Wedding ceremonies just aren’t complete without the much-awaited vows. These words will have an impact on your relationship for years. Some couples frame and hang their written vows in their bedroom as a reminder to keep that feeling alive. You can write vows using poems, lines in your favorite movies, or make them totally original.
Writing what you’ll say on that day in front of everybody you know and love will not be easy, but once you’re up there standing face to face, each and every spoken word from the heart will all be worth it. Here are some tips to help you keep your heart in your vows while making the writing more fun and less stressful.
To have or to have not…vows, that is
You may love the chance to write vows, but your partner might not be fond of the idea. So, first things first: Decide as a couple if you want to share personalized vows during the ceremony. If you don’t, please know that there is nothing wrong at all with saying traditional vows given by the church or officiating organization. You just both need to be equally committed with the choice of vows because it will show eventually. Decide also if you will surprise each other on your wedding day or give each other a preview beforehand.
Clear it with the officiant
Some religious organizations might not allow personalized vows so talk to your officiant beforehand. Check out the rules regarding writing and saying vows. If there’s a need for your vows to be approved by the officiant, be sure to have them ready weeks before the big day.
Make them inspiring
Find sample vows or those written by friends and famous people. Look to scripture, poems, songs and other places for inspiration. If you want a personal touch, go back to the days when you first met. Reminisce about your love and your first memories as a couple. Your relationship should always be the center of your vows, so make sure to include it in some way.
Start writing early
Cramming at the 11th hour might work for some couples, but not for most. Remember: If you have to have your vows approved by the officiant you need time to rethink and make any changes. Writing early also lets you put them away and come back later, so you don’t miss anything. Do make a point to dedicate time and effort to writing your wedding vows. They deserve the same level of importance as how you value your partner.
Agree together on format and tone
You may have witnessed couples sharing their vows in fun and lightness. Others cry as they look into each other’s eyes. Decide what you want then set your structure and tone before anything else. Be conscious of the people attending your wedding, and perhaps avoid certain words that might offend the sensibilities of your favorite older friend or relative. But most of all, agree with your partner if you will write separate or the same vows. This is one area of planning your wedding where communication and decision-making as a couple are beyond mandatory!
Personalize, personalize, personalize
Since it’s your wedding, you want to add a personal touch. If you love Shakespeare, include some of his words, but use them to focus on experiences and memories that really capture your relationship. Use words and phrases that express your feelings and touch your partner’s heart. For instance, you might want to (ahem) mention your partner’s name!
cause you’ve allowed enough time to write, now you can compress everything onto one index card. K.I.S.S. in this context equals “Keep It Short and Sweet.” Your vows shouldn’t drag out the ceremony—nor should they be a drag in any way at all—so speak powerfully but also concisely. Stick to important details that touch the heart and soul. If you have that much more to say, why not write a note including everything and tuck it into your wedding gift to your partner? Your letter would be a lovely—and perhaps tension-breaking—opener for the ceremony to come.
Of course, your vows will include promises of love, but to spice it up, include both all-encompassing and a few very specific promises, especially details that will make your partner either laugh or cry or both. Just make sure that what you promise is reasonable for your relationship. You do not want your wedding vows to become a point of contention down the road.
Practice out loud but not necessarily on each other
Practice always makes perfect. Writing vows may seem easy, but some couples struggle during the ceremony hence the need to practice. Read your vows aloud to friends or family. Ask if they can hear you clearly or if you mumble. Practice phrasing, too, so you won’t run out of breath during the ceremony itself. Also, practice how you are going to say your vows. If you plan to sing a line or two, really practice so that everything goes well on the big day.
Make a clean copy
Your photographer will capture all details on your wedding day, so make sure you put your vows on a decent piece of paper. It’ll be seen in photos, so make it legible. Your copy should be free from cross outs—unless you’re purposely going for humor. Some couples write their vows in tinted ink or on colored paper to match the wedding theme.
A closing thought
Wedding vows emphasize and encompass many things. Fidelity, love, the importance of family—these are universal but what makes those concepts unique is how you phrase them. A good wedding vow has a great impact on the couple and eventually, their life together.