How To... Write your own marriage vows
With a mind as blank as the piece of paper in front of you is how everyone starts writing their own vows. How long they stay blank is the problem!
Writers block will always strike at the most awkward moments, and when you have to write something you're going to say in front of an audience of friends and family you can be sure it's gonna show up!
First thing’s first – make sure you both want to write your vows. There’s no fun in creating something that your heart isn’t into. Then check your officiant is OK with you writing your own vows because not every faith is cool with it. You might be able to add personal touches, but sometimes you have to stick with traditional vows.
Once that’s all sorted you can sit down and write them (easy for us to say). Nobody said writing your own vows would be easy, but on the day as people wipe away the tears you’ll be glad you did it.
If you’re not having much success and the fear is starting to creep in, these tips will help you get what you want to say down on paper.
Do some research
Read traditional vows and search online for vows people have written for ideas. There will be thousands of examples so you might get a bit overwhelmed. Take a breath and try and make your search more specific to you and your husband-to-be. Include your ages, if you want them to be funny, if this is your second marriage, if you have children, or if you are of a particular faith - include all these in your search. Think about what you want to convey and search that with the words 'Wedding vows'.
Don’t start at the beginning
Our brains want us to write things in order, but sometimes it’s better just to get out the random words that are in your heart. If you start by writing down words or sentences, you can then work on adding some structure and creating your beautiful, heartfelt vows. Once you have some sort of structure you can work on your killer opening line and your romantic ending, so your vows flow from start to finish.
Write how you feel
Your vows are your chance to tell the person you’re about to marry how you really feel. Talk about your happiest times together and that wonderful moment when you met. Think about any challenges you faced or milestones you celebrated together. All of this is great material for your vows, but don't fill them with clichés (they're just tacky). Make promises about the future like you will be there for them when they are sick, or promise to warm your feet before you get into bed. Take the traditional vows and flip them on their head and make them reflect who you are.
‘Borrow’ some ideas
If you have seen some amazing vows or have a favorite poem you can ‘borrow’ them. Whatever you say will be original for the people who will be listening to you so don’t worry about stealing lines from things you’ve read (we won't tell anyone).
Think about your audience
You'll have a room full of people listening to your every word (no pressure) so consider your audience. They don’t want to listen to you gushing about your husband for 10 minutes, but they want to hear more than ‘I love you’ too. Try and keep your vows to around a minute, but you can stretch them a teensy-weensy bit longer. Practice your vows before the big day in front of a friend (one that will be brutally honest with you) and cut what doesn’t work.