Writing Your Own Vows? Read These Tips First.
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
9 TIPS TO READ BEFORE WRITING YOUR OWN VOWS
For those choosing to write their own vows, it can be a pressuring time. We see plenty of couples fretting over their vows. Don’t panic - writing your own vows can be truly wonderful; it allows you the chance to tell your partner, in your own words, how much they mean to you. It also adds a very personal touch to your ceremony; your vows are likely to be individual and tailored to your specific relationship.
However, there’s also an element of pressure. It’s both very common and very natural to feel worried about writing your own vows. People often feel anxious opening up on such a personal level; but remember, the whole point of a wedding day is to celebrate and display your commitment to each other. People expect romance! Please note: different jurisdictions have different requirements when it comes to writing your own vows. Some vows, by law, need to include certain specifics. Be sure to accurately research the law in your jurisdiction when it comes to making your wedding legally binding.
Follow our tips below to write the perfect wedding vows.
Image by Jeremy Wong from Pexels.
1) MAKE A MIND MAP
Making a mind map is a useful way to begin. Scribble down some memories of your partner on a piece of paper. Think of these memories closely. Why are they special to you? What did you feel in that moment? What did you love about your partner in that moment? It may be an experience you had with your partner rather than a ‘moment’, but it still strengthened your bond. In your sub-conscious mind, something in that moment made you a bit closer to your partner; you just need to remember what it was. Did you like how they can have fun? Were you having fun in their company? Or did you see a caring side to them?
Sometimes, we don’t realise what we love about our partner until we really sit down and think. It’s a great starting point!
2) AGREE ON A TONE & LENGTH WITH YOUR PARTNER
A lot of couples like to keep their vows secret from each other until the actual day. This can cause problems if you don’t pre-agree the tone of voice and the length of the vows.
Regarding the tone, sit down with your partner and decide how you want your vows to come across. Romantic and soulful? Humorous and light-hearted? Think about the impression you want to portray as a couple. What represents your relationship? If you both agree on different tones, that’s fine. However, if you’re planning on making your vows humorous, check in with your partner first. If their vows are more romantic, they may feel upset or embarrassed on the day.
Many people fret over the length of their vows – what if their partner has written more? Pre-agree an approximate time period – we advise between 1-2 minutes – that way neither party will be left feeling that their vows were inadequate.
3) DO LOTS OF RESEARCH
Often, people struggle to voice what they’re trying to say to their partner. They know how they feel, but they just can’t quite find the words to say it. Spend some time reading or listening to vows other people have written. Though some of it may not be relevant to you, it might help you find phrases or words that you can relate to, and you can use these to describe your relationship with your own partner. If you're having a religious ceremony, make sure you look for ones relevant to your religion, and ensure it doesn't conflict with the religious aspect of your ceremony.
If you’re really stuck, try asking your Planner or Registrar for advice, or consider hiring a professional.
Image by Saliha Photography at Al & Bee.
4) LISTEN TO MUSIC & WATCH SOME MOVIES
This ties back to our previous point. Listen to romantic songs, and songs that you associate with your partner. Take time to listen to the lyrics, and you will find metaphors and descriptions that will fit in with your relationship. The same applies for movies and books; look for phrases and catchphrases that you feel relate to your partner, and adapt them to fit your vows. In terms of research, anything romantic, goes!
Ok, so we advise on watching movies and reading books for inspiration – however, try to stay away from the cheesy ones or ones you know your partner doesn't like! A further point here is don’t go too cliché; the whole point of writing your own vows is to make them personal and tailored. Some stuff will crossover - there's only so many ways to say "I love you" - but don't take well-known passages from say, The Notebook, and expect guests not to pick up on it.
5) DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE AN ACTUAL VOW
It may seem an obvious one - but it's a regular oversight. Sometimes people will list what they love about their partner, but not what they can actually promise them in return for their commitment. Vows aren’t just about a display of love; they're called vows for a reason. For example, you can promise to always commit to your partner, or always support them through their endeavours. If you have a more jokey tone to your vows, this can include things like “I promise not to be angry when you steal the bedsheets.” It’s up to you – make it your own – just don’t forget!
6) WRITE IT ALL OUT – AGAIN, AGAIN & AGAIN
So, this may seem tedious. However, it’s for good reason – writing it out again and again will force you to read over it, thus correcting any issues. Handwritten is better, it will force you to think about what you’re writing. It will give you a feel for the flow of it, and no doubt you’ll find yourself tweaking bits here and there. Not only that, it will help you somewhat memorise the words. This will stop you from looking down at your paper during the vows; rather, you can look at your partner instead.
Image by Natasha Fernandez from Pexels.
7) PRACTICE OUT LOUD – AGAIN, AGAIN & AGAIN
Again, tedious, right? You may feel a bit stupid talking to yourself in the mirror, but this will help you perfect the flow of your speech, and help with memorisation. You’ll find you feel much more prepared on the day. Be careful though, if you’re keeping your vows a secret from your partner, make sure they’re not around while you practice!
8) MAKE A ‘NICE’ COPY
When you’re happy with your vows, make a final copy with no annotations to hold at the altar. Even if you think you know your vows off by heart, you may forget when nerves strike; it’s always better to have a copy at hand.
A nice idea is to hire a calligrapher or get your vows printed onto premium paper; this can be framed after the wedding as a nice keepsake and given to your partner. After all, the appropriate gift for a first wedding anniversary IS paper!
9) RELAX, DON'T BE SHY, AND DON'T HOLD BACK
Remember; this is the most important day of your life. Make this moment count. Don't be afraid about showing your romantic side in front of your guests; this is your special, intimate moment. Pretend they won't be there and embrace the chance to show your partner how special they are. Nerves are natural, but look at your partner while you speak and make this moment yours; the nerves will soon wash away.
Image by Freestocks from Pexels.
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