Your wedding is one of the few opportunities you have to publically declare your feelings for your partner. It’s no surprise then that for many couple identikit vows just aren’t going to cut it and they choose to write their own. Taking the time to sit down and pour your feelings into beautiful and meaningful words is a gorgeous idea but in practice, it can be intimidating. It may be that writing isn’t your strength or you struggle to express just how you feel on paper. If you want to write your own vows but aren’t sure where to start, don’t despair, we’ve put together a fail-safe guide to creating personalised vows.
If you think that writing your own vows is stressful try writing your vows at 10pm on the night before your wedding. It’s astounding how many brides and grooms find themselves in the position and vow writing is an easy job to put off. Preferably, you need to start at least two weeks before your wedding and you shouldn’t expect to come out with a polished copy on the first go. Start with a list of all the things you love about your partner and words that reflect how they make you feel. Pop that list somewhere handy and glance at it over the next few days. Just writing these early ideas onto paper is a great foundation. By the time you come back to it your brain will have already started to figure out how to translate these ideas into meaningful words.
Keep it simple
With most things in life, less is definitely more and this is one of these occasions. Simple heartfelt words will be so much more meaningful that lines and lines of flowery language with no real focal point. Use simple sentence starters like ‘I love you because’ and ‘I promise to’ and ensure your vows are punchy and to the point.
Borrow from literature
There is a whole canon of beautifully written songs, love poetry and prose out there and using a quote or an excerpt can be a lovely way to voice those feelings that you are struggling to place into your vows. If you find a piece that makes your heart thump and your eyes well up then you have probably hit your mark. Build your words around the quote and watch your partner melt.
Bring in a friend
There are no extra points for writing your vows all alone and the second pair of eyes can be invaluable. If you have a friend who is good with words then ask them to proofread, edit, and suggest improvements. Not only will this improve the quality of your final vows it will also boost your confidence and belief that what you have created has real merit.
No one person is perfect not even your soon to be spouse so don’t write vows that paint a picture of an unrecognizable and idealised partner. Think about them, what is it that makes them special, what makes you laugh or feel most loved. Essentially keep it very personal and real, you could even weave in elements of humour if you can do so with a very light touch.
Check with your officiant
This piece of advice is probably the most important of all. It is utterly essential that you check what you are and aren’t allowed to say. So, for some religious ceremonies, any deviation from the prescribed vows is a huge no-no. While for civil services anything alluding to religion or spirituality will be a similarly huge no-no. There are also vows that make up the legal portion of the ceremony and cannot be ignored. If you are looking for complete free reign when it comes to your vows then it may be sensible to opt for a celebrant led service. Here, free from religious and civil responsibilities you can create an entirely personalised service. Remember though, if you do opt to go with a celebrant you will be required to undergo a short civil service at a registry office to ensure that your marriage is legally recognised.
Writing your own vows is equally wonderful and terrifying but you will always look back fondly on those words which were completely unique to your day.
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