WaW Before I Do: To Vow or Not To Vow

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I’m saddened that some churches actually do not allow vows. Think about it… What’s the point of not allowing it? Does it make the wedding too long? Are we doubting the couple’s capability to know exactly what to say? Does it make the wedding too dramatic? Whatever the reason is for not allowing, I think the reason for why we should outweighs by far why we shouldn’t. For me, vows are sacred therefore is the most important part of the ceremony. I always tell the photographers that I train – there are 2 parts of the wedding where you can anticipate the most tears – the bride’s entrance and the personal vows. I don’t think I need to expound on why.

It was a touching moment when a friend of mine actually asked me to help him organize a surprise renewal of vows in Boracay. One of the things that he said for his vows was “I have to admit, when we first got married, I was merely repeating what the priest said but did not mean any of it. Now I want to give you my real vow.” Everyone was in tears specially the fact that all those around them knew this couple was in the brink of separating few months prior.

Now here is why I want to push you to do your personal vows:

  • “I ….” – Vows are real! It is about you and what’s inside your heart. Your vows are your commitment. As the couple gets into this new and lifelong phase, they are usually troubled by so much doubt or the “what if’s”. A vow can remove these fears and replace them with hope that these promises brings.
  • “I will…” – Vows are what marriage is all about! Marriage is not just a ceremony but it is union of 2 separate people. This union should be covered by an agreement about what changes this new life brings. A stated vow tells everyone they know what they’re getting into — specially with regard to their boundaries and behaviors. The words “I will” are strong active words that tell your partner “You can count on me to do this”.
  • “I vow not to” – Vows sets boundaries. As you enter this new life, what do you agree to change? Is it to let go of some of the things, habits and people in your life? Is it a commitment never to leave no matter what? Is it not to sleep when the other person is still angry? Vows set parameters and boundaries of what can’t be done.
  • Last and the least, Vows make SDE’s better – Though this is not the main reason why we should do our vows, it is a prize that comes with doing your responsibility. Personal vows make your videos special because then it becomes personal. Someday when your video is played back, you wouldn’t own up to a vow that you were required to repeat would you? But a personal vow would resonate down your soul and make you want to own up to it.

So what if your church does not allow you to make a vow? Here are some of my suggestions:

a. Say it in your video – either as a surprise to the other party (so shoot individually) or go to a remote place and have your videographer video it (shoot as a couple).
b. Do it at your wedding reception – If your program is too long, then its better to cut out the less important traditionals like games and AVPs. I think this is more important. You don’t need a priest or pastor for God to hear and bless your vows.
c. Write it to out each other / put it in your website – Vows are like goals. If you don’t set it in stone, tendency is it moves and changes.

So that’s my personal opinion on vows. It’s sad that most couples wait until the last minute to do it. And as I end my vows, may I have a request for those people who do. I pray that your vows will always be real and genuine. Not memorized… Not commercialized…. It doesn’t have to be memorized word for word but my final advice to you is to simply just say what you mean and mean what you say, remembering that the vow you make is not just to your spouse but also to God. I hope this article blessed you.


Read more of John and Monique Ong’s WaW Before I Do articles at weddingsatwork.com/category/waw-before-i-do/.

  • About John & Monique Ong:

    John is a pastor at Revelation City Church, Scuba Diving instructor and owns Imagine Nation photo + Video. He is a graduate of business management at DLSU and took up Masteral in Marketing in the same school and is currently in the Pastoral counseling course at Asian Theological Seminary. Monique is a creative wife / help mate to John, a wedding hosts and heads Post Ad ventures (an Events Management company), a youth pastor in Revelation and writes in their blog called “an ounce of faith”. She took Tourism in UP Diliman.

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