the now-Duchess of Sussex is a staunch advocate for gender equality. (She even walked part of the ways down the aisle of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle by herself[6]!)

But 38 years after Princess Diana's royal wedding, modern-day brides[7] are still poring over how to pen wedding vows that are rooted in both reflection and equality. So was the case for Chloe Pinkerton as she prepared to marry Ross Kennedy-Shaffer on a sweltering July day. As their wedding date[8] approached, Pinkerton realized how important the language used in their vows would be.

"We wanted there to be balance in the opening lines; we didn't want [our vows] to be identical because we're different people working on different things, but we wanted to make sure each person's promise was met with a similar one," Pinkerton explains. "The word 'partner' (rather than 'husband,' 'wife,' or 'spouse') was important to us because it involves the idea of equality and doesn't have any of the possession connotations that some of the other partnership words involve. We also wanted to steer clear of the idea that men and women have defined, gendered roles in a relationship."

The couple also chose not to use some of the more common phrases, like "to have and to hold" and to "take [your partner]" because, as Pinkerton explained, "the language felt very ownership-centric, and as a result, dehumanizing."

Ultimately, they decided on five simple statements that embodied the life they hoped to create together:

  • I promise to love and support you as you continue to grow and learn.
  • I promise to make time to play your favorite games and mine.
  • I promise to try to make the world a better place with you.
  • I promise to laugh with you and cry with you through good times and bad.
  • Most of all, I promise to be your equal partner forever.

While some couples opt to write their own vows to ensure a balanced exchange, others choose to revise the familiar, giving new meaning to the traditional phrase "to love, honor, and obey."

When Peter Rocco and Marie-Ellen Ehounou tied the knot at their May wedding, the couple modified traditional vows so that "honor and obey" would be excluded.

"Our attitude was kind of: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'" Rocco explains. "I think the traditional vows end up capturing most of what people try to say when they write their own anyway—with some minor tweaks in our case."

Despite using traditional vows[9] as guidelines, the couple did make it clear they were entering an "equal loving partnership."

"I felt pretty strongly that it was important to have something about partnership even if we didn't call each other partners," Ehounou says.

But for Abigail Myers, a forward-thinking approach to marriage was built into her ceremony via her officiant[10] and church. When writing her vows, Myers says she "didn't have to think too hard about shedding the patriarchal elements of a traditional Christian wedding because our church is famously, wildly progressive, and our (female) pastor is a fierce feminist, so we trusted her implicitly and absolutely to use egalitarian wording."

If you're looking to pen your own—or modify the traditional—writer Fiona Tapp[11] suggests some key concepts to use as inspiration:

  • I promise to support your ambitions and dreams.
  • I will comfort you when you can't be strong, and I will lean on you when you can.
  • And, most simply of all…I will love you.

See more: Three Feminists on Why They Chose Marriage[12]

References

  1. ^ wedding vows (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ Princess Diana made headlines (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ her vows to Prince Charles (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Kate Middleton took the same approach (www.theguardian.com)
  5. ^ Meghan Markle (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ by herself (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ modern-day brides (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ their wedding date (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ traditional vows (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ her officiant (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ writer Fiona Tapp (www.brides.com)
  12. ^ Three Feminists on Why They Chose Marriage (www.brides.com)

5 Vow Renewal Stories That Will Have You Running to the Altar Again

We don’t have to tell you that marrying your partner is a big deal. Outside of all the time and energy that goes into planning a wedding, there’s also the whole “committing to someone for the rest of your life” thing. For some, choosing to reaffirm that commitment years later is just as meaningful—and in some cases even more so—than saying, “I do” the first time around. We asked five couples why they decided to renew[1], and every single story here will move you—to tears or towards another trip to the altar yourself!

An Intimate Backyard Ceremony for Friends and Family

When Carin Gilfry and her husband tied the knot, they did so at city hall[2] in New York City. It was just them, the officiant, a close friend, and their friend’s baby. Both families knew that the wedding was happening, but the ceremony was meant to be intimate, simple, and quick.

