Congratulations! You’re getting married. And you want to write your own vows. That’s fantastic. Personal vows are powerful and meaningful expressions of your feelings and your relationship.
Here are a few tips to help you craft the perfect words that will start the next phase of your life.
Step 1: Before you write: Read, read, read
Google “write your own wedding vows” and immerse yourself in the results. You’ll find hundreds of sometimes amazing, sometimes cringe-worthy vows. Take notes on what you like and don’t like.
Step 2: Agree on Tone and Content
You and your intended should agree on the tone and the content of the vows. Your vows can be lighthearted, personal, poetic, or all three. Decide whether you’re making the same vows, or whether each of you will write your own. Agree on what’s in bounds (her love of the San Francisco Giants) or out of bounds (his sugar packet collection). And keep in mind that your guests are not in on your everyday inside jokes and rituals, so make sure not to get too cryptic.
Step 3: Make Promises
Wedding vows are promises. Promises to love, honor and cherish. But that’s been used already. For your personal vows, think of two or three things you will promise. For example, “I promise to never go to bed angry.” Or “I promise to support you in whatever career path you decide to follow.” Make sure it’s in keeping with the tone you’ve agreed on.
Step 4: Keep it Short and Sweet
One to two minutes is plenty. You’ll have the rest of your lives to express your love for each other.
Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice
Read your vows, aloud. Read them over, and over again. Read them to the cat. Read them on your morning walk. If they’re too long, find a way to make them shorter.
The more you read them, the less stressed you’ll be on your wedding day.
Step 6: Make it So
Make a large-type, clean copy for yourself to bring to the ceremony. You can go with plain paper or index cards, or match it with your wedding colors so you can have your vows as a keepsake.
And just in case you get overwhelmed, have a backup plan. Ask someone from your court, or a relative, to be ready to step in if you get too emotional.
Your vows, like your ceremony, should reflect who you are as individuals and as a couple. With a little effort, your vows will be a highlight of your ceremony.