The great and lovely Anne Hathaway once said, “Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility.” And what a wonderful possibility it is! To have your whole life stretched before you as far as the eye can see, with your partner in crime ready and set to take that journey with you. As you stand on stage facing each other, with the officiant presiding, you two vow to make a promise to each other. That promise, in most weddings nowadays, is customized by the individual brides and grooms. If you find yourself stuck in a rut while writing your sacred vows for your significant other, check out these tips, and you’ll be on your way to wedded bliss!
Make it messy! You heard me right: get absolutely all your thoughts and feelings down on the page. Don’t worry about order or cohesion, or even language. Speak from the heart and allow your stream of conscience to run wild, you can always tidy it up later. When you’re not trying to make it clean, you prevent your words from feeling forced or contrived, and get that pure genuine quality your Significant Other will love to hear!
Walk down Memory Lane. Give your vows that personal touch by adding in some memories you two love and share. These details will make your vows truly unique. If you’re smiling while recalling these fond memories, chances are your fiancé will be smiling too. Here are some questions to ask yourself as a start:
- – What made you want to marry your SO?
- – What did you think the first time you saw your SO?
- – When did you first know you were in love?
- – When he or she is not around, what is the thing you miss the most?
This of course is not an exhaustive list, just some seeds to get you started. Take care to leave out any memories that are too mysterious or embarrassing, so that you can remain relatable to your audience. Your vows are a brand new memory, don’t be afraid to really create the experience with details and sensory cues, bringing your wonderful past to the hopeful present.
Promises, Promises, Promises! You may be thinking to yourself that making a promise to your significant other is a given–a vow in itself is one large promise–but have you thought about the types of promises you will make on that day? I suggest including both large and small promises in your vows. Large promises are broad and apply to multiple sectors of your marriage: “I Promise to support you when times get hard.” Small, yet very important, promises are more specific, and are often related to your memories together: “I promise to start the coffee pot first thing every morning for you.”
Discuss and Agree on Format and Tone with your bride or groom to-be. This tip is a technicality, but should not be overlooked. You will likely want to make sure you and your significant other are on the page when you present your vows in front of friends and family. A light and comical set of vows will look quite different from a serious tear-jerker, but a simple discussion before you begin the writing process will alleviate all negative possibilities.
Be O-K with a slow writing process. When my cousin got married, she made me her Maid of Honor, and I was tasked with writing the ceremony toast at her reception. While I was experiencing a considerable case of nerves and pressure–I wanted the speech to be absolutely perfect after all–I just couldn’t seem to write a single thing on all the days prior to the ceremony. In fact, my thoughts and well wishes for the happy couple didn’t start pouring out of me until hours before the ceremony! And when they did, I had nothing but my phone to type on. If I could have chosen the exact moment when inspiration was to hit, I can assure you that two hours before the ceremony would not have been it! Nonetheless, that speech remains to this day one of the most honest and sincere pieces of work I’ve ever written; it all came from the heart, and it all came under pressure. So, my advice to you is not to be afraid of writer’s block! Your words will come to you, don’t try to force them and wind up writing something that is not personal or representative of what you truly mean to say.
Put a spin on it! If you’re an unconventional bride or groom, you may opt to make your vow recital into a performance piece. Some with musical talents choose to sing or play a song they wrote. Some have even asked their Best Man or Maid of Honor to hold up cue cards during their reading of their vows; extremely unconventional, yet hysterical!
In the days before your wedding ceremony arrives, remember that there are no hard and fast rules to how you should write your wedding vows. Your vows are your personal love letter to your fiancé, and your first introduction into your life as a married couple. Remember above all to keep your vows personal, and make them entirely your own!