Before actually getting down to the business of writing your own wedding vows, you and your groom have to come to certain decisions.
First, discuss how long you want the vows to be.
You don’t want to express yourself in two sentences while your fiancé recites a three-page declaration of his love for you!
When discussing this, consider not only how long you will actually be speaking, but how long your guests will be listening. (The last thing you want is for your guests to be bored – those aren’t the kind of tears we’re going for here!)
Next, think about whether you want to write original vows or read from published materials.
For instance, reading poetry to each other can be a lovely way to express the day’s sentiments. (And this will save you from having to draft your own pledges.)
However, if you do each wish to write your own vows, discuss in advance how personal you want to get. One of you may have certain feelings about privacy that the other doesn’t quite share, so set the boundaries before jotting down one word.
In addition, determine the style and tone of your vows.
Will you go for light and amusing or profound and solemn?
Also, decide if you will surprise each other with your vows on the day of, or if you prefer to write and rehearse together in advance.
Once you’ve answered these and are ready to proceed:
1. Set a specific word count for your vows and stick to it. This will prevent you from rambling and keep you focused.
2. As a starting point, jot down a few key phrases or words about your fiancé – think about what makes him/her the person you have chosen to share your life with.
3. If you have writer’s block, look for wedding vows on the internet for inspiration.
4. Allot plenty of time for writing your vows, so you don’t have to do it all in one day. This way you can start with a rough draft and then fine tune it often as your wedding day approaches.
Finally, practice, practice, practice!
Once your wedding vows have been written, you should breathe a sigh of relief – and congratulate yourselves.
This is not an easy task to take on, even for seasoned writers and orators. It’s especially challenging given everything else that is required when planning a wedding.
The vows have to be recited, and this will require a little bit more effort from each of you. But before you begin practicing your pledges, decide if you will be memorizing the vows or whether you find reading them acceptable.
There is no right or wrong here – many couples are so nervous on their wedding day that the thought of having to remember their vows creates an extraordinary amount of extra pressure.
If this is you, then think about it no further – type up your vows so they are clear and legible on a clean piece of paper, then submit them to your maid-of-honor and best man, who can hand them to you at the appropriate time during the ceremony.
Whether you will recite from memory or read, you still need to rehearse, though:
Practice saying your vows in front of a mirror frequently.
If you are memorizing your vows, take every opportunity available for reciting them out loud – in the car while stuck in traffic, in the bath or shower, while walking the dog. There’s no such thing as too much prepping here.
Record yourself rehearsing your vows so you can work on proper timing and enunciation.
Don’t be shy about rehearsing in front of your bridal party. They might offer invaluable input.
Take a cheat sheet with you on your wedding day, just in case. Even the most practiced bride or groom can get the jitters and forget every single word they’ve memorized!