“It was incredible to just be the two of us, but we knew our families felt left out,” says Carin. “At one point, my brother said something like, ‘I know you guys got married, but you didn't promise to love each other in front of your family so we can't really hold you accountable!’”

The comment was said in jest, but the two decided to act on it. On their one-year anniversary[3], after their first daughter was born, they had a vow renewal ceremony in Carin’s parents’ backyard. In a way, it was more like an official wedding—complete with caterer, photographer, band, cake, and dancing.

“Best of all,” Carin says, “my husband held our little baby throughout the whole ceremony. She snuggled into his chest and smiled. Our family got to see us promise to love each other in front of them after all.”

A Cheesy Renewal with Elvis and a T-Shirt Tux

You can’t have a picture-perfect, traditional wedding and Elvis, too—or can you? Emily L. Foley and her husband made both happen.

“We renewed our vows 100 percent for the experience," says Emily. "I have literally always wanted to get married with Elvis, but we had a traditional church wedding the first time around, so I’ve been saying for years I wanted to renew our vows in Vegas[4]."

As 10 years got closer, they decided to go for it. In October 2018, the two made their way to Sin City—sans kids—and indulged in some much-needed, quality couple time.

"We gambled, ate incredible food, went to several shows, and had a luxurious spa experience," Emily says. "And then, of course, got married with Elvis.” To really lean in, Emily wore a white fringe jumpsuit, and her husband donned a tux T-shirt and a Pac-Man blazer. “The entire trip was amazing for us and our relationship," says Emily. "Fantastically cheesy and really special. Just fun all the way around.”

A Joyful Celebration of 50 Years Together

Victor and Elisa Sheronas were married in June 1965. When their 50-year anniversary rolled around in 2015, both recognized that the accomplishment—and their love—was worth a blow-out bash.

“Our relationship has not been without challenges, many of them recent health issues, but I feel blessed to have a husband who held my hand and had my back,” says Elisa. The couple raised five children together, had several unique business experiences, and earned graduate degrees; Elisa's at age 71. "All that was possible because we respect each other, and promised to do all we can to help each other attain our life goals.”

The renewal took place at Elisa’s alma mater[5], Rosemont College, with their parish pastor and a guest list of all their favorite people.

“It reminded us of that day in 1965 when we started our life together, and all the things we felt back then," says Elisa.

What a lovely way to break up the routine of being in their 70s, the couple agreed—"to remember what it was like to be in our 20s and those reasons we had for spending the rest of our lives together that are still inspiring the daily renewal of our commitment," Elisa says. "It gave us a renewed appreciation for each other that I hope will keep us close until death do us part.”

A Once-Every-Five-Years Tradition

For Katie Hammel and her husband, the decision to renew their vows started as a half-joking suggestion. She’d had a blast planning the wedding, and after the big day wrapped up threw out a, “Hey, we should do that again!” Five years later they did.

“I brought the idea back up and realized I had more serious reasons,” says Katie. “I've always believed that, while falling in love might be something that just happens, staying in love is something you choose to do. I wanted to reaffirm my choice, to recommit to choosing my husband.”

Their first renewal took place in Napa, California with just each other. Her husband put on a suit, grabbed a bottle of sparkling wine with two glasses, and headed out to meet his dressed up wife at a picturesque wooden swing against a vineyard backdrop. After reaffirming their vows, they sat on the swing and talked about the last five years—the ups, down, successes, failures, hopes, and expectations.

When another five years passed, they did the same thing—only this time in Greece overlooking the Arcadian mountains with a bottle of Greek red.

“It's good to remind ourselves how lucky we are, to celebrate our love, and to have these check-ins in a more in-depth way,” says Katie. “My husband and I do lots of little things every day to show each other love[6], but life gets busy and we don't always make time for these larger conversations. Committing to every five years keeps us on track and these conversations more at the forefront than they might be otherwise.”

See more: Marriage Only Gets Better With Time—20 Years, To Be Exact[7]

A Renewal That Ended Up Meaning More Than Ever Imagined

Deanne and her husband, Michael Ziegert, met in 1995 and remained friends until 2003 when he worked up the courage to finally ask her out. A romance-filled whirlwind of a year later, the two became engaged and married. About eight years later, Michael went into cardiac arrest.

