If you are getting married, writing your own wedding vows can be a great way to truly express what you are feeling on this special day. The first tip to writing your own vows may be obvious for most brides and grooms to be; say what’s in your heart. But trying to put these feelings down on paper and expressing your thoughts in a clear and concise manner can be challenging.
This article will give you some simple guidelines for writing your own vows. We promise the end product will make the entire journey worthwhile.
First: Start with a Template
This may sound a bit cold, but a template will provide you with a great guideline for your vows and ensure nothing gets left out. Here are some basic ‘rules’ to follow.
1. Say I Love You
Remember in the Star Wars movie when Princess Leia tells Han Solo she loves him and he says, “I Know”? Don’t be a Han Solo. Your vows may seem cold unless you include the L-word so be sure not to leave that out. It’s easy to take it for granted.
2. Don’t Forget About In Sickness and In Health
The ‘in sickness and in health’ sentiment is in almost every marriage vow. It may seem a bit cliché, but there is a good reason why these words (or the at least the meaning behind them) have been included in vows since the beginning of time. If you have never been married, you may not fully understand what it means to assure yourself and the person you are marrying that you will be there with them through thick and thin. But when you make these vows on your wedding day, they carry a significant amount of gravity. Be sure not to leave them out.
3. Get Personal
Personal anecdotes are a great way to make your vows fun and interesting. While you should be careful to keep your vows concise, including a short story about a special moment you shared with your significant other can make for a memorable experience for yourself, your spouse and your guests. Keep it light, fun and sweet.
4. Make Promises
Beyond the in sickness and health promise, make any other promise you think is relevant and you think is important. This can include anything from agreeing to love your spouse forever to agreeing to clean the bathroom every Sunday! Make sure you can keep it too!
5. Acknowledge Others
Your wedding party is a gathering of everyone you love. Show them how special they are by including them in your vows. Acknowledge that you will need their support to make your marriage work and let them know how grateful you are to them for supporting your relationship up to now and in the future.
Second: How to actually start Writing Your Wedding Vows
Now that you have a good idea of what to write, here are some approaches that will make the writing and reciting process as simple as possible.
When you are planning a wedding (no matter how big or small), it’s important not to leave too much for the last minute, and this includes the writing of your vows. It is recommended that you start writing your vows at least three weeks before the wedding. This gives you plenty of time to write something you are happy with and it allows you to complete them before you get too caught up in the countdown details. Don’t wait until the night before – just don’t!
Make an Outline
We already talked about making a template, but a template can apply to any couple. You should also use an outline to make sure you express your true and personal feelings in your vows. An outline should include anything important you want to tell your spouse during your wedding and make sure nothing is left out. You want them to be true to you and your relationship.
Use these questions as inspiration:
When did you know that you were in love/know that this person was the one you wanted to marry?
What is the single greatest thing about the person you are going to marry?
What does marriage mean to you? Why do you want to be a married person?
What is your most favorite memory of your partner?
Write and Rewrite
Your wedding vow will be one of the most important things you ever write. Treat it as such by taking the time to edit, write and rewrite your words. That way you will end up with something you are happy with…that’s also grammatically correct! You also may want to call in a close friend or relative to get their opinion of your vows and make sure they are perfect.
Keep it Simple
Vows are meaningful, but let’s face it, no one wants to sit there all day while you go on and on about how much you love your spouse, not even your mother! Therefore, you want to focus on what’s important and eliminate what isn’t. Most vows are just about a minute (give or take) long. Read yours aloud. If it’s taking longer than a minute to read them, you will want to shorten it a little.
Practice Reading it Out Loud
Reading your vows aloud won’t only help you determine whether you are coming in on time. It will also let you hear your words to make sure they don’t sound awkward. It will give you a chance to get comfortable reading them and it will give you a chance to include any pauses or intonations you think will make the speech more effective. When the time comes, you will be filled with emotions so knowing your vows by heart will help as your hand might be a little shaky.
When editing vows with a friend, make sure to use them as a listening board for reading aloud as well. They may be able to provide helpful tips that will make your words come across with more meaning.
Rewrite Before Your Wedding
You may have your vows written on your laptop or on an old napkin. Whatever format you chose to write them on, it’s a good idea to rewrite them on something more “pretty” before your ceremony. Even if you want to read from a printed paper where the text is big and bold, it’s nice to have something pretty for your photographer to photograph.
Don’t Read Your Vows to Your Spouse Before the Wedding
Last but not least: Don’t Read Your Vows to Your Spouse Before Your Wedding Day! This may seem obvious now but, trust us; You may be tempted to read your vows to your spouse before your wedding day just to see if your partner likes them. You may be excited to see their reaction or hear their opinion. However, when your spouse hears your vows at your wedding, it is impactful and emotional moment and part of that really does get lost if they are not hearing your words for the first time. (Pro tip: Read them again at the end of the night to each other, when you are all alone so that you can really soak the words in when you are both more relaxed.)
Writing your own vows is really special and it can truly make your wedding unique and memorable. It’s not an easy endeavor but hopefully, this article has given you tips that will help you make it through.