Weddings can be some of the most amusing and emotional family events, but they can also be the most traditional. As an Austin wedding photographer, I've heard a lot of different vows and while the traditional “love and obey” is still the most popular many couples these days are choosing to write their own more personal vows. Whether you're debating the modernism of asking your spouse to “obey” or stressing over what you're supposed to put in your custom vows I can tell you that as long as you're sincere your future spouse will still love you, and even if you choose a bit of fun for the audience they'll probably still forgive you. I've found that most wedding vows come in 5 forms:
Traditional Wedding Vows
Romantic Wedding Vows
Funny Wedding Vows
Unique Wedding Vows
Simple Wedding Vows
The Traditional Wedding Vows
Traditional vows are usually religious in nature, and they will differ based on what your religion is. The most recognized vows are those from Catholicism which include “better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health” etc. They're not strictly necessary from a legal standpoint of marriage and instead go back to Roman times when “Free” marriages were conducted between the father of the bride and the groom where they would simply agree that the couple was married and what was expected of the bride. These traditional wedding vows were very loose and did not have specific wording. However, in the Church of England law, the vows are necessary as part of the marriage ceremony to be legal when performed by a minister of that denomination, some other religious bodies have similar requirements. As a wedding photographer who has seen a lot of weddings traditional wedding vows never get old, everyone loves them because they are expected and because they are simple.
The Romantic Wedding Vows
Weddings at their core are about love. Romantic vows are all about expressing that love for one another. The most moving wedding vows I've heard as an Austin wedding photographer were those of a couple who had dealt with a lot of issues in their relationship. They were honest, heartfelt, and were aimed at expressing their authentic thoughts to each other. I enjoyed this immensely because everyone could empathize with them and it gave a real insight into the couple themselves. There wasn't a dry eye in the house and the wedding photos captured that perfectly. It was an honor to photograph it and the emotion displayed by the couple made the occasion complete.
The Funny Wedding Vows
Funny vows are always a crowd pleaser but it's important to remember that a wedding is still a serious event and while including some entertainment you should still include the appropriate “love” etc. parts. I think the funniest wedding vows I have heard include one where the groom told the bride (who had IBS) that he loved her even though she farted like an elephant. Obviously, most of the crowd present knew of her health issues because she shrugged it off and agreed that it was pretty bad. It got a good laugh and the ceremony continued. If this had been another couple though it could have been a disaster.
Another funny wedding vow I've heard as an Austin wedding photographer was when the bride promised that she would love the groom even when it was playoffs season. The bride was a die-hard enough fan that her garter matched her team, and she had also included the helmet as part of their wedding décor. The crowd laughed, and then she also included the fact that she loved him even though he supported a different team which got another laugh. While the vows were definitely unique, they might not be for everyone. She certainly got a laugh from their audience though.
Simple Wedding Vows
Not every wedding is an elaborate event. Many couples choose to go for a small ceremony that is short and gets to the point – the marriage. Simple wedding vows are usually one-liners which include only the important things or even nothing more than an “I love you”. The best thing about simple wedding vows is that they don't take long and they don't keep people waiting to get to the party afterward. Most couples who have simple wedding vows are the “no fuss” type people who don't really want all the fluff that comes with traditional weddings. As a wedding photographer, I'm not really a fan of these, it skips over what should be one of the most important parts of a wedding and leaves me with nothing to capture.
The Unique Wedding Vows
Probably the most unique wedding vows I've ever seen included the bride's daughter. The groom made a separate set of vows that he read to her daughter, promising to love and care for her like his own child and to always treat her with the respect she deserved as a young lady. It was incredibly touching, moving, and had most of the crowd in tears, including the bride. What made this such a beautiful moment to photograph was that it was a surprise. The bride had no idea and the wedding photos I captured had so much emotion in them I even teared up editing them. It was truly a beautiful moment and I think it was one of the most moving I've ever seen. The Unique Wedding Vows Probably the most unique wedding vows I've ever seen included the bride's daughter. The groom made a separate set of vows that he read to her daughter, promising to love and care for her like his own child and to always treat her with the respect she deserved as a young lady. It was incredibly touching, moving, and had most of the crowd in tears, including the bride. What made this such a beautiful moment to photograph was that it was a surprise. The bride had no idea and the wedding photos I captured had so much emotion in them I even teared up editing them. It was truly a beautiful moment and I think it was one of the most moving I've ever seen.
What's Important to Include in Wedding Vows?
As an Austin wedding photographer, I really have seen a lot of vows, but I think what's most important is to include something personal. Whether your religion is important so that you want traditional vows because of that or whether you want to include how you truly feel wedding vows that connect with you as a couple are the most important. Just with all the wedding vows, I've heard they all had something that made them unique to the couple. Personally, I think it's important to have something in there about love. The occasion is a celebration of your love for one another and the theme is central to all weddings. It would seem silly to have vows without love included somewhere.
However, your wedding is also about you, and if you think that the most important thing to include your love for your sports team, an embarrassing laugh, or that one memory of how you met then anything goes. As an Austin wedding photographer, it's my job to capture that moment but it's your job as the couple to make that moment your own.