Wedding Ceremonies and the Vows That Bind Them

Sacred Ceremony bookWhether you are planning a traditional wedding in a place of worship, or a contemporary celebration in your neighbor’s pasture or on a distant beach, your ceremony is going to reflect the personalities of you and your significant other. The average couple may write their own vows, but they will likely leave the rest to the pastor, rabbi, or judge. But who wants to be average?

In Sacred Ceremony, Dayna Reid points out that only the “Declaration of Intent” and the “Pronouncement of Marriage” are required in order for a wedding to be legal – the rest is your choice entirely. The author explains the elements of a traditional service while offering suggestions for making your wedding truly unique.

In The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows and Traditions, Carley Roney  and the editors at look at the marriage ceremony from different The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows & Traditionsspiritual and cultural perspectives. This book will be particularly helpful for couples from different faiths, and couples with children from previous marriages. “Dare to be different,” says Roney, “your wedding should be rich with personality and culture.”

Once you have decided what elements will create the framework of your ceremony, it’s time to decide how to express your feelings for one another. What are you going to say to your partner, your family, your community about your commitment to one another? Our Wedding Neighborhood offers a wide selection of books to help you.

Words for the Wedding book coverWords for the Wedding by Wendy Paris and Andrew Chesler is full of “creative ideas for personalizing your vows, toasts, invitations and more.” Focusing on themes like devotion, partnership, and faith you can customize your wedding using “poetry, prose, quips, and quotes to help you walk down the aisle in your personal style.”

For the couple wanting to write their own vows, you might check out Wedding Words: Vows by Jennifer Cegielski. This practical guide recommends that both partners should participate willingly in the writing process in order “to avoid disastrous results,” (which generally sounds like good advice for a married coupWedding Words Vowsle). The author also encourages the couple to “prepare and practice” since most people aren’t comfortable speaking in public. Perhaps her most important piece of advice is some I’ve heard from more than one married person – on the day of the wedding, listen to your partner. Your wedding day will go by joyfully, but quickly, and you don’t want to miss one second.


Find these helpful books in the Wedding Neighborhood, in the West Wing of the library along the south wall.

The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows and Traditions, Roney, Carley, 392.55

Words for the Wedding, Paris, Wendy and Chesler, Andrew, 392.554

Wedding Words and Vows, Cegielski, Jennifer, 392.554

Sacred Ceremony, Reid, Dayna, 392.55

(This blog was written by Meg Porteous, member of the Wedding Neighborhood Team.)