Have you considered writing your own wedding vows? If so, you will be doing a lot of reflecting about what marriage means to you. Is marriage about companionship, being able to deeply trust your partner, shopping together, laughing, raising a family?
Marriage means different things to everyone. Even though it might seem like there is a norm that we are to follow, there are no two people alike in the world like you and your partner. So your marriage will be unique. Writing your own wedding vows is the way to reflect your uniqueness. Writing your own wedding vows sets the standard you strive to live up to for your entire life. When you write your own wedding vows, you are setting goals for your own heart to reach for.
When to Begin
Don’t wait until the last week to write your vows. Honestly, you have no way of knowing how many details will still need to be tended to during that last week. Relatives will be coming in, and friends will be sending early well-wishes. The excitement may reach a whole new pitch of nervousness and excitement. So in writing your own wedding vows, get it done sooner than later. I’ve had people who wanted to write their own vows wait until the last minute and then decide to use vows someone else wrote.
To begin the process of writing your own vows, set aside a long space of time to contemplate what is meaningful to you in your relationship. What do you know is important to your fiancé? What promise can you make to ensure the things you both value are encouraged in your relationship? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For example, do you value the fun you and your fiancé have? Then make a promise not to take yourselves too seriously. Or ask yourself how can you bring joy to your relationship on a daily basis?
Other ideas to contemplate is how has your life changed because of your relationship? How do you envision this continuing as time progresses? What is it that you love most about your partner? What promises can you make to encourage the best in him or her?
Setting the Tone
Next step in writing your own wedding vows, decide on the tone you want to set. In the packet of information I provide, there are humorous, contemporary, spiritual and religious readings. Inserting any one of them sets the tone for the ceremony. And no one tone is better than another. Some couples want humor in their vows so they may promise to let their spouse hold the remote control.
If you want to promise love “in sickness and in health” in a new humorous way, you could say, “I’ll get you medicine when your tummy aches”. If romance is important to you, paraphrase something from a great poet. For example, Kahlil Gibran wrote about Marriage in his masterpiece, The Prophet. From his words, you could state, “I promise to let there be spaces in our togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between us.”
Your vows should acknowledge the seriousness of the commitment you’re about to make even if your vows contain humorous elements.
There are many examples of vows on the internet. Plus there is the package I provide with different vows in them. Mix and match vows, adapt, paraphrase. Read poetry, pick out phrases from your favorite songs or movies. Inspiration abounds, and all you may need is to prime the creative pump by doing a little research.
Same Words or Different?
Decide if you want to say the same words to each other or will each be unique. If they are unique, do you want to share them with each other before your wedding day to make sure you are on the same page with each other? Or do you want your vows to be a surprise?
It’s important that your vows are personal, but be careful you don’t promise something that is too personal You’ll only get embarrassed. Nor do you want your vows to be too vague. You do want your partner and guests to understand what you are promising. Put a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words.
Covering All the Bases is Not Necessary
When you have a list of ideas you want to convey, keep consolidating ideas so you come to the core elements you know you can promise to uphold forever. Then when you have consolidated, do it again. You don’t’ want to make your vows too long so aim for about one minute. You’d be surprised how fast it seems to be to you, but how long it can seem to others, including your mate! Alisa Tongg, a wedding officiant says, “Your vows are the most important element of your ceremony, but that doesn’t mean they should go on for hours. Get at the heart of what marrying this person means to you with your vows; pick the most important points and make them well. Save some thoughts for the reception toasts — and for the wedding night.”
Even in the best of cases, people can get nervous. It’s very rare that a person can memorize their vows. But nothing looks tackier than having life-long promises written on a tattered piece of paper. If you are going to read your vows to your mate, print them out on a nice piece of paper. Give them to your Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor, or the minister. They can hand them to you at the appropriate time.
Another alternative is having your wedding minister speak the wedding vows you’ve written phrase by phrase. You can then repeat after the officiant.
Before your speak them out loud at your wedding ceremony, speak them privately and out loud to yourself. You will be able to tell in listening to yourself if the words you have chosen convey what is most important to you. Or if they sound silly or trite. This is yet another good reason to start earlier than later!
Feel free to run your ideas past me, as well. I’m happy to lend my experience as you are writing your own wedding vows.