Personal Wedding Vows
published May 27th, 2014
Every bride and groom likes to add a personal touch to their wedding day. Let’s face it, if every wedding featured the same music, the same flowers and the same color themes then everything would be a bit… well, samey. It’d be a case of “been to one wedding, been to them all” and it would undoubtedly be akin to watching the same film over and over again. Same story. Same director. Same costumes. Same script - just a different cast spouting the dialogue.
Your wedding should be a bit like a house - the basic foundations are the same as everyone else's house, but the contents should express your own individual tastes.
There are many ways that you can put your own stamp on your wedding day. You can select your own wedding theme, choose the songs to be played, and arrange the flowers as you see fit. That all sounds pretty straightforward, so how do you feel about a challenge? Well, if you’re feeling really creative you can literally change the script… by writing your own wedding vows.
This may sound like a rather daunting prospect, and penning your own wedding vows is no easy task - but it could prove to be both an emotional and memorable experience. Writing your vows down on paper (or even your computer screen) really can be an eye-opening endeavor. But where do you begin? Well, here we give some pointers to help make those vows perfect (for you).
First, you need to make sure that your ceremony officiant will actually allow personalised wedding vows. Many houses of worship require you to recite a specific set of vows, and even those that do accommodate personal vows will want to preview and approve your words before you’re allowed to deliver them at the ceremony. Some may demand that you “tweak” the vows slightly, while others will tear your work to pieces and make you rewrite it from scratch.
Whatever you do, don’t leave writing your vows until the last minute. If you’re scribbling down the words on the eve of your wedding then you’re really asking for trouble. Give yourselves a few months and keep coming back to it every few days to make revisions. Vow writing is not something that can be rushed. You’ll want to deliver the vows in a calm and relaxed manner so it’s important that you have time to rehearse the words well in advance of the big day. Try to have a first draft ready at least a month before the wedding, which will allow ample time to receive feedback from your ceremony officiant before you dot the i’s and cross the t’s - so to speak.
Get inspired by reading traditional vows, or by perusing the Internet at other couples personal vows. Keep a notebook handy to jot down words and phrases from poetry books, religious and spiritual texts, and even movies. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start developing your dialogue.
It’s important to try and set a tone and stick to that tone as you’re writing. Romantic? Touching? Poetic? Funny? Try not to make it too comedic as you’re not delivering a stand-up routine, and if you’re not experienced at delivering jokes many could fall flat. You also don’t want the vows to be too whimsical or cheesy. Don’t forget that you’ll need to say these words out loud at the ceremony. To paraphrase Harrison Ford after reading the original Star Wars script, he allegedly turned to the writer, George Lucas, and said “You can write this rubbish, but you sure can’t say it!”.
Bounce ideas off your partner, and decide if you’re going to write your vows together or separately. You may want to run the vows past each other before the day. Once you’ve had a brainstorming session together you may want to spend time alone in a moment of deep reflection.
Aim to deliver your vows in a minute or so. That may not sound like long, but it shouldn’t be a speech that has people drifting off to sleep after 2 hours. Jut pick the most important points about what this person means to you, and leave the rest for the toast later in the evening.
Practice. Just don’t forget to keep a paper copy of your vows in your pocket. You may recall your vows with ease when practicing in front of the mirror, but reading them aloud on your wedding day is a different kettle of fish altogether.