“That was one of the hardest days of my life,” says Deanne. “When I got to the hospital, they let me see Michael. While with him, I said a prayer to God asking, ‘If you don’t need him now, please leave him here with me. I need him.’”

Michael survived. As their 10-year anniversary rounded a corner, they decided to renew their vows in Huntington Beach, California.

“It was a beautiful tribute to our faith, love, and commitment to each other during all kinds of times," says Deanne. The ceremony was simple, with the couple writing new vows[8] and presenting them to each other on the beach in front of good friends.

Sadly, Michael passed away several years later in 2017.

“Michael was always my biggest cheerleader," says Deanne. "I lost the love of my life, but he will be with me forever. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, but I know he's in a wonderful place and we will meet again someday. I am so glad we renewed our love for each other that day, as it will forever be etched in my heart.”

References

  1. ^ why they decided to renew (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ city hall (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ one-year anniversary (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ renew our vows in Vegas (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ alma mater (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ little things every day to show each other love (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ Marriage Only Gets Better With Time—20 Years, To Be Exact (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ writing new vows (www.brides.com)

43 Stunning Wedding Ceremony Venues That’ll Make You Want to Say I Do

The reception is where the party’s at, but the wedding ceremony is where all the feels are. As such, you need a space that stuns and complements you as a couple when you finally tie the knot. And as the first event to kick off your new union, your wedding ceremony will set the tone for the rest of the big day. It’s the chance to wow guests with the unexpected, establish your wedding theme[1] or style, and give a hint at what’s to follow at the reception—making finding the perfect wedding ceremony venue all the more important.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from gazing at wedding after wedding each day, it’s that there are a ton of beautiful places to say “I do,”[2] from rustic barns in the Catskills and vineyards in California[3] to beaches in Bali[4] and rustic chapels in France. And that’s not to mention backyard weddings[5] and garden nuptials! But the real beauty of your wedding ceremony venue lies in what you do with it.

Wedding ceremonies[6] can get really creative, after all. Sure, wedding receptions can too, but guests generally have some idea of what to expect—tables and a dance floor; it’s mainly the decor that leaves room for a surprise. But as the first event of your nuptial celebrations, your wedding ceremony is really what establishes the tone for the rest of the festivities—so don't be afraid to get creative with it! If it’s in an epic spot outdoors with panoramic mountain views or stunning seaside scenery[7], let nature do most of the work and keep the decor simple. On the other hand, certain outdoor settings like a garden or grove get even more beautiful when you amplify their enchanting effects with additional flowers and greenery[8]. And no matter your style, you can perfect an indoor wedding ceremony by filling the space with decor and glowing lighting to set the ambiance. But if your indoor wedding ceremony venue has historic character or a striking look, sometimes a minimalist touch is the best complement to let it shine—less can be more, after all.

And no matter where you hold your ceremony, don’t forget the aisle and the altar or chuppah[9]. You can get super creative with either to make a statement or forgo both so that your surroundings take center stage.

From fairytale woodlands and castle courtyards to desert landscapes and traditional churches, you’ll be saying yes to these beautiful wedding ceremony ideas.

References

  1. ^ wedding theme (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ beautiful places to say “I do,” (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ vineyards in California (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ beaches in Bali (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ backyard weddings (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ Wedding ceremonies (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ seaside scenery (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ flowers and greenery (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ altar or chuppah (www.brides.com)

10 Casual Wedding Ideas for a Laid-Back Affair

A memorable big day, super stunning wedding decor[1], and a festive reception don't have to come with all of the formality of a traditional black-tie wedding[2]. A casual wedding can still boast all the fun and beautiful details of a formal affair, but without any of the stuffiness. Instead, casual weddings put the emphasis on fun and allow for couples to express their laid-back style. Consider yourself an easygoing bride-to-be? Try these casual wedding ideas on for size.

