“If I had a flower for every time thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
– Alfred Tennyson
Your wedding is going to be completely unique to both of you. All of your emotions go into choosing every detail carefully, to make the day a truly special one. At the heart of the wedding of course if the strong commitment you will be making to your partner, for life. The celebrations last all day, but that commitment takes only a few moments, a brief exchange of deep, heartfelt vows that connect you both for eternity. But therein lies the tricky bit. With such emphasis on saying the right thing, and with so much going on elsewhere in the way of planning and everyday life, how on earth do you write a set of great wedding vows? Is it possible to describe what your partner means to you? How do you even start writing the words?
Please, pop your heart back inside your chest and take a long, deep, breath. With this easy starter guide to writing your own wedding vows, you’re going to make something magical, we promise.
Is It Legal?
You might think it is your right to say what you want, but there are lots of reasons you might not be able to. Legally you may have to say certain things, and religiously you may be restricted even more and have to say something completely pre-formulated by the church. Some religious officiants might want to approve the vows before the big day. The key is to check with the person or organisation marrying you beforehand.
Let Your Brain Run Free When It Wants To
You are going to hit an immediate wall of complete despair and desperation when you start writing your vows. You will get ‘essay brain’. Remember, when you were at school or college and you had an essay to write. You got your fresh notepad ready, or your computer loaded, a brew on the side, a peaceful space and…. Now what. This is normal. The key to avoiding this is to let your brain start when it wants to. Perhaps you’re checking your Instagram over toast in the morning and you see a picture of you both your fiancee posts that brings back a certain memory – write it down. Maybe you’re at work and you hear a song on the radio that reminds you of the time you knew you were in love with him or her – write it down. These are all your starting points. Consciously have the vows on your mind, but don’t consciously make an effort to write them – let the information filter from your subconscious when it wants to. You can edit, refine and reorder things later down the line.
Consider Your Own Meaning Of Marriage
Your vows are vows not declarations of emotion, which is why the meaning of marriage matters – to be specific your meaning of marriage matters. Is it all about caring for each other under God’s guidance? Does it mean making each other laugh even in the darkest times? Does it mean always agreeing to disagree that bourbon biscuits are better than chocolate digestives? The meaning of marriage will be the deepest and the most lighthearted of emotions and meanings combined and your vows should reflect that.
Be Open To Inspiration
As well as your own mind and memories there is a lot of inspiration out there for you to use. This doesn’t mean copying song lyrics or copying vows from a film (unless that works for you as a couple of course!). But you might love the words from a song you both love, or the words from the most romantic moment in a film you both love, or a film he or she loves. Traditional vows, or other people’s vows might also provide inspiration, even if it is just in tone, how to start the vows, or how long they should be.
Your Personal Style
When you have written ideas down, take a look and get a grasp of your style. Are you emotional? Funny? Quippy? Clever? Sweet? Getting an understanding of the tone you have and the tone you want will help you edit and form your vows to be succinct and to have excellent flow. By looking your ideas over you might also see that you need to make them more lighthearted, or less lighthearted, or add romance, or more personal facts.
Do think carefully about your audience. You might be OK with making a joke about your sex life in front of his or her parents, but your partner might not feel the same. Clearly your vows should be personal and special, but do avoid causing offence and causing people to feel uncomfortable. Get an open-minded and emotionally intelligent close friend or family member to vet the vows for you.
You’re Not Looking For An Oscar
Don’t make your vows more show-off than show-of-emotion. They should be true, emotional and sincere. Your partner will not appreciate a performance from you worthy of a round of applause from your audience. Your vows are for your partner and your partner alone – save any performances for the speeches at the reception.
So there you have it, a simple starter guide to writing your own wedding vows. Within all of us is the ability to create an amazing, heartfelt set of words. As long as you are honest, thoughtful and considerate, your fiancee is going to truly appreciate the effort you have made.