Monday, 26 October 2009

Step by Step Guide to a Humanist Wedding no. 8 - The Vows - Official Guidance

One of the many attractions of a humanist wedding ceremony is that you are free to choose what to say to one another about why you love one another, what marriage means to you and what you promise. The wording of the legal declaration, however is another matter.

As it says on the Registrar General of Scotland's website, "There is no legally prescribed form of words to be used in relation to 'marriage vows' in Scotland… but there must be "a declaration by the parties, in the presence of each other, the celebrant and two witnesses, that they either accept each other as husband and wife or accept each other in marriage or make both declarations."

So in plain English that means you can choose, take or accept each other, but you have to say the words, rather than have me ask you a question. 

Here are some, but by no means all, of the ways you might do that.

“I (Forename) choose, take or accept you (Forename) as my wife/husband”

“I (Full name) sincerely declare that I choose, take or accept you (Full name) as my lawfully wedded wife/husband”

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (Name) do solemnly and sincerely declare that I 
choose, take or accept you (Name) as my lawfully wedded wife/husband”

BTW, the declarations don't have to be made in English, as long as they are clearly understood by the couple, the Celebrant and the witnesses.  Yesterday, I married Mati and Kenny, and as you can see, Mati who's Spanish, spoke her vows in her native tongue.

In fact, the whole ceremony can be conducted in a different language (including Gaelic or old Scots) as long as the couple, the Celebrant and the witnesses understand what is being said, using the services of an official translator if necessary.

So there you go: if you have any further questions, you know where to find me!

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