A Community of Vows
Wedding vows can be a participatory event for guests as well as the nuptial couple.
The following are two "ceremonial flourishes" designed to elicit community participation in a couple's most sacred vows.
Excerpted with permission from "Weddings From the Heart: Contemporary and Traditional Ceremonies for an Unforgettable Wedding."
Let Your Guests Reaffirm Their Vows
Before or after you recite your own vows, invite the married people at your wedding to stand with their partners and reaffirm their own. You can have the officiant prepare some appropriate words, and the couples can repeat them; or the officiant can suggest that they quietly speak their own personal words of affirmation to one another.
The officiant can lead them as follows: "I love you and thank you again for the gift of your love. Thank you for being here to love me all these years, in every way you have, in all the ways you will. I pledge again to love you for the rest of our days." Many couples attending weddings have said that hearing the vows of the bride and groom has inspired them to remember their own vows. Including this option in your ceremony is a lovely way of allowing your guests to use your wedding as the occasion to renew their own relationships.
Include a Vow of Support
After reciting your vows you might have the officiant address your guests and invite them to make a vow of support to you. After all, it is within the context of this community that your marriage will be enacted.
For example, the officiant might say, "Now that you have heard _____ and ______ recite their vows, do you, their family and friends, promise, from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, to give them your guidance, and to support them in being steadfast in the promises that they have made?" "We do."