John Manuel




       "I, John James Armstrong take you, Grace Elizabeth Jones, to be my lawfully wedded wife"


Your wedding vows constitute the climax of your ceremony, and stand apart from any other section of the proceeding.  In fact, the actual words, 'I take you,' are required by the Marriage Act of Ontario, and are the words by which you become legally married.  My final declaration merely confirms that all necessary things have been done, and the most necessary of all is the sharing of vows.


Sometimes, the vows can be combined with the ring portion of the ceremony, as, "I take you to be my wife/husband and I give you this ring ...", but the vows (I take you...) are the central focus of the ceremony.


There are three basic ways to approach the vows: 


1. Do you [name] take [name] to be your husband/wife .. etc. ... [Response: I do.]

    This is the simplest method for the couple, as only the words "I do" need me spoken. 


2. Repeat after me: I [name] take you [name] ... I [name] take you [name]  ... etc.

    This method takes a little more time, but some couples prefer this approach.


3. Personalized vows.  Increasingly common is for couples to write their own vows, sometimes including personal or biographical material, how they met, how they make each other feel, what they are specifically promising to do for each other, and what their hopes are for their future.  All of these ideas are useful and can create a romantic atmosphere.  Sometimes, humour can be included in this section of the ceremony, again depending upon the preference of the couple. 


Often, the recital of vows becomes what I call 'a Kleenex moment,' as emotions are aroused both between the couple and among the guests.

I will receive your written vows (usually by email) and include them in the copy of the ceremony I will present to you afterwards.  Each partner can send me their own vows privately, so that neither knows what the other will say until the 'moment of truth.'  Personal vows are best read rather than memorized, as couples have a lot on their minds on the day of the wedding.  I will print them in large print, easily readable and hold them for you to read. 


But no matter how the couple personalizes the vows, the words, "I take you..." must be included, as they are the words by which the couple becomes legally married.    


Often, the vows will end, "for these and many other reasons, I now take you to be my husband/wife." 


I will provide you with many examples and variations of how the vows can be presented.


   But remember...


       It's Your Wedding ... Your Way.