Silence is golden, my mother often used to say to me. I see now that it was code for the fact I talked too much as a child!

Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, wrote in his book The Prophet:

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.”

My brother Rene and his partner Chantal invited me to be the celebrant for their wedding in Australia in August. I was really taken with their last-minute idea of ‘silent vows’. Now, knowing my brother, it was probably due to the fact that neither of them had time to write vows! He assures me that what he really wanted to do was give them to her telepathically. If I put my cynic to one side, I am swept away by the beauty and romance of keeping this intimate moment of a wedding simply for each other’s ears and hearts.

There have been many times I’ve asked clients about their handwritten vows, and I’m eagerly given a bit of paper with their handwriting scrawled along each line. In some cases, these words have arisen straight from their heart. I’ve had moments in ceremonies where I’ve struggled to keep my tears inside because the words were so incredibly beautiful, raw and honest. On just as many occasions, I’ve read them and thought “oh hello Google”, as I’d heard the very same thing at previous weddings.


And then there are some couples who don’t write vows (or nab ‘em off Google) because the idea of standing in front of a gathering of friends and family to share their deepest feelings is way beyond their comfort levels. And that’s okay too.


Silent vows offer a wonderful way for couples to share their intimacy before their friends and family, but with the words kept safely for each other.

Photographs of Rene and Chantal exchanging their sacred silent vows by


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