Writing your own wedding vows can be extremely hard. You sit down. You stare at the screen. And no matter how much you love the person, nothing is coming to you. It can feel like there is a huge pressure to say something worthy enough for the occasion. How do you find the right balance of funny, deep, moving and romantic?
A recent zoom chat with a groom who is currently using the lockdown time to attempt to write his vows, and without much success, lead me to do a bit of research in the hope of helping him out. It is clear he could talk all day about the things he loves about his fiancé but writing something he is going say while standing in front of all his close friends and family is a different story and is no doubt causing this writers block.
Here is what I took from hours of trawling the internet and reading numerous posts and articles which will hopefully help anyone attempting to write their vows.
Think about your story so far and future plans
What is the story of your relationship? How did you fall in love? What are the good qualities you find in each other and the reasons you fell in love? What were your reasons for choosing to marry? What have been the key moments so far in the relationship? What are your dreams and goals together? What has changed in your life since meeting your partner? What makes the two of you perfect for each other? You may wish to include a story of how you first met. Maybe think about future plans like getting a pet or travelling together which could be incorporated.
Vows aren’t just cute anecdotes, they are a promise, a serious commitment you are making in front of a large group of friends and family. You could include promises that are supportive. For example: “I promise to stick by your side forever and support you in everything you do”. Then maybe a few more personalised promises that are less heavy and more specific to you. For example: “I promise to protect you from spiders as long as we both shall live.” You can find more inspirations from some fun examples here. https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/fun/funny-wedding-vows/
Try not to get overwhelmed by attempting to write your vows in one sitting. Tackle the vows in little chunks at a time. Start with a few bullet points, and then let your thoughts flow freely. The first goal of writing wedding vows is to simply get something down on paper. You can then later, add to and edit whenever you get some more inspiration.
I would suggest reading lots of examples of others vows to see what strikes a chord with you. Traditional vows can offer you a good starting framework, even if you don’t plan to use them. You can keep the loose structure and adapt them to suit your style and tone. You may wish to incorporate a few lines of a song, make it rime or reference a funny old story. Here is another useful link where you can find some traditional and non-traditional wedding vows. https://www.bridalguide.com/planning/wedding-ceremony-traditions/examples-of-wedding-vows?page=1
How long should the wedding vows be?
A good idea is to discuss how long you are comfortable speaking for. Although there are likely endless reasons you love your fiancé and many stories about your life together that you want to share, keep your vows reasonably short. Otherwise, they will not have the same impact. It is helpful to agree on a specific word count for wedding vows. Perhaps 175 to 250 words. Since people speak at different speeds, especially when they are nervous or excited, word count is an easy way to keep vows short and sweet rather than setting a time limit.
Will your vows be the same or different?
Discuss with your partner whether you will both declare the same vows on your wedding day, or will you each have something different to say? Having the same vows means that you can have a lot of fun writing together and you will declare the same promises on your wedding day. Writing your vows individually will add a personal and special touch, and you can include things you love, or hate (in a joking way) about your partner. This will make them more memorable and fun for your guests to hear.
Do you share?
If you are having different vows, will you share them beforehand or keep them as a surprise for the big day? Knowing what to expect could help ease some anxiety on the wedding day. Also, this can be a nice bonding experience. On the other hand, keeping your vows a secret from each other would add a special level of anticipation and excitement. You could then ask your celebrant to check in on both of your vows to ensure consistency without giving away the surprise!
What’s the tone?
How do you want people to feel about the vows you have just spoken? Do you want them to show how serious you are? Do you want to keep it light- hearted and fun, sentimental or romantic? Once you and your fiancé decide on the tone of your wedding vows, the rest will become easier.
Everything is good. Go with your style and express yourself sincerely to your fiancé. Don’t be afraid of expressing your love to one another in front of all your loved ones. Your wedding vows are special and specific to you and your relationship. As long as your wedding vows are honest and heartfelt, you can’t really go wrong and your partner should love them regardless!
Practice makes perfect
Finally, after the scribbling, the editing, the re-editing and you are happy with the results, make sure you practice and are comfortable at expressing your vows out loud. When practicing, time yourself and make any changes you feel necessary. Repeat this process until you are 100% happy and then practice some more. Think about how your vows flow and whether they make sense. Try to speak clearly, and not rush.
I hope this will help with the writing of your special vows. If not, as your celebrant I could work with you to create the unique vows to suit your personalities and which you will be comfortable speaking on the day.