The negotiations about writing our own vows versus using traditional vows has resurfaced, but I suspect I’m going to win this one* so I’ve copied the draft vows that we’ll be using. We’re semi-adapting a reading from Corinthians 13, and I haven’t quite worked out how this is going to read, but otherwise it’s pretty close to the final version.
We are gathered here today in the face of this company, to join together (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) in holy matrimony; which is an honourable and solemn estate and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly. Into this estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any one can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
Who gives this woman to be married to this man?
Then the bride is given away.
Celebrant to Groom:
(Groom’s Name), do you take (Bride’s Name) as your lawfully wedded wife, to live in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honour, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?
Celebrant to Bride:
(Bride’s Name), do you take (Groom’s Name) as your lawfully wedded husband, to live in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honour, and cherish him from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him for as long as you both shall live?
1 Corinthians 13
Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; 6 It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.
So faith, hope and love remain and the greatest of these is love / In this life we have three lasting qualities — faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Celebrant: addressing the groom who repeats the marriage vows:
I (Groom’s Name) take thee (Bride’s Name) to be my lawfully wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honour, and cherish, ’til death do us part.
Celebrant: then to the bride who repeats the marriage vows:
I (Bride’s Name) take thee (Groom’s Name) to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honour, and cherish, ’til death do us part.
The Celebrant then asks for the brides ring from the best man.
Celebrant: (about brides ring):
May this ring be blessed so he who gives it and she who wears it may abide in peace, and continue in love until life’s end.
Groom: placing ring on bride’s finger:
With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
Celebrant: (about groom’s ring):
May this ring be blessed so that she who gives it and he who wears it may abide in peace, and continue in love until life’s end.
Bride: placing ring on groom’s finger:
With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow
You may want to play a song or some music here.
May this couple be prepared to continue to give, be able to forgive and experience more and more joy with each passing day, with each passing year. (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name), are now beginning their married life together, we hope that they may have loving assistance from their family, the constant support of friends, and a long life with good health and everlasting love. In so much as (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) have consented to live forever together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before this company, having given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and having declared same by the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife.
Celebrant: (to the couple):
You may now seal the promises you have made with each other with a kiss. You may now kiss your bride.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the loving couple
Mr. and Mrs.…………
Music and Signing of the Register.
Now we’re just left with working out the music to be played while the guests wait for me to show up.
* Well, win pieces of it. I’m still forbidden from using references to God, which means no ending with “Let those which God has joined let no man tear asunder” and references to ‘obeying and serving’ have been replaced with cherish. But I guess I can live with that. Especially since I’m an atheist…