Your wedding vows are the most meaningful part of your wedding day. The legals are the official bit but your vows really do trump everything else.
Your wedding vows are the meaningful part of your wedding day
So often in wedding planning, couples get so absorbed in the reception and all the detail, that the wedding ceremony becomes somewhat of an afterthought.
Your wedding vows are the reason you’re spending all that time, money and energy planning your wedding.
And let’s not forget your guests have travelled from far and wide to share in that moment when you commit to one another. When you make wedding your vows.
What are you going to remember about your wedding day? Your wedding vows or the colour of the socks the groomsmen were wearing?
There is so much to think about and decisions to be made that things can all become a little out of proportion.
I’m hoping that when you look back you will remember the vows you make to one another and be thankful that you spent time writing them rather than the dilemma over the sock colour!
You really will cherish the memories of standing in front of your family and friends committing to a lifetime with one another and sharing those heartfelt wedding vows with one another. The time you spend writing them is time very worth spent.
Personal wedding vows
I’m a massive advocate of personal wedding vows. Yes they are a bit intimidating, yes they can be tough to write and yes it could be embarrassing declaring your feelings in front of your friends and family.
But that’s why vows are so special. They are from the heart. They are your own words. By writing them yourselves you are creating a lifetime memory and an intimate experience that you have chosen to share with your loved ones.
It’s a chance to give your guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick and to share meaningful words with the person you love.
I’ve collated some tips that will help you write your wedding vows.
- Sit down together before you start and talk about it
This may sound obvious but it is essential. Similar to the rest of your ceremony you should consider the tone and length of your wedding vows.
You both must be on the same page. You don’t want one of you to write a novel and the other a paragraph.
This is also a good moment to decide whether you are going to keep your vows secret from one another. For me this adds a whole new dimension to a wedding ceremony and even more excitement and anticipation for you too to find out what the other has written.
As a wedding celebrant to watch the reaction on the couple’s faces when they hear their partner’s vows for the first time is one of the very best parts of my job.
- Compile a list
Whilst you should work out the tone and format of your wedding vows together I believe that you should write your them separately and privately.
I suggest you make a list of all the things you love about your partner. Use this list as inspiration.
If working with a wedding celebrant you may have already completed questionnaire about your relationship. This too is a useful aid to get your creative juices flowing.
- Ask yourselves some questions and then brainstorm together
The first stage is to scribble down all the things you love about your partner and when did you realise you were in love. Then start thinking about what you are looking forward to most in your marriage. Finally what promises you want to make.
You can then start probing a little deeper. What do you respect most about them? How has life changed since being together? What qualities do you most admire? What do you miss most when you are apart? What makes your relationship special?
Brainstorming together when writing your wedding vows is also a great idea and a lot of fun. Grab yourselves a glass of wine, take a trip down memory lane and ask each other those same questions. It will soon before obvious what is important and stands out.
- Research some traditional wedding vows
When getting started this can be really helpful. The wording may be a little stuffy but you can personalise them to suit and if that blank page syndrome has set in they just might kick start you.
Another helpful source for inspiration are books, song lyrics and poems.
- Remember these are wedding vows not love letters
A vow is a solemn promise and a commitment being made in front of your friends and family.
I recommend combining generalised familiar promises such as “I promise to love and care for you and to always appreciate you etc etc” with the more personal and specific to your relationship. This is where the humour can be introduced.
The ability to laugh at yourself as well as your relationship will serve you well in your vow writing as well as your marriage.
Don’t be tempted to try and fit in everything you are feeling into your wedding vows. It’s simply not possible and becomes a tad indulgent. It’s also a surefire way of losing your guest’s attention and interest.
But don’t forget to say the immortal words ‘I love you’. It may seem obvious and a given but you can never ever say it too often.
If you really want to express your feelings and find you have masses you want to say why not write a love letter to one another to share either before your ceremony or even on your first wedding anniversary.
- Don’t air your dirty laundry
For this I mean leave out the inside jokes or too personal a story.
But for goodness sake include a bit of weird stuff. It will be much more interesting to your friends and family to hear some odd, lovable or even unlovable anecdotes in your wedding vows.
- Don’t drive yourself crazy re-writing over and over again.
You’ve written your list, made a draft, probably torn it up and then re-drafted. Then walk away from your wedding vows. Have a break.
Come back to it with fresh eyes. But don’t meddle with it too much. You will have written what you wrote from the heart and that’s what matters. If you keep changing it you will drive yourself mad and overthink it.
- Practice reading your wedding vows out aloud.
This is important. You will be so grateful you will have done so on the day when the wedding jitters set in.
Like a speech, vows require moments of pause and intonation. Focus on all that when you practice and be sure not to rush them. Your guests won’t want you to either.
If you are unsure you could ask a trusted friend to listen to you read them and give you constructive criticism. This way you will be certain you have got your meaning across.
To conclude yes writing your wedding vows can be quite an undertaking and overwhelming. But it’s well worth it. It’s a wonderful moment and the heart of the day. I promise you will never regret it and your wedding celebrant will be there to support you throughout.
As always my blogs would look pretty dull without the help of some talented photographers. All these images are of ceremonies that I have presented over the years and are of some of the many couples who chose to write their own vows. – My thanks to Story and Colour Luna Weddings Lucy James Photography