From relaxed ceremony setups[3] to family-style receptions, these casual wedding ideas truly embrace a comfortable aesthetic, resulting in the ultimate laid-back affair. Need some tasty ideas for casual wedding food? Opt for a menu flowing with comfort food[4] options. As for a low-key setting, make it a family affair by arranging a casual backyard wedding[5]. And keep guests comfortable at a casual wedding reception with cozy seating[6] that'll make them feel right at home. But most importantly, the point of non-formal nuptials is to ensure that you and your partner can host a bash that's true to you.

See 10 casual wedding ideas below that'll guarantee an effortless, carefree celebration.

References

  1. ^ wedding decor (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ black-tie wedding (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ ceremony setups (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ comfort food (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ backyard wedding (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ cozy seating (www.brides.com)

29 Celestial Wedding Ideas That Are Out of This World

Stargazers, do we have the wedding theme[1] for you! Celestial wedding details have been shining bright as of late, with countless brides opting to utilize this trending, magical motif for their special day. And if you read your horoscope[2] religiously or swear your love was written in the stars, here are some celestial wedding ideas you too may want to incorporate into your nuptials.

Do you and your partner often quote that "You want the moon?" scene from It's a Wonderful Life? Did you check to make sure your fiancé's star sign was compatible with yours when you first met? Is your signature jewelry piece that zodiac necklace[3] your maid of honor bought you? Then you should definitely consider injecting your wedding with some mystical, celestial vibes. Think: a dark and moody color palette[4], glittering, star-like lighting, and designs that feature your and your partner's zodiac signs... We're over the moon for these celestial wedding ideas! There's hardly anything more romantic than a starry night sky, after all, so where better to take inspiration for your wedding details?

From Milky Way patterns to moonlit dance floors, these celestial wedding ideas have us simply starry-eyed. Adorn your tables in the hues of a hazy summer night with indigo blue linens. Hang string lights from your tent's rafters[5] or venue's ceiling to mimic the constellations. Arrange tables by your guests' zodiac signs, or pen their names on crescent moon-shaped escort cards[6]. You can even try a dreamy, star-adorned wedding dress[7] on for size.

Below, browse 29 celestial wedding ideas that are out of this world.

References

  1. ^ wedding theme (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ your horoscope (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ zodiac necklace (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ a dark and moody color palette (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ your tent's rafters (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ escort cards (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ star-adorned wedding dress (www.brides.com)

47 Fascinating Wedding Traditions From Around the World

From the bride tossing her bouquet[1] to wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue, American wedding customs are still so popular today that even the most non-traditional brides[2] happily take part. (Why tempt fate and start off your new marriage with anything other than good luck vibes?) But Americans don't have a monopoly on such rituals—pretty much every other country and culture also has its own beloved wedding customs.

Some are sweet, like how wedding guests in Sweden[3] kiss the bride or groom anytime their new spouse leaves the room. Some are perplexing: Couples in the Congo[4], for example, are forbidden to smile on their wedding day. And some are seemingly strange, such as the way engaged pairs in Mongolia[5] must kill and butcher a chicken to find a healthy liver before being allowed to wed. But what binds these seemingly disparate customs from near and far is one simple thing: love.

If you follow these traditions, the theory goes, you will find eternal joy with your soul mate. So, even if some Hindu brides[6] must first marry a tree or some South Korean[7] grooms have to tolerate getting their feet whipped by family and friends, hopefully, it's all worth it in the end. When love and happiness ever after are the outcomes, it's usually a win-win for brides and grooms[8].

Keep reading to learn about 47 of the most awe-inspiring rituals from around the globe to give you an idea of the many traditions that go far beyond the bouquet toss.

References

  1. ^ tossing her bouquet (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ non-traditional brides (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ Sweden (www.thelocal.se)
  4. ^ Congo (www.sugarweddings.com)
  5. ^ Mongolia (theculturetrip.com)
  6. ^ Hindu brides (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ South Korean (sugarweddings.com)
  8. ^ brides and grooms (www.brides.com)

Jumping the Broom: From the 18th Century to Present Day

“Jumping the broom might look like a cute tradition[1], but the context is much deeper than that,” explains Jordan Maney, a San Antonio wedding planner[2]. If you haven’t heard of it, jumping the broom (literally hopping over a broomstick while holding hands) is a tradition that some African American couples choose to incorporate in their wedding, usually after they’ve kissed[3] as they are on their way back down the aisle. While it is often attributed to African slaves, who “had absolutely no autonomy, even in love,” the tradition precedes American slavery and is rooted in West African customs.

