You start with the legal stuff –
I so and so do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I, so and so, may not be joined in lawful matrimony to blahblahblah.
Then the declaration of intent, so ours was –
Do you so and so, promise to love blahblahblah, selflessly and unconditionally from this day forward?
Do you promise to honour and respect blahblahblah, to help her fulfill her dreams, achieve her goals, to sustain her through life’s highs and lows, and to always communicate with honesty and openness?
Do you promise to remember that friendship is the core of this union, and that compassion and humility are the qualities that hold it together?
But you know, our officiant was not at all who or what we wanted, so we ultimately didn’t get to say that part! We had no fricken I do’s in our wedding. I agree with you, they are nice to have.
Then you do we did our personal vows. I found this structure on the bee and I liked and used it.
You are __________________________________
Thank you for _____________________________
Today I promise ___________________________
I will ____________________________________
I vow to _________________________________
And I promise to __________________________
These were the key points I was given by our officiant for brainstorming what to include in the vows –
Keywords of my feelings towards my partner
-what he means to me regarding our future, through happy and sad moments, fights, life and death
-it’s about each of us and our relationship
-jot down phrases, words about your feelings and thoughts about the other, the step you are taking by marrying, what you are promising to the other, your hopes for the future together, etc. Whatever comes to your mind . . . just write it down.
-keep some lightness and humour, it’s a joyful day
Then we did another set of vows.
I, so and so, do take you, blahblahblah, to be my lawful wedded wife;
my true friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and in peace, loving you for who you are, trusting what I don’t yet know, wherever life may lead us.
I promise to love you, comfort you, honour you, and stand by you, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to you.
Then we did the ring exchange.
So there’s a bunch of stuff there… hope that helps.