How To Write Wedding Vows

Episode 52 - The Wedding Guide Podcast

Writing Wedding Vows for the person you love can be scary, fun, exciting and you may not even know where to start. So today, all the way from Toronto is Tade, who’s here to talk about How to Write Your Vows. Tade has a very simple yet incredibly effective way to develop your personalised vows and other little tips for the day.

How Did You Become a Marriage Celebrant?

How I became the Marrying lady. Well, once upon a time, a long time ago in a far away land, I’m from a small village in the middle of nowhere, Canada in the middle of the prairies, I’m a Prairie girl. And I found myself living in Scotland in Edinburgh.

And so it started off as 10 months and then it turned into several years as many Aussies know because they’re out there a lot, a lot of out there. But when I was out there, I discovered in the spring they would do a traditional ceremony called the hand fasting ceremony. And it was a wedding ceremony predating Christian times where a couple would tie their hands together, and then come back a year and a day and say, “How is this working out for you?” And I loved this type of ceremony because it really brought out this idea that you can’t take each other for granted. It’s not forever more, no matter who you are, what you do to one another.

So I loved this beautiful idea of I’m going to treat you with respect and honor that each year you choose me and I will be worthy of being chosen again for you, that type of thing. So when I came back to Canada in 2003, I had friends who were getting married and I was like, “This is such a great aspect of ceremony because it means something. It’s not just this flowery idea of forever without any kind of responsibility or obligations to that.”

And so that’s how I started, it was basically friends said, “Great, how about you do that aspect of it, and we’ll just get the legal guide to come in and do the rest?” And then as more and more friends started saying, “Can you do the whole ceremony?” And in Canada, it’s different in each of our provinces on how that works.

So very different. So I’m only speaking to Ontario, it’s different in Quebec, Saskatchewan, every other province has their own legal Marriage Act to abide by.

So when I started doing it, I was doing it not legally, until I had two friends getting married and they said, “Look, we don’t want that man at the back of the room to sign the papers, can you just do the whole thing?” And that’s where it became more of a legal process to get licensed under the province to be able to perform wedding ceremonies. And so I did it just for fun and then it grew and grew. And them we had World Pride in 2014. Which was huge, and so I wanted to marry couples from around the world who didn’t have their marriage rights recognized in their countries.

And then I did the largest wedding in North America at World Pride with 10 others, I wasn’t the only one. But I was the only one doing it from a spiritual or just a place of not being from a particular religious denomination at that time. And that really created the Marrying Lady, which was basically just this name that incorporated, it didn’t matter if you were marrying and you were Jewish and Catholic or Hagen and Hindu or whatever you were, as long as you were coming together in love. And that’s basically how The Marrying Lady came about.

What's Your Process of Marrying couples?

So I don’t have any business cards or anything like that. It’s basically became a snowball effect because it’s snowing here in Canada, a snowball effect. Once you do a wedding, no one trained me when I first got started. So let’s start with that. When I was starting off, I had no idea what to do or how to do it. And so I didn’t fall under this umbrella of a lot of Canadian were called officiants out here to do it legally that they’re trained to do things a certain way, and typically that was very traditional way of doing things, and no one trained me.

So I just went into it from this place of let’s just have fun. Let’s have a really good time. We’ll still do the legal aspects that we legally have to do, but let’s really make it personal and make it about you and just really have a great time, which I see on Instagram how amazing you guys are doing it down in Australia. It’s like you already had that going, and we’re still just trying to crack that open and just have fun with it up here.

But the process of basically they contact me online. I have a website, which I put everything on. I don’t hide anything I do, it’s like, “Ah, here’s a great ceremony I just created. Here’s a great idea I have, here’s a good way to do this.” Everything’s out there. So I think what happens is that a lot of people are like, “Okay, she’s very transparent. She’s got everything out there.” And they just find me on Google and they send me a message and I send them, here’s a list of all the different types of services and let’s set up a time and get to know each other.

And then once we do that, I basically explain how I work, what happens, what to do. And we craft a very customized ceremony as easy and short and sweet as they want, or as elaborate, incorporating different cultures or traditions as they want. And just have fun with it, be creative and that’s the process. Then I show up and marry them.

wedding celebrant

Tade bringing life to a ceremony!

How to Get Married in Canada?


I want to head us into vows and that, but I am curious legally so in Australia we need the full names to be said at least once, we need to have the Monitum needs to be said, which is what marriage is in Australia. And there’s one legal sentence for vows that couples need to say, and then we sign the documents. Is that similar too in Canada? I know it’s a bit different in terms of each region as well.


