Rev. Fuller: Not weird, or even all that unusual really. I have quite a few couples decide to say a few words to one another first and then follow that with either responsive or repetitive vows of their choosing. Here is an example from a recent wedding.
(Bride and Groom), the shared potential of your union is great and now falls upon your shoulders the task of choosing values and making real the commitment you make this day.
(Bride), please share with us your pledges to (Groom).
(Groom), please share with us your pledges to (Bride).
(Groom/Bride), please look into (Bride/Groom's) eyes as I ask; (Groom/Bride), in the presence of your families and friends, do you take (Bride/Groom) to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband; promising to love and cherish her/him for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, offering your friendship and trust in her/him, promising to be faithful and understanding as long as you both shall live?
I have seen the rhythm and flow of a wedding ceremony hampered by pairing self-written vows with lengthy repetitive vows (repeat after me). For that reason, I usually recommend a mixed format vow include the responsive "I do" format or a short and sweet repetitive vow.
Camille in Tallahassee, FL: We're not comfortable writing our own vows, but we'd rather read something to each other than repeat after you. If we want to recite vows do we have to come up with something or can we "steal" vows that are already out there.
Rev. Fuller: Steal away. Your vows should be meaningful to you, but that does not mean you have to reinvent the wheel. I once had a bride lift sentences out of several of my sample vows to "cut and paste" the vows she read to her husband during their ceremony. I still consider that uniquely her own.
The priest who officiated my own wedding had my husband and I memorize the vows in the Catholic Rite of Marriage and recite them to one another. Don't worry, I won't make you memorize whatever you cobble together.
Jackson in Raleigh, NC: My fiancee is from Germany and many of her relatives are making the trip over for the wedding. Can we do our vows in both English and German?
Rev. Fuller: Ja! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) You can exchange vows in as many languages as you would like. I can guide a couple through vows in English, French and Spanish. But, I have had several couples include other languages in their ceremony though they had to take the lead. Click here for more information on bilingual ceremonies. I think it is a great way to show your respect for her family.
For more about vows, see this document in the Creating the Ceremony section of my website.
Photo Attribute: Space Coast Photographer