The History

Photo by Dacia Pierson of Eager Hearts Photography

Eighteenth-century European traders reported that the region that is now Ghana was extremely well-kept due to the use of locally made brooms. The symbolism of brooms seemed to permeate its way into wedding ceremonies—for example, waving a broom over a couple in an Asante wedding symbolized the sweeping away of evil spirits that might have ill will toward the happy couple. For couples who jumped the broom, this act was representative of the household and “symbolized the wife's commitment or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined,” according to the African American Registry[4]. Because a groom often jumped higher than his bride, this showed his leadership in the household.

This custom appeared in the U.S. because of the transatlantic slave trade; other African ethnic groups adopted this symbol of jumping the broom from the Asante people in the absence of any legal recognition of enslaved people’s marriages. Jumping the broom became the only symbol of African slave couples' unions in America—in fact, at the time marriage was an illegal and extremely dangerous act. Couples would pretend like they were hosting a regular party, and use jumping the broom to signify their union and commitment. During slavery, “the ceremonial jumping of the broom served as an open declaration of settling down in a marriage relationship,” according to Atlanta Black Star[5].

While the tradition largely disappeared, both in West Africa due to colonization and the adoption of European wedding customs[6], as well as in the United States after the emancipation of enslaved people, the revival of the custom in African American weddings is credited to Roots, the novel and miniseries from the 1970s. Today the phrase “jumping the broom[7]” is synonymous with “tying the knot” or “getting hitched.”

The Present

Photo by Two Twenty by Chi Chi

This tradition is now so pervasive that when some little girls dream about weddings, they dream[8] of jumping the broom. Diane from Ohio says, “When I was a little girl, I would put on my white Barbie dress-up gown, a white pillowcase as a veil, and I’d grab our ugly blue and yellow broom to practice getting married and jumping the broom.” And sure enough, she incorporated this custom in her wedding, explaining, “Every day I'm thankful for the people who fought tirelessly for my husband and I to spend our lives together.” Heavenly from Atlanta also daydreamed about jumping the broom as a little girl: “It's been a family tradition, and I couldn't wait to have my chance.” Her aunt designed a special broom for her wedding and shipped it to her from Memphis: “I thought it was beautiful! It's definitely something that I plan on passing down to my children. Jumping the broom was the best part of the ceremony.”

For some black couples, the tradition of jumping the broom[9] is more than a family custom and is a deeply important acknowledgement of their history, culture, and identity. Moriah from Georgia says, “[When we were] growing up, my mother made sure that we were proud and confident in who we are. We were taught about our history and its importance and to remember those who were here before us and the type of life they endured.” For Moriah, jumping the broom was just one part of a wedding that spoke to her Creole roots. “We jumped the broom because it was an outward expression of OUR history of marriage. We did it because it is a part of who we are.” DJuana of Missouri adds, “Knowing where you come from influences where you're going. So, jumping the broom for us is saying our love is real and everlasting, just like the love of those people who sometimes died because they simply loved.”

C.K. Alexander, the senior editor of Black Bride[10] says, “I see a lot of couples still jumping the broom in our submissions, and it's usually one of my favorite photos because the couple has officially been pronounced, and this is the last step before they exit the ceremony space, and you really get to see the fullness of their joy in that moment.”

See more: 45 Fascinating Wedding Traditions from Around the World[11]

And this love is a powerful—even revolutionary—statement. Wedding planner Jordan Maney explains, “To declare joy and love and, really, their humanity in a time that black people were treated as property was revolutionary. It was an act of resistance.” Raquita Henderson, the lead photographer of Pinxit Photo[12], says, “Every time I see a broom ceremony, I think of the brides and grooms who would not have been able to have their ceremonies in these beautiful churches, whose love stories were never real to society, and how they must dance in the hereafter when they see us love this way.” Jordan says, “When couples jump the broom now, I think it still has a dual purpose; paying homage to where and who we've come from and acknowledging the right to love and the right to choose love in a time where there isn't much of that going around.”

