While considering all of the aspects of a wedding day, attention quickly focuses on decisions regarding location, menus and color schemes. The wedding ceremony itself provides many more opportunities for a bride and groom to make personal and intentional decisions.
When it comes to saying the vows, there are two primary options—and other variables—for couples to consider.
Called by name
At the moment of exchanging “The Consent,” or the marriage vows, both the bride and groom receive their calling from God and say “yes” in committing their lives to another in an eternal act of love. The priest initiates the consent by calling first the groom, then the bride, by name.
When you meet with your priest or deacon in preparation for your wedding ceremony, clarify how you would like him to address you on the Altar. Should he only mention your first name? Would you prefer if he referenced your first and middle name? Is it significant for your Confirmation name to be included?
After the presider calls attention to the bride and groom, it is the moment of consent.
Say “I do”
The first option is for the marriage minister to offer the vows in the form of questions, so the couple will individually respond “I do.” This is the format and language used for other sacraments in the Church, beginning with Baptism.
Recite the Vows
The second option is for each individual to proclaim recite your name and the vows to the other. You may recite the vows from memory, read them from a printed card, or echo the promptings from the priest or deacon.
Determining the right option for your wedding day is a personal decision—and there is no right or wrong. Have you and your beloved imagined this moment of exchange in your imagination? When you visualize your wedding day, what do you hear yourself saying?
If you don’t initially have a strong opinion, your presider may be able to offer insight from his past experience at weddings. Prayerfully invite God into this decision and follow the direction he leads your heart. Perhaps it would also be inspiring to speak with your parents or grandparents to learn about the decisions they made for their wedding day.
Decisions about the visible environment and logistics of the wedding day are vital and create a lasting impact for everyone present. In a different way, the words you speak in the Consent may be the most important and impactful words you say in your life. This is the moment you offer yourself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to your spouse. Prepare with intention and joy as you journey toward your vocation.