Tips for writing your own vows


You've probably gone to considerable lengths to add personal touches to your wedding reception to make your day memorable and unique to you, so why stick with tradition when it comes to your wedding ceremony? Exchanging vows that the two of you have written together will make your wedding even more special and meaningful for you both.

Your ceremony vows don't have to be complicated and they don't have to be the same. Think about whether you want the celebrant to read them out and you repeat afterwards, or whether you want to read to each other from a card. Some couples memorise their vows, but if you're already feeling nervous, this can be one stress factor too much. If you do go down this route, make sure you have a plan B, such as a slip of paper in the groom's pocket with your vows written on it.

Tips for writing your own vows

Start early

Don't put off writing your vows until it's nearly the day of your wedding. You'll have so much going on, and coupled with excitement and nerves, you'll find it impossible to give them the thought they deserve. Start to write them around a month before your wedding and try to have your first draft completed about three weeks in advance and the final version about a week ahead.

Begin with tradition

To get inspired start by taking a look at traditional vows of your religion, and even others, and see what seems to strike a chord with you. You can include some of these words into your vows or use them as a starting point on which to base your personalised vows.

Setting the tone

Before you put pen to paper it's a good idea to consider what tone you want to set. Do you imagine humorous but touching, or romantic and poetic? It's your call. If you're looking to inject a little humour into your vows then don't overdo it so that the seriousness of the commitment is completely overlooked.

Make sure you're both on the same page

Give thought as to whether you're writing your vows together or separately and whether you will run them past each other. If you're writing them together, will you stick with tradition and exchange some of the same words, or will you both say different things. If you want your vows to be a complete surprise to each other on the day, then get a close family member to have a look at both sets of vows to see they are in the same tone, and about the same length.

Set aside a vow date

Spend some time, perhaps over dinner, chatting about your relationship and what marriage means to you. Why have you decided to get married, what are expecting from your marriage, what makes you both tick? Talking through these things may stir up your creative juices and give you some stories or phrases to incorporate into your vows.

Spend time alone

Spend some quiet time alone simply reflecting on just how you feel about your partner, What you love best about them, and what do you miss most when you're apart. You may well be surprised at how the answer to these questions will inspire you to compose your vows.

Feel free to plagiarise

Trawl the internet, poetry books and romantic films, and steal some of their words which you can connect with and which capture your feelings. Remember not to include anything which will embarrass your audience after all they have been invited to be part of your ceremony. Keep well away from personal nicknames you may have for each other and any inside jokes.

Keep it short

Keep your vows relatively short, about a minute is ideal and you'll be surprised at how long that seems. Get right to the point of why marrying your partner is so important to you, and keep other things that you want to say, for the reception toasts.

Practise

Don't forget your words are going to be heard by a live audience so practise saying them out loud. Make sure there's no tongue twisters in there and that the words flow well. Avoid long sentences which may make you feel out of breath.

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