As you and your partner plan your wedding, you’ve probably already found the need to dispense with some traditions. After all, you’re a same-sex couple, and common wedding customs usually arose with heterosexual marriages in mind. As you craft your special day and personalize the various aspects, you may want to consider writing your vows yourself. You may find that this practice affords you yet another wonderful way of reflecting your unique expressions of love for one another.
Where Did Traditional Wedding Vows Originate?
Many variants of wedding vows in the English language have their origins in the Sarum Rite, a version of the Roman Catholic liturgies compiled by the Bishop of Salisbury in the 11th century. Although the Sarum Rite was still worded in Latin, priests would typically conduct its sacraments and ceremonies in their local dialects. In later times, English liturgical collections were compiled, displaying some shifts in wording as our language morphed into its current forms.
You might be surprised to find that the “traditional vows” derived from the Sarum Rite have basically stayed the same throughout the last several centuries. However, as modern couples sought other ways to express their love for each other and more progressive branches of Christianity arose, they began either editing the customary wording to suit their own beliefs or dispensing with it altogether. For example, priests conducting the first English versions of the Sarum Rite wedding vows asked brides if they would “obey” their husbands. Understandably, many couples now opt to drop this word entirely.
Crafting Your Own Scripts
Of course, the original Sarum Rite did not allow room for two brides or two grooms. Despite this, some same-gender couples have chosen to modify the customary wording for their own ceremonies. However, a more common move is to use completely different ceremony scripts. TheKnot provides helpful links to a few alternatives, including some Unitarian and Episcopalian versions that might prove to be useful. You might decide to use these scripts as they are, or create your own vows using them as inspirations.
About.com’s Gay Life section also offers some useful suggestions on how to get started in writing your ceremonial wording. Whether you and your beloved are religious or not, you may decide to center your vows on the idea of making a mutual promise to each other: to pledge your love, faithfulness and support. As the About.com article suggests, you can incorporate the imagery of your wedding rings into your wording, using them as symbols or tokens of these mutual promises.
If you’re concerned about the legality of your wedding vows, you likely don’t have any cause to worry. In most states, the minimum requirements to make your marriage valid under their laws are an officiant, a marriage license with the required signatures, witnesses and some sort of verbal contract. To allay your fears, you might wish to run the drafts of your vows by your officiant to get his or her take. Alternatively, you could collaborate with your officiant to create your vows. Besides the plethora of examples you may find online, he or she may have resources, such as liturgical manuals or guidebooks, to offer as you compose your ceremonial scripts.
Infuse Deeper Meaning Into Your Special Day
Besides being another chance for personalization, your wedding ceremony vows are your shared opportunity to publicly proclaim your love and commitments to each other. The scripts you choose or create can be as simple or as complex as you two prefer. Whether you base your own vows on religious or liturgical models or you gain inspiration from other sources, they’re completely your own to shape into a reflection of your shared love.