Promises, Promises…

The vows are the climax of every wedding, and there are lots of ways to speak them, but over the last few years, more and more couples are choosing to ask their guests to make promises to them before they exchange their own.

I think it’s a great idea. After all, the reason you invited them was because you want them to be part of your future as well as your past, and because, when the going gets tough, they’re the people you’re going to rely on to help you through.

So here are some things to think about, and ways of doing that. Almost three years ago, Kevin and Kellie were the first to venture down that path. Just before they spoke their own vows to one another, I said,

In a moment, Kellie and Kevin will utter those immortal words “I do”,  but theirs will be a response in the singular: a one to one commitment. 

Before they do that, as their families and closest friends, I’m going to ask you to agree to a number of requests. 

I will ask you a series of questions on their behalf, and you will answer each one with the words “we do”.

Don’t worry – this is not a group marriage!

Get the idea? You can take it a bit further too.

It can be great fun to choose guests to ask each of you specific questions that really put you on the spot. That’s what Colin and Pat did.

Guest 5: Colin – do you promise not to comment on Pat’s baking or cooking with the irritating words ‘Sweetheart,  I wouldn’t do it that way’? 
Colin to respond!! 
Guest 6: Pat – do you promise not to hit every key on you computer just because it will not work as fast as you want it to? 
Pat to respond!!

Now as you can see, in both those cases, the couples themselves decided what the questions should be, but Ewan and Stewart took it on stage further. They asked four very good friends, Denise, Pete, Carole and Martin to make up their own questions and keep them a secret so that Stewart and Ewan only heard them for the first time on the day. It worked brilliantly, BUT, it’s what we call a ‘high risk strategy’, and if you want to do it, I insist that your friends send what they propose to say to me first of all just in case they stray too far off brief, if you know what I mean…

So here are a few ideas for Guest Vows to get you started.

Celebrant: Will you support this couple and celebrate their happiness as they embark on this great adventure?
All: “We do”
Celebrant: Will you shore up their defences when life gets tough?
All: “We do”
Celebrant: Will you offer counsel should they falter, and remind them of the promises they made today?
All: “We do”
Celebrant: If they forget these promises and start to moan about the little things, do you promise to take them aside and give them a serious talking to?  
All: “We do”
Let me know if this appeals to you, and send me some suggestions for what you’d like to say when your time comes!

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