Civil wedding vows can be as unique and personal to you as you choose. However, it can be impossible to know where to start. Wedding Specialist Jayne gives us her top tips on creating beautiful civil wedding vows, which work perfectly for you.
Some people might think that a civil ceremony is not like a “real” wedding – a view often dispelled as soon as they enter the magnificent 16th Century West Barn and most certainly forgotten when they hear the happy couple make their wedding vows.
The West Barn is where the civil wedding ceremony is held here at The Ashes, it is light and airy with fabulous acoustics and the Juliet Balcony is the perfect spot for live musicians to serenade your guests from.
It is worth remembering that some of the guests may never have been to a civil wedding before but not to worry, once everyone is seated prior to the civil ceremony the Registrars will welcome you’re your guests and kindly remind them to switch off their mobile phones!
Although the official photographer will be taking photographs throughout, they respectfully ask that guests do not take pictures during the wedding vows so as to preserve the solemnity of the occasion. Not even the official photographer is allowed to take flash photos, as it can be very distracting for the registrars and the couple alike.
Our Handpicked Photographers
Personalised Wedding Vows
One of the most wonderful things about a civil wedding is that you have the option to personalise your wedding vows and even write your own wedding vows, so that the ceremony is especially personal, touching and from the heart.
Just bear in mind that legally, a civil ceremony cannot contain vows, readings or music that have any religious references. You’ll also need to include the statutory declarations. That is to call upon those present to witness your vows and to:
“…Solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name)”
Make it Special
You can work with your registrar to personalise your wedding vows. Please remember that you should always get the Registrars’ approval of any wedding vows you have written yourselves prior to the ceremony.
In addition to writing your own vows and in order to further individualise their ceremony and make it more meaningful to them, our couples often ask a close friend or relative to do a “reading” or two for them. This can be almost anything that helps you to communicate how much you love each other. Quite often it is a light-hearted moment in the proceedings as our couple have chosen a poem or passage from a favourite author which is special to them.
With this in mind, I’d like to share with you a couple of my favourites...
One and not Two...
The first is an excerpt from the novel 'Captain Corelli’s Mandolin' by Louis de Bernieres...
'Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
That it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because that is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement,
It is not the proclamation of promises of eternal passion….
That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
And this is both an art and a fortunate accident…
To have roots that grow towards each other underground,
So that when all the pretty blossom has fallen from your branches
You find that you are one tree and not two.'
Yes I'll Marry You!
The second of my favourites (for very different reasons!) Is called 'Yes, I’ll Marry You' by Pam Ayres...
'Yes, I’ll marry, my dear, and here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed when the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking and it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch to see, and you investigate.
Yes I’ll marry you, my dear, you may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes it’s you that has to mend it.
You have to face the neighbour should our Labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me it’s you that has to whack him.
Yes I’ll marry you, you’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty, you can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas, you can cook it every night!
It’s you who work the drill and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages, but none of them for you,
And so before you see the light, I do, I do, I do !'