Far more complicated. So what happens is when a couple wants to get married in Ontario, they have to go to any city hall in Ontario and pick up their marriage license.

Okay? Costing about $140 to $170. They go in, they basically confirm that they’re not married to anyone else, that there’s no legal reason that they should not be married. And they take that license and they bring it to the officiants, and that’s basically where we start. That’s the legal document that we send off and get them legally married in the system. The process in terms of what we have to say is under the Ontario Marriage Act, and that marriage act basically gives a civil ceremony outlined in it on what has to be said.

And then each denomination that’s licensed through the province can determine if they wish to say that or not. That’s where it’s complicated. It’s like here are the rules, but the rules may not apply to you.

And it is what it is. So basically what I’ve done is I take the key part, the key part that they have to say during the ceremony is to show intent and consent to marry, okay?

That could be as complicated as saying, “Do you so and so take so and so to be your lawfully wedded wife, do you or husband or partner or spouse or whatever you want to be? Or is there any legal reason in which you so and so should not be married to so and so?” Or in my more less, that’s very clinical. I’m like, “You have chosen blah, blah, blah, to be your blah, blah, blah. Will you love, respect them, be honest with them always and stand by them through whatever may come?” And then they say, “Yes, I do. I will, affirmative.” I’m like, “Good check.”

And then the other key thing is that they have to I declare them married. So the witnesses sign and I sign basically saying that they heard them say that they consent to marry each other and I declare them.

Talking About Vows


Cool. So it sounds like in terms of their vows, it’s really you are getting them to give that consent to each other.


This is where the idea of wedding vows is so confusing for a lot of people.

Because often when couples come to me, the only thing they think about for their ceremony, typically, if they haven’t put a lot of thought into it is I’ve got to do my vows. I got to do my vows. I got to do my vows. And what’s really misleading is that legally your vows are when you say, “I do, I will, yes, affirmative.” To whatever the officiant has asked you to confirm.

Okay. This concept of personalized vows, they think it’s traditional, it’s not traditional at all. This came out of the 1960s where brides, feminists, activists basically said, “Look, your vows suck. I don’t want to …” Seriously, because in the traditional vows, there would be the element of the woman saying, “I will obey him.” Without it of course being reciprocal.

And women were like, “No, forget that. I am not going to obey anyone. I’m not going to do those vows. I’m going to write my own vows, and this is what I’m going to say. I’m going to have a civil ceremony and just do the legal stuff. And then I’m going to do my personal vows.” And this has evolved into this idea that you have to do personal vows and personal vows are a big part of the ceremony, but it’s actually just it’s just fun. It’s just a fun thing to do, which makes the whole idea of how do you do your vows so complicated because you don’t, you don’t have to do them, you want to do them, or you don’t want to do them when you feel pressure.


Yeah. So for the couples who do want to do personal vows.

And do they ask you for help?


They often will ask me, well, there’s various types. So basically your vows, you can repeat after me and I provide very, heartfelt, but nothing too ridiculous vows that are like five, six slides, repeat after me, easy peasy.

Some choose that as the option. You can write your own vows. You can say your own vows. You can do interpretive dance moves. So some get overwhelmed by that, they’re like, “Okay, we’re going to write our own vows.”

Tade looking great in colour with her wedding party

How to Write Personalised Wedding Vows

Great to say over the years, rather than go through everything with everybody all the time, I did a few videos that I post online, and the first one is how to write your wedding vows? And all it does is get your mind going with the thoughts of what it is, those original feelings really bringing out why do I want to marry this person? And having that as their guide for writing their own vows. But then when they want more support, then it’s like yeah, because often there’s one that’s super creative and excited. And the other one who’s struggling. So it’s about finding a balance.

My number one, number one tip for writing vows is, do not Google anything. Do not Google anything because personal vows are personal. And as much as Google knows everything, Google does not know your personal life, right?


Well, actually Google might know their personal life, but it’s not going to put them in personal vows. I hear what you’re saying. I hear what you’re saying.


But no, to make it easy on the person who… Because the biggest fallacy in writing your own vows and what trips people up the most is that they often believe that they have to be creative and romantic. And there’s often one person in the relationship who is far more for creative and far more romantic. And there is this dread that they’re going to outdo you or they’re just not going to be consistent. So the other tip I give for couples is that think of it this way, your vows are already created. You’re not creating vows. All you’re doing is picking a way to express them.

tade doing a wedding

Tade brings personality and great advice on vows to her couples

The Formula to Write Personalised Wedding Vows

And that ultimately comes down to an easy formula. People are like, “There’s no formula.” I’m like, “Yes, there is a formula.” It’s a very easy formula when people need help with it.

