The vows are a special part of the wedding regardless of whether you want to speak from your own written vows or you want to do something a little more traditional. Despite all of us going to weddings at some point (or maybe you haven’t), there are some parts of the wedding we just know happen but don’t really know the order or the why behind it, like whether it matters with who goes first in the vows.
So, who goes first in wedding vows? Traditionally speaking, the groom goes before the bride. But if you have decided not to go the traditional route of repeating vows from the wedding officiant and have agreed on writing vows, you may want to choose a particular order where the bride goes before the groom.
Let’s talk about what makes the most sense.
What Order Do Wedding Vows Go In?
Traditionally speaking, the groom will go first. It’s been natural for the wedding officiant to ask the groom to repeat after them because the groom was the one who likely asked the bride to marry him.
Nowadays, that isn’t always the case.
While things have still remained traditional for a lot of people, there have been instances where we see the bride asking the groom to marry them or wanting to go first in the vows.
We more commonly see this when the bride and groom have written their own vows and want to make this more of a unique and personal part of the ceremony as opposed to repeating after the officiant.
The most important thing to remember is that your wedding is exactly that.
While it has in the past traditionally made the most sense to allow for the groom to go first, it really doesn’t matter which order you go.
But there are some tips when it comes to fluidity and what your vows can and should include.
What Should Your Vows Include?
Wedding vows should be personal, succinct, and thoughtful; containing sentiments that truly capture the importance of the other individual in your life.
Writing your own vows can be both beautiful and incredibly frightening.
If you are sharing your vows not only with the person but your entire wedding, it can be daunting and create writer’s block.
Or, in some cases, it can cause you to overwrite and have guests hanging there for one that seems like your entire love story.
Knowing what your vows should and shouldn’t include is important.
This is why we have created this should and should not list for you.
It Should Be Personal
The whole point of writing your own vows is to put a personal touch on it.
So whether you want to read a poem that means something to you and your significant other or you want to recount personal stories of how you met or when you knew, that is all great.
But making it generic is something you should refrain from doing.
It Could Use Some Laughs
When vows are 100 percent serious, it is OK.
Except you can expect either the bride to have a full face of makeup smeared.
Or, in worst-case scenarios, the bride can’t even get their words out because they are crying from their vows.
This is why it is good to use humor when possible.
The trick to this is when you use humor, you should be funny.
But hey, it’s your wedding day, and likely people will laugh just because it is your fay.
It Should Not Be Crass
Humor is different than being crass.
While you may have some dirty jokes between the two of you, this is probably not the time to bring them up.
One, it may creep out the guest, and two, this is a moment to profess your love.
It’s also important to remember there are usually kids at the wedding.
Simply said, this is not the time to be crass.
It Should Not Be About Anyone Else
The focal point is the person who is standing in front of you.
This is not the time to talk about yourself, really, or may only if it is in relationship to them or anyone else for that matter.
This is the time to appreciate exactly what is in front of you and tell them why you want to marry them.
It Should Be an Appropriate Length
Whatever you do, make sure that it is short and sweet but not too short.
Saying I love you may not be enough but talking on for years is also not great.
Write something that expresses what they mean to you and save all the details for later!
How Do You Start Off Wedding Vows?
At some point during the flow of the wedding ceremony, the officiant will ask the groom or the bride if they would like to start the vows. When it comes to the first words, some vows will start with a religious saying, where other vows will get right to the chase.
The wedding officiant will know whether you want to do traditional vows that start with, “Repeat after me.”
Or whether you have prepared your own vows to share with each other.
And this will largely dictate proceedings.
Just consider that if you have chosen to do traditional vows, there are a number of different types of vows that will all start differently.
Speaking with your officiant ahead of the wedding on what to expect here, is generally advised.
How Do You Structure Your Wedding Vows
While technically anything goes, structuring your wedding vows can actually be very difficult for a lot of people.
They may not know when to add the funny bit or the serious parts, and that’s why sometimes they look for more professional help.
Here are some basic tips and food for thought on how to structure your wedding vows.
- Start by telling the person who they are to you. This may mean your best friend, partner, whatever terminology that you use (no crass); bring this up in the opening statement. It could be a nickname that people know you call each other.
- Next, you can tell them what are the things you love about them, from physical features like their smile to the way they are so caring about everyone else. This is a good chance to bring up unique things that your partner has and not a whole lot of other people do. The more personal you can make it here, the better.
- Then, you can talk about how you met or how you knew that he or she was the one. This is a great time to bring up a special story or moment in your lives. This can also be the funny part if there is a chance for humor in here. This is probably the best part to include that besides maybe some of the features or reasons why you love the other person.
- Now is the time to actually make your promises. Do you promise to cherish them? Or to be with them through sickness and in health? This part can be difficult for some people, so it is normal to look for more traditional vows that include promises. This is not the time to incorporate humor, but if you do, it should be a quick joke and move on to the serious part.
- Lastly, you can close your bows to talking about something in the future you are looking forward to, whether it’s kids or moving in together or traveling the world. Putting an emphasis on the future is an important part to include in the vows because you already know you have a past together. It’s the bond in the future that matters.
Whatever Your Heart Desires
Anyone that tries to tell you what to do on your wedding day should either be fired or uninvited.
OK, well maybe the people whose jobs are to give suggestions should be listened to here and there but when it comes to the order of your wedding vows you can do whatever you want.
Traditionally speaking, the groom would go first, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Brides can go first, and it’s a lot more common now that some couples choose to write their own vows.
If you do choose to write your own vows, it is a good idea to either get help or at least consider the things you should and should not include in those vows.
This is a huge moment that you don’t want to be so serious it becomes awkward.
You can seriously tell your partner you love them and why while adding a little bit of humor, so the bride, whether receiving or giving the vows, doesn’t choke up.
While there are no absolute rules to the structure of the vows, it doesn’t hurt to have a little of everything.
Telling your partner why you love them and how you will continue to do so is a sure win.
With a personal touch, your vows are going to rock the wedding venue without issue.
Remember, it’s for you and your soon-to-be anyways.
Not anyone else.
Have other questions on wedding vows? Then my other guides may be of interest:
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!