When it comes to your wedding day, it’s safe to say that the wedding vows are the crux of the entire day. Some people choose to keep it simple and recite the traditional vows and others want to mix things up and write their own.
For a lot of us, it’s hard to express our feelings in words and so writing vows can be a real challenge. You could trawl the internet for highly sentimental one-liners that every second couple in the world has recited or you could pick up a pen and paper and write something that comes only from you.
Need some help? Here are some tips for writing perfect wedding vows.
For many couples drawn to the idea of writing their own vows, they tend to look to the internet for inspiration. Here you’ll find plenty of poems and quotes from literature or films that are of course beautiful and very romantic, but often they don’t really speak to us as individuals. Not all of us are super romantic so if you’re a more of a comedian then you need to write your vows with humour, otherwise they’ll end up falling flat.
Being honest with who you and what you’ll give to your partner is highly important and this comes from being your authentic self. You wouldn’t stand there quoting poetry when you’d never even heard of John Keats until after you’d started your vows, would you? That would come across as inauthentic. Your spouse-to-be knows you’re a Netflix and chocolate kind of person, not the poetry kind so they’ll see straight through it. Be true to yourself and your vows will eventually come flowing out of you.
There’s nothing worse than going to a wedding where the couple promise to respect and cherish their partner only to have them cheat on them some months later. Obviously, these couples shouldn’t be getting married at all, but the point here is that you need to be realistic in your wedding vows. Promising outrageous things like giving someone the earth or buying them flowers every day for the rest of their lives is not realistic, is it? Are you really going to get your spouse flowers every day? And unless you’re some crazy dictator ready to take over the world, then that first promise isn’t going to fly either.
If you’ve got a big heart, then promise to always hold them when they’re sad as it’s likely something you already do now. Promise to always make them an amazing birthday cake if you’re a keen baker. Again, you probably already do this and it’ll just reaffirm the love you’ve shared so far. So stick to realistic, simple and beautiful sentiments in your vows that you’ll definitely be able to keep.
A super easy way to start writing your vows is to stick to a simple formula. That is to write things as promises. It’s easy to start with a few basic promises like, ‘I promise to always make you laugh’ or ‘I promise to always be your best friend’ and then you can personalise them more to suit your personalities.
Either make promises things you will happily do, or make promises that are about your partner like, ‘I promise to always listen to your crazy stories’. So sit down and have a think about what you want to promise to your partner. It’s easier than you think and then you can always expand from there. The promises are a great starting off point and then afterwards, if you want more sentence structured vows, you can use the promises as guidance and expand on them.
Collaborate or don’t
Some couples feel more comfortable collaborating with their partners on their vows. This will mean that the style and length of your vows are consistent with each other and there’ll be no surprises. This is a nice thing for some couples, but it’s not for everyone. Other couples really want that element of surprise and want to say something deeply personal.
If you’re choosing not to collaborate but you’re concerned with how different your styles may be, just don’t. Many couples have completely different vows. Some choose to go with long-winded hyper-romantic vows and then their partner will say something short and sweet. I guarantee you, no one will be thinking about how long each set of vows were. They’ll be too busy getting caught up in the emotion of the whole thing and so will you. Writing and delivering your own vows is emotional business, so whatever you write, if it’s from the heart then it’ll be a total hit.
Some couples get so wrapped up in every word being perfect. They become obsessed with everything holding meaning and then they end up losing their way. I once went to a wedding where the bride spent her entire vow-reading talking about how she’ll love her partner in different size scales. I’m talking ‘to the moon and back’ and ‘as much as there are stars in the sky’ and her original meaning, the first thing she said about how great her love was for her partner got lost. She was trying so hard to make every sentence as meaningful as the last and it just didn’t work.
So what does this mean? It means that you really have to chill out. You’ve likely told your partner plenty of times how much you care about them and love them. So do that again. Just don’t do it over and over again (see above example). Don’t try to make every line sound like poetry. You need it to sound like you and that’s it. If you wouldn’t normally say anything like, ‘I’ll love you to the moon and back’ then leave it out and say, ‘I’ll love you for the rest of my life’. Tone it down, chill out and relax. And above all be authentic.