Writing personalised wedding vows for a marriage ceremony can be a beautiful experience. It’s a chance to reflect on your relationship and decide what’s going to be important to the both of you as you navigate obstacles in the future.
Here are tips for writing personalised wedding vows from the heart.
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Once you’ve made the decision to write personalised vows, talk to each other about how you’re going to write them. You may decide to keep the vows total surprises, but you risk having extremely different tones, lengths, or content. Writing them together may be a wonderful option to bring you two together during the hectic wedding planning process and reevaluate why you’re doing this in the first place.
If your partner is struggling,Jen Glantz, professional bridesmaid for hire, recommended in Brides to give guidance, ask a friend for help, and show examples before deciding to ditch personal vows altogether.
Consult your officiant.
If you’re writing your own vows in a religious ceremony, there might be some phrases you need to include. The Knot has suggestions and passages for vows in religious ceremonies so that you can feel inspired by the religious spin and not hindered by it.
Use a template.
Boiling down how you feel about your soul-mate to just a few minutes of speech can be overwhelming. Find inspiration on OffBeat Bride, The Knot, Wedding Wire, or from weddings you’ve already attended. If you want vows that reference your love of pop culture, deeply personal vows, or a pirate-themed vow exchange, there’s something out there for you.
Let pictures be your inspiration.
If you want to include funny anecdotes, but none are coming to mind, look at old photos, letters, and mementos to stir up thoughts.
Remember they’re not private.
Don’t include inside jokes or sexual innuendos to put off your guests. Keep it PG and inclusive. If you want a more intimate set of vows, consider exchanging vows or love letters in private before or after the ceremony.
You can self-deprecate, but don’t be down on yourself.
Wedding-goers knew this marriage was doomed when the bride began with “I know I can be a pretty terrible person and I don’t know why you’ve stuck around.” Try gently poking fun at something specific you do, like leaving all the drawers open, rather than being down on yourself.
Remember to say “I love you.”
Brides consulted wedding officiant Monique Honaman says she’s surprised at how many couples will forget to include this phrase in their vows. “Isn’t that why people are getting married?” she asks. “Yes, we assume that’s a given that we must love someone if we are willing to stand by them through thick and thin, but it’s always nice to hear and emphasise.”
Turn to music.
Wedding expert Taysha Murtaugh for Martha Stewart Weddings created a list of romantic songs that can serve as inspiration for wedding vows. Johnny Cash, Etta James, and The Beatles have some “heart-tugging” lines that could spark your writing muse. Look at you or your spouse’s favourite musician for inspiration. If you’re musically inclined get out your guitar and set your vows to music to be performed at the ceremony.
Practice makes perfect-ish.
Nothing will be perfect on your wedding day. Things are bound to go wrong, but practicing your vows so you can feel confident delivering them will take a weight off your shoulders.
If you leave it up to each other, try and set deadlines that are well before the ceremony, If you leave it to the night before, you might have less fun at your dress rehearsal if you’re stressed. Procrastinating all the way up to the limo ride en route to the ceremony will just cause unnecessary nerves.
Allyson Dickman at BRIDES, suggests a deadline of three weeks before the wedding. That said, not every wedding is planned months in advance, so if impromptu vows are happening, just have fun and be sincere.
Don’t try to be funny.
If you’re a naturally funny person, go with a funny speech, but never try to force it. A fed-up Drew Magary wrote for Deadspin, “You know why you’re there, so say it plainly and directly. I LOVE YOU … AND I SWEAR I WON’T HATE YOU WHEN WE’RE BOTH YELLING AT THE KIDS A DECADE FROM NOW.”
Bring a clean copy to the ceremony.
Even if you have them memorized, your nerves will thank you for the back-up. If you’re writing up until the last second, at least give yourself (or a wedding party helper with neat handwriting), the opportunity to create a legible copy, so you aren’t squinting and deciphering your cross-outs at the altar. The paper will be in photographs, so try to find some nice stationery or notebook paper.
Remember this is for your partner, not your guests.
You don’t have to try and prove that you have the greatest relationship of all time. Your fiancé already knows that or they wouldn’t be doing this with you. No need to agonize over your vows or worry too harshly about what others will think. They’re a fun way to look back at the milestones in your relationship and look to the future about how you’re going to handle life as a married pair.
As long as you get married by the end of the ceremony, your wedding vows will be a success.
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