With the evolution of wedding traditions in recent years comes an increase in couples choosing to write their own wedding vows. This personal touch definitely adds sentiment to the day but with it comes great responsibility and pressure to get it just right. So where do you start? If you are considering how to write your own vows, check out my top tips to help you put pen to paper and banish writer’s block for good.
Discuss it with your other half
While you may have always dreamed of writing your own wedding vows, your partner may not share the same view, so first and foremost get it out in the open early and decide together if you will take this leap. If you do agree to go DIY, you’ve got plenty of time to get creative!
Get the all clear
Some religions require you to say traditional vows so before you begin, it’s best to get the all clear from your officiant. There’s no point investing time and energy writing you own vows if you can’t say them at the ceremony. If you do come up against this issue, consider the possibility of saying them at the reception, especially if this is something you are both passionate about.
Decide on structure
While some couples choose to write their vows together, others prefer to do so separately, keeping the element of surprise for the big day, so discuss which option you’d like to take. If you do decide to write them individually, it’s still a good idea to talk things through. Ideally, your vows should have a shared structure, keeping the word limit approximately the same, with a similar tone, so without revealing exactly what you plan to say, get a feel for what vibe you will each adopt.
Once all the formalities are out of the way, it’s time to dig deep and get inspired. Spend a few hours doing your research – check out websites to see what other people have written, read poetry from the greats and look to books for incentive. It’s actually okay to rewrite a few phrases along the way as long as you mean it!
Just ask yourself…
If you’re struggling to get started, just asking yourself a few simple questions can help kick things off. When and where did you meet? What first attracted you to each other? What do you love most about the other person? What future do you envision together? This allows you to reflect on your relationship and draw upon those memorable moments, letting the words flow.
Put pen to paper early
While the temptation may be to leave things to the night before (or in some cases the morning of), don’t do it! Begin writing at least one month before the wedding, to allow a relaxed frame of mind. This extra time will provoke thoughts and ideas to come naturally to you and result in a more sentimental piece, rather than just jotting anything down in a blind panic, just hours before the wedding. When it comes to getting started, write everything you can think of. This may be more than you need, but you have plenty of time to cut it down.
Remember to edit
When you’ve got it all on paper, it’s time to edit your masterpiece, carefully reading, restructuring and removing any vague content. While these vows are being written for your partner, avoid being cryptic and limit inside jokes. If you’ve borrowed from poetry, books or even romantic movies, don’t let someone else’s words overshadow your own and avoid using too many cliches or risk sounding disingenuous. Cut it down to no more than two minutes and run it by someone else whose opinion you value.
Practice makes perfect
In the run up to the wedding, read your vows aloud several times to get used to the tone and flow of the words. By familarising yourself with what you’ve written, this will help banish nerves on the day. Don’t forget to print yourself a clean copy for the day itself.