Legal vs Personal Marriage Vows: What You Need to Know

As you know if you have read my blogs the legal, binding vows of marriage are quite specific and cannot be altered. You must use each other’s full names and say “ I call upon the persons here present to witness that I take you as my lawful wife/ husband/spouse.”
You can throw in the word “ wedded” – but that is the only variant allowed.

However, you can also make your own personal marriage vows to each other and in those you can use whatever words you like (as long as they don’t negate the legal statement!)

Here are some vows that maintain the ritual and beliefs of the pagan ceremonies I have described in other blogs:

“We call upon all spirits and energies who serve the light, and you here present to witness how we two take the vows of marriage.
By this fire which warms us both (pass hands through candle flame)
By this water which together we drink (celebrant offers goblet)
By the breath of our love which binds our hearts together,
By these rings whose precious metal the earth provides,
So we engage as husband and wife in solemn wedlock in accordance with the laws of man, the universal love of God, and the benevolent grace of nature divas.”

I usually advise couples to make the personal vow first and then to seal it with the legal words. After these words have been exchanged, the marriage has taken place. That is a nice moment to savour before the public announcement or the signing of the documents (without which the marriage is still legal).

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