6 Essential Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows
— By Brieonie Jenkins
29 March 2016
There’s something that feels so romantic about writing your own vows. It’s such a sweet way to incorporate your personalities into the ceremony and a beautiful way to engage your guests. But sometimes, it’s hard to put your feelings into words and nerves can get the better of us. If you’d love to write your own vows but don’t know where to start, get the ball rolling with these 6 steps.It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
Inspiration is everywhere! Read some love poems, watch your favourite romcoms (taking particular note of the romantic speech towards the end), ask friends, family and of course jump on Google. Don’t forget to read the traditional vows –oldies but goodies, the special words of the traditional vows have been spoken by countless couples to seal their love for each other. They’re traditional for a reason!
Take notes as you go, don’t just write the words you like record what you like about them. This will help you get in touch with your personal style.
Lay Some Ground Rules
Anxiety comes from the unknown and wanting to do things the “right” way. A lot of people are nervous that their partner’s vows will be "better" than theirs, more heartfelt, funnier and more emotional.
Deciding on the structure and tone with your partner ahead of time saves you two from going in opposite directions. We’re talking a heartfelt sonnet vs comedic vows. Vows with a consistent structure and tone, flow nicely and sound lovely together at the ceremony. Knowing that your partner is thinking along the same lines will shake some nerves out of the writing process.
Reflect on Your Relationship
It’s not often we take time to pinpoint what exactly it is that makes us so happy in our relationships. Or to think about specific things we love about our partner. This is the time to do it!
It’s common to sit down, pen in hand, ready to write your vows and not be able to think of a single thing to say. If this is you – don’t panic! Sometimes we need less pressure to think freely. Grab a good friend and a glass of wine (or coffee) and chat about your relationship. Talk about when you first met your partner, what you respect most about them, why you’re excited about getting married and the things you want to accomplish together.
Ask you friend to jot down some notes once the conversation gets going. Then use these notes when you start the writing process.
Make a Promise
Your vows are essentially your promises for your new married lives together. They are the most important part of the ceremony. Let your personal values guide your promises. Think big “I promise to love you forever” and small “I promise to say I love you every day” in scope. The smaller ones are just as important as the grand vows because they’re more personal to you!
Don’t be too cryptic – although this is one of the most personal moments in your wedding day it’s important not to exclude your guests. It can be fun to include the odd personal joke or nickname but don’t take it too far. You’ve invited your guests here to listen to your vows; you want them to understand what they’re hearing!
When you practice your vows it’s not about making them perfect or memorising them, it’s about being comfortable. Practice out loud, in front of a mirror, in the car on the way to work, in front of your bridesmaids, anywhere you can!
As you say the words imagine the standing in front of your partner, feel the meaning and emotion behind your words (it’s ok to get a little teary!) to prepare yourself for the big moment. It’s unlikely to go exactly as practiced, which is part of the magic, but the preparation will make you brave enough to say those first words – from there it’s smooth sailing.
Remember the Details
Once you’ve settled on the final words take some time to write them out neatly. Some people like write their vows on a special card to frame later as a keepsake. Even if you don’t plan to keep them remember that this is a key moment for pictures, you don’t want to pull out giant refill pad, or scraggly bit of paper and see that in the photos forever! It pays to have something neat and tidy to read from.
Tip: When writing out you vows make the font a slightly larger than usual (easier to see through tears!) A neatly printed version can be handed to your celebrant, if emotion gets the better of you, which will make it easy for them to guide you through – line by line.