While some couples prefer to distance themselves from the history of slavery and choose not to incorporate the tradition of jumping the broom, their choice to marry and to celebrate black love or interracial love is still a tribute to the past and a revolutionary statement, according to Jordan Maney. Shae Washington writes for Catalyst Wed Co.[13] about the incredible significance of the right to marry for certain groups: “As a black person in this country (and as a queer person in this country) getting married has been long denied, fought for, and then gained as a right by my people. I do not take for granted the history of enslaved black folk jumping brooms and knitting together family with courage and ruthless love in the face of fear and the reality of most likely being sold away from each other.”

For some groups in this country, the right to love hasn’t come free. The tradition of jumping the broom is an important reminder that even when the humanity and lives of black people are oppressed, black love persists.

Browse the beautiful photos below to see just how modern couples take on this history-laden wedding tradition...

This bride jumped the broom with a mile-wide smile in tow.

We love when a couple blends together their cultural traditions, like this pair who wed beneath a chuppah before jumping the broom.

A sweet and simple ceremony, sealed with a loving leap.

Clasping hands, brides Miyo and Charan jumped the broom after their "I dos."

Surrounded by their friends, family, and tons of white blooms, this couple happily hopped over their broom.

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography

Real Housewives of Potomac star Candiace Dillard jumped the broom with her new hubby, restaurateur Chris Bassett, at their lavish D.C. wedding[14].

With a hop, skip, and a jump, Lauren and Ryan tied the knot.

Just look at this groom's face! At their wedding, Jazlan and Ashton Fontenot couldn't have been more excited to jump the broom.

We're loving this groom's bold pink suit and this couple's joyful jump.

A modern ceremony setting combined with a longstanding tradition.

This too-cool bride and groom took their post-ceremony leap in serious style.

A picturesque outdoor ceremony meets a picture-perfect jump.

References

  1. ^ tradition (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ San Antonio wedding planner (www.allthedaysweddings.com)
  3. ^ kissed (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ according to the African American Registry (aaregistry.org)
  5. ^ according to Atlanta Black Star (atlantablackstar.com)
  6. ^ wedding customs (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ jumping the broom (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ dream (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ jumping the broom (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ Black Bride (www.blackbride.com)
  11. ^ 45 Fascinating Wedding Traditions from Around the World (www.brides.com)
  12. ^ Pinxit Photo (pinxitphoto.com)
  13. ^ Catalyst Wed Co. (www.catalystwedco.com)
  14. ^ their lavish D.C. wedding (www.brides.com)

Should You Hire a Professional Vow Writer?

These days, couples are increasingly ditching the traditional "to have and to hold" vows for more personalized versions that make you go "aww" and quote “The Office[1].” In fact, nearly half of all women surveyed in the annual Brides American Wedding Study[2] said that they wrote their own vows, which was up from 42 percent in 2017.

While this is unsurprising in a generation who grew up writing personal and deeply revealing Xanga and Facebook posts, what happens if you and your partner are not exactly wordsmiths? Enter, the professional vow writing companies, such as Write Weddings, Vow Muse or XO Jane, that all promise beautifully written vows that are customizable to your taste, voice, and love story.

But should you hire a professional vow writing company? Is it technically cheating if you get someone else to do this work for you?

Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly common wedding service—and why you shouldn’t feel guilty if you’re struggling with penning your promises to one another.

Vows Themselves Are Changing

If you’ve attended a wedding in the last few years, it’s unlikely you’ve heard many of the traditional “til death do us part” vows[3]. Instead, you probably remember pledges more like, “I promise to always go to Disneyland with you[4]” or insight into a couple’s day-to-day life with something such as, “I appreciate when you make dinner when I work late.”

So, why are couples choosing to 86 the vows their parents and grandparents took in favor of vows they write themselves? Katelyn Stanis, owner of Wedding Words[5]—a vow writing company she started in 2017—says that it’s a direct response to weddings becoming more personalized[6]. Couples want specifics in their ceremony that reflect their own one-of-a-kind relationship.