And that formula is basically past, present, future, I promise.

So the past is,

I knew I wanted to marry you when

I first fell in love with you the day you…

It’s looking back and just remembering that essence of when you first felt that happy juice in that relationship, and you knew that this is the person for you.


The present is all about just how you feel about that person in this moment.

I admire your… determination, your beauty, your intelligence, your honesty.

I love how we have this wonderful life together, and this is where we’re at now.


The future is looking at,

I can’t wait to be your husband to travel with you.

To be our doggy parents.

just envisioning your life in the future.


And then the promise is really what people get tripped up on. But this is where you can Google stuff and just come up with the words to fit in.

I vow to honor, respect, encourage you, be your biggest fan, set the table at night, take out your muddy boots

I don’t know! So it’s really an easy formula. It’s like looking at your past when you first felt it, looking at the present, what you admire and love about your life now, what you’re looking forward to, and then just I vow (I Promise) to honor respect and cherish you forever, boom.


Love it. Love how you made that really simple. Well done!


Yeah. For people who just don’t even know where to start, just something that’s just a formula just makes it feel like okay, I can do that. I know when I loved you and what I love about you and where I want to be with you. And I’ll just throw in the basic bits at the bottom, done and done.


Cool. Love it. Well done. I like that it’s just simple and I’m always trying to find, because I’m not the creative vow writing person. I will help, if people send me something I can definitely double check things, and are they similar length and similar depth and all that. And I just want to help them with that, but I’m not necessarily wanting to be like, here’s my three step process, which you’ve got. You’ve nailed it. So I’m excited to help share that with couples.

Wedding Vows in Australia


I should probably clarify as well that we have been, in terms of legalities, we’ve been talking about the legalities in Canada, for Australia it’s one sentence.

You’ve got to say, “I ask everyone here to witness that I (your name) take, you (their name) to be my wedded wife/husband/spouse”

You could say lawfully or wedded wife, husband, spouse, possibly even partner. And for me it’s then going, well you can put your personal vows in the vow section and then we can add that legal sentence in there, or you can say that (legal) sentence when you give each other your rings, totally your call. And then there are other things as well you can mix and match.

Hot Wedding Tips for Vows

So the one thing that I always give as a tip when couples are saying, “Yeah, I definitely want to write my own vows.” I say, “Okay, here’s what I recommend. Print or write your vows on a heavier stock of paper, think of a greeting card. And when you’re holding onto that greeting card, it’s nice if you both have something similar.” So it looks good in photos, it puts context to the photos when you get them back. Like oh, that’s the moment I was writing my own vows. They’re consistent.

They can be in line with your wedding colors or what have you, it just looks classier than a phone which may die and makes you look like you’re on Instagram.

But when you have that card, what you want to do is put a space in the middle for not only for your thumbs to go, but a space in the middle, just so that you have that reminder to look up, look into each other’s eyes, breathe. And most importantly, slow down.


Often people feel like when they’re doing their vows, they’re just trying to get through it like a school presentation. But ultimately you want it to be a real moment. You want to be able to look at each other in the eyes. Also, when you have it on a card, you’re probably going to have it both consistently about the same length. So you’re not going to have one that’s going to have a scroll, and one that’s going to have… Like the one time I had a groom who just wrote it on the back of a tanning salon receipt. So it gives it that consistency and it makes it look good. So that’s one of my many tips.


Well at least he looked like he had a great tan when he read it out. But yeah. I like that. I think that’s really important to remind everyone just it isn’t a school thing. You’re not trying to just race through it, even if you’re feeling nervous. And I think it’s good to write down, just take a breath and look up. And sometimes I say, because a lot of couples are just like, I just don’t want to cry, I just can’t cry.

And that’s cool. So I recommend to just take two breaths before we start. And then if you can’t look at each other, that’s fine. Just look down at the words. But I think just having at least that one deep breath before you begin, it helps dramatically. But yeah, if you’re able to look up, I think that’s even better. Just have that moment of connection. It’s not a race to see who can finish the vows first.


100%. My other advice is when you feel like you’re going to cry, definitely allow yourself to cry because if you don’t and something makes you laugh, you’ll snort. Yeah, it’s a true story.


We’ve all heard the snort and the weddings and look they work too. But yeah, if we can avoid the snort, a few tears, tears are great. I think people say, “I don’t want to cry.” It’s like, it’s your wedding day, cry all you want.


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This Episode is Proudly Sponsored by Easy Weddings

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