For some of my couples the thought of writing their own wedding vows is akin to going to the dentist for a tooth extraction.
Probably less so for the ladies, and more for the guys who find it a bit of a challenge to write down and then publicly say how they feel about their partner.
As I think this is one of the most beautiful parts of the ceremony, I thought it would be a great idea to provide some tips on writing your personal vows.
- Examples, Examples, Examples Why reinvent the wheel when it has already been done! Your celebrant should provide you with lots of examples of previous couples vows, and you can also use Google to find some amazing wedding vows. BUT, only use these as a guide to get you started. I did have one groom who cut and pasted a whole set of vows and even left in the other persons name! Awkward!
- Tone and length Discuss the tone and length of the vows with your partner so that one person doesn’t get embarrassed by saying 2 sentences and the other produces a 20 minute oration. I encourage my couples to forward their vows (separately) to me and I check for length and if along similar lines. Having said that, your vows should reflect who you are and how you express yourself. After all, you are telling the other person what it is you love about them and how they impact on your life.
- Shhhhhh, secret! Yes, the good relationship books tell us not to have any secrets from your partner – well in this instance you can. This is one of the times when you don’t tell your partner what you are going to say or how you are going to say it. How unromantic would it be if you are both sitting on the couch reading your heartfelt vows to each other whilst watching MKR! Not! Keep them a secret until the wedding day for the greatest impact. Oh, and bring some tissues!
- What should I say? It is a great idea to spend some time with a pen and paper (or keyboard) and reflect on your partner. How did you feel when you first met, what was it that made you fall in love in the first place? A smile, how they spoke, their car (kidding), and so on. Think about why you decided to get married, what challenges have you overcome together, what do you want to accomplish as a team, how has your life together improved, what do you miss about them when you are apart, how have they helped you grow, and so on.
- A vow is a promise That may seem obvious but your personal vows should include some promises. This is what it is all about. You can promise to always support them, to love them forever, to learn how to cook, to pretend to like watching the football on tv and so on. Be creative and have some fun with the promises.
- Give it some structure Collect your notes and thoughts and start to write it all down. Establish a structure and write your first draft – yes, you will need to re hash it a few times to get it right. You could put it together as a short story, or as a 4 part outline: affirm your love, praise your partner, offer promises and finish with a final vow.
- Remember the audience Your personal vows will not only be heard by your partner, your nearest and dearest will also be there and hanging on every word you say. So avoid any embarrassing or cryptic comments. If you are doing a speech at the reception, try not to repeat yourself and ensure the content for the vows and speeches suit the occasion. For example, you wouldn’t want to talk about the bridesmaids during your personal vows to your partner.
- Trusted friend If you feel comfortable doing so, have one of your trusted friends listen to your vows. This achieves two things, firstly you actually get practice saying them out loud and secondly, they can provide some feedback if required. Actually saying your vows will let you know how it flows and if there are any areas in which you may stumble over.
- Hard copy or two After all that work in preparing your vows, imagine how you would feel if you left them at home on the day! Disaster! Print them off and avoid trying to memorise them as you will have enough going on without putting yourself under extra stress trying to remember it all. I encourage couples to forward a copy to me so I can print them off for them and it is also a great idea to have someone else have a copy handy just in case. Have another copy on your phone, but please only use that in an emergency as it looks a bit odd in the photos.
- Delivery Take your time when saying your vows. If you get emotional half way through, that isn’t a problem at all. Just breath through it, hold your partners hand and continue when you are ready. There isn’t a time limit. This is THE moment where you actually say publicly how much you love your partner and how happy you are that you are marrying them today so let it flow. There may be tears and there may be laughter but as you stand there holding their hand and looking at them it will all be worth it because you are marrying your best friend and telling everyone why you want to do so.
I hope the above helps you in writing you vows for your Sunshine Coast, Hinterland or Noosa wedding. If you have any questions, please contact me as I am more than happy to assist you.