“The words in traditional vows are not only tradition and therefore not custom to the couple, but perhaps to many people, they sound a bit outdated and don’t really resonate with how they feel or capture their relationship style,” Stanis says.

Personalizing your vows is a chance to lay out what you want your marriage to look like in your own words—and to avoid feeling dictated by how someone else defined marriage generations ago.

Why Couples Hire a Professional Vow Writer

The idea of writing your own vows[7] may sound appealing, and you may even have an idea of what you’d like to say, but when you actually sit down to write, does everything seem to come out wrong? Stanis says this is an all-too-common occurrence, and a vow writer can use their skills as an interviewer and writer to help pull the language and emotions out of what you're trying to get across, but can't seem to get down on paper yourself.

“I always think that a couple should seek out vow writing services when they have strong emotions they want to convey to their partner, but are stressed and overwhelmed with how to articulate their thoughts into words,” she says.

If writing the vows isn’t a problem, but you're worried about your delivery of them, professional vow writers also assist individuals and couples with public speaking advice.

“I go over specific tips for each individual on how to deliver their vows with impact,” Stanis says. “So, for example, 'Be prepared after you read this line because your guests might giggle a little, so pause before you proceed forward.'”

Overcoming the Stigma

Now that personalized vows are becoming more commonplace, couples are feeling the pressure to perform. But if you’re not a naturally gifted writer and you hire a professional vow writing company, there’s often a fear that others would call that cheating.

“Wedding vows are very personal and people feel like, 'If I can’t articulate these things into a written piece that’s two minutes long—a very specific format—then I am not feeling those feelings; they're not authentic,’” says Angie Sommer, of Vow Muse[8]—a vow writing company she started in 2010 with pal Alicia Ostarello.

Though professional vow writing isn’t for everyone, in a lot of ways, this service is very similar to hiring other wedding vendors, such as a photographer or florist—and no one would expect you to be embarrassed about your inability to put together a bouquet or take your own photographs.

As to whether or not you should keep your professional vow writer a secret, Sommer says that while they encourage personal communication with your partner in general, the choice is up to you.

“We don’t know who the other person is so there’s no danger of us talking to him or her," she says. "It’s totally fine if we help and [our client] takes the credit. That’s what we’re here for."

How It Works

Professional vow writing companies all operate in slightly different ways, but you can typically expect a phone interview during which you answer questions about your relationship, and to go through at least a couple of email drafts back and forth in order to polish the vows to your liking. Ideally, by the end of the service, you’ll have a completely unique set of vows that sound like you.

“There’s no Mad Libs behind the scenes," Sommer says. "It’s literally from scratch every single time [we help] with wedding vows, a speech[9] or a wedding ceremony.”

Vow writing services can range from about $400–$2,000, depending on the kinds of packages and customized services you choose. Can’t afford that? Look into DIY kits from vow writing companies that offer tips on writing vows without the heftier price tag of the one-on-one consultation.

See more: Is It OK to Write Your Fiancé’s Vows for Them?[10]

Traditional Vows Have Their Place

Not into the idea of writing your own vows or reading them in front of others? Don’t worry. Traditional vows still have their place—whether you are having a religious ceremony or you just like the idea of reciting the same ones your parents and grandparents did.

You can also have the best of both worlds by saying the traditional vows during the ceremony and then reading your own vows to each other in private, perhaps allowing your cinematographer to capture it.

“To me there is no wrong or right, as long as it's what feels best in your heart and speaks to you and your relationship,” says Stanis.

References

  1. ^ The Office (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ Brides American Wedding Study (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ traditional “til death do us part” vows (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ I promise to always go to Disneyland with you (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ Wedding Words (www.weddingwords.us)
  6. ^ more personalized (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ writing your own vows (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ Vow Muse (www.vowmuse.com)
  9. ^ a speech (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ Is It OK to Write Your Fiancé’s Vows for Them? (www.brides.com)

23 Impossibly Romantic Quotes to Incorporate Into Your Wedding Vows

As exhilarating as it is to be engaged[1], it can be all too easy to get swept up in the wedding planning process and lose sight of what all those endless checklists[2] are really about: the love between you and your spouse-to-be. Take a break from arranging (and rearranging) the seating chart[3], and reset your focus with these 23 incredibly romantic quotes.

