5 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows
You want your wedding to be perfectly suited to who you are as a couple – in the past, present and future. As you plan your dream day, you can make decisions tailored to your style and preferences, from the customizable wedding band sets you will exchange at the ceremony to the band that will keep everyone dancing at the reception.
One more way to personalize your wedding day is to choose just the right words to say “I do.” There are many beautiful ways to do this, but writing your own wedding vows can be an especially meaningful exercise. Many couples want to write their own vows but struggle with figuring out what to say. Here are a few tips to get you started and on the right track to expressing how you feel in a way that is heartfelt but not cheesy.
How to Write Wedding Vows
1. Talk to your officiant.
You want the person leading the ceremony to have all the details in advance, so tell your officiant that you would like to write your own vows. Some religious ceremonies may require you to include traditional vows, so it’s important to ask if there are any limitations on what you can add, adapt or omit. Send your officiant your vows with plenty of time before the wedding, and let him or her know if you two will need prompting or not.
2. Start early.
Listen up, all you procrastinators! You will be able to find a thousand excuses to put this challenge off until the last minute, but that will only cause you more stress in the long run. Start thinking about, planning and writing your own wedding vows at least several weeks (if not months) before your wedding. You’ll want to let your ideas form and evolve over time without feeling rushed.
3. Gather examples.
You may feel overwhelmed staring at a blank page as you try to think of ideas, so start by doing research on what other couples have done with their vows. Read examples on blogs and wedding planning websites. Watch YouTube videos. Ask your friends and family. Jot down notes and ideas that click with you. What words would you feel natural saying in front of friends and family as you exchange customizable wedding band sets?
4. Write an outline.
Sit down with your spouse-to-be and decide on a general format for your wedding vows. What do you want the tone or theme to be – sweet, funny, straightforward, romantic, lyrical? Do you want to write them together and have the officiant prompt you to make the same promises? Do you want to write them separately and be surprised by your partner’s words on your wedding day? Decide on an approach, and write out a loose template (some ideas for inspiration_ that focuses on your love, your promises to each other and your future together. Set a deadline for you both to have your drafts completed (and hold each other to it).
5. Practice and edit.
If you are writing your own vows individually, ask someone you trust to listen to you practice and give you feedback. If you are writing vows together, you can also do this together with a friend or officiant. Notice where you stumble or which words sound unnatural. Take out cliches or phrases that don’t sound the way you speak; above all, these vows should sound like you. Edit and rewrite, keeping the words concise and simple. Practice out loud, again and again, working on speaking slowly, loudly and clearly. Print final copies for you and for the officiant, and remember to relax and speak from the heart.
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