Not only are these sayings—some about love, some about marriage—guaranteed to remind you of what's really important, but they'll also act as inspiration for your vows or wedding decor[4]. Whether you implement them into your ceremony or simply let them inspire you for your big day, read on for 23 of the most swoon-worthy quotes from famous romantics like Jane Austen and Pablo Neruda.

See More: Everything You Need to Know About Writing Your Own Wedding Vows[5]

1. "I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me." —Roy Croft

2. "To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous." —Elizabeth Gilbert

3. "You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." —Dr. Seuss

4. "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." —Mignon McLaughlin[6]

5. "Love is like a friendship caught on fire." —Jeremy Taylor

6. "In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine." —Maya Angelou

7. "What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life—to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?" —George Eliot

8. "If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus one day, so I never have to live without you." —Ernest H. Shepard

9. "You have made a place in my heart where I thought there was no room for anything else. You have made flowers grow where I cultivated dust and stones." —Robert Jordan[7]

10. "Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat." —Joanne Woodward[8]

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

12. "To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness." —Robert Brault

13. "You make me happier than I ever thought I could be and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way." —Chandler proposing to Monica on Friends[9]

14. "He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." —Leo Tolstoy

15. "Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century." —Mark Twain

16. "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." —James Baldwin

17. "Marriage flourishes when the couple works together as a team: when both husband and wife decide that winning together is more important than keeping score. Good marriages don't just happen. They are a product of hard work." —Michelle Obama

18. "I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart). I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)." —e. e. cummings

19. "Love is the thing that is always having the last word—even when those words are 'I'm sorry,' or 'Forgive me,' or 'I love you no matter what.' " —Cleo Wade

20. "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you." —Jane Austen, Persuasion

21. "If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever." —Alfred, Lord Tennyson

22. "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you directly, without problems or pride: I love you like this because I don't know any other way to love, except in this form in which I am not nor are you, so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, so close that your eyes close with my dreams." —Pablo Neruda

23. "One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love." —Sophocles

Additional reporting by Jillian Kramer.

References

  1. ^ engaged (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ endless checklists (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ seating chart (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ wedding decor (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ Everything You Need to Know About Writing Your Own Wedding Vows (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ successful marriage (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ flowers (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ Sexiness (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ Friends (www.brides.com)

16 Classic Wedding Ideas You’ll Still Love 20 Years From Now

Delicate white florals, plenty of lush greenery[1], light linens, and minimal decor... These classic wedding ideas and details will never go out of style. And if you're a bride who prefers timelessness over trends, we suggest planning your ceremony and reception in a classic wedding style. You won't have to worry about any fades fading: When you and your partner look back on your wedding photos[2] decades from now, you'll still be madly in love with these classic wedding ideas.

If you’re on the fence on whether to go classic for your big day, first compare your likes and dislikes to that of popular nuptial styles and themes, such as bohemian, modern[3], and rustic[4]. If these beloved, popular themes[5] are just not your cup of tea, then a classic wedding is probably the ideal choice for you and your big day. Often a more formal celebration, a classic wedding frequently features lush green and white florals, refined color schemes, and plenty of clean lines and sophisticated elegance. Translation: Total. Bridal. Bliss.

There are plenty of ways to emulate a classic wedding theme within your big day. For classic wedding invitations, opt for romantic calligraphy[6]. At the ceremony, you and your about-to-be spouse can recite classic wedding vows[7] to add formality to the whole affair. Dance the night away to classic wedding songs[8], like Etta James's "At Last." And after dinner, dine on towering tiers of white buttercream—a popular feature of classic wedding cakes.

For more examples of this elegant aesthetic, we asked the experts for their favorite classic wedding ideas that'll never go out of style.

References

  1. ^ lush greenery (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ wedding photos (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ modern (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ rustic (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ popular themes (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ calligraphy (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ recite classic wedding vows (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ classic wedding songs (www.brides.com)