When I am helping a couple choose all of the details of their wedding, it can sometimes be overwhelming for them. They start thinking about colors and textures and the food, oh yes, the food! But I can tell when their heads start to swim, and they are wishing they could just take a quick flight to Vegas and be alone to say their vows.
That's when I remind them. This day is about one thing. The two of you, and the vows you are making to each other. It's also usually the last thing to be done. The night before the wedding, frantically trying to write down the feelings that you will share for a lifetime. Bad plan! Not all couples want to write their own vows, but it has become a special way to make the day unique for each couple. Just remember......
Vows should come first.....flowers, food, place cards, etc. should follow.
My rules for writing your own vows:
1. Don't write your vows for the crowd.
In other words, as you are considering what you want to tell your soon to be life partner, don't imagine what your guests will think, if your father will be think it is inappropriate, or if someone will think it's silly or too humorous for a wedding vow. When you look into your loved one's eyes and say these words, they should have the deepest and most heartfelt meaning to the TWO OF YOU. No one else exists at that moment, so don't think about anyone else when you write your vows.
2. Plagiarism rules, but only if you mean it.
There have been countless love songs, quotes, and writings on the meaning of love and the promises that lovers make to one another. Beautiful, poetic, lyrical, funny and probably better than anything we mortal humans can come up with in our heads. If one of them absolutely touches your heart and describes exactly how you feel about the person you love, then I say GO FOR IT! Don't use another persons words just because they will jerk a tear, or bring a smile. They have to have meaning to you, your lover, and the life you will create together.
3. Now is the time to be creative
Take a walk in a park, go for a drive, listen to your favorite music, or look at pictures of the two of you together. Whatever it takes to get you in the mood, so to speak. A quiet place to think is essential. Don't write your vows in a bar with your buddies after a few beers, or with your best girlfriends after a few cocktails. Consider how the two of you met, what you love to do together (keep it clean), and what kind of life and love you want to create in the future. Romantic, funny, rhyming, emotional...whatever you feel will express your love and tell your partner how committed you are to this marriage.
4. Don't write a book
Your love may be complicated, you may have already lived a virtual lifetime together, and you may have a lot of history with each other, but your ceremony is a condensed version. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Bottom line here? About ten sentences, phrases, or thoughts are plenty. If you are a "straight to the point" kind of gal or guy, then use your style and get to the point in your special way. If you are a long winded storyteller, just remember to make it a short story!
5. Don't over think it
Usually, your first draft will be your best. After that, tweak your words, consider how it will make your partner feel, and let it go. Do not bring it out every other day for the next 6 months and thrash over it again and again until you are so confused that you feel like nothing you say will ever be good enough for this once in a lifetime moment! You made this person fall in love with you....any true and heartfelt expression of your love and commitment will mean the world to them, trust me.
So, you've read the rules, now go for it! And if you need some help, or want to use someone elses words to inspire you, guide you or to make your own (you can't get in trouble for saying someone's words, or singing someone's song, unless you make money from it), here's some inspiration.
If you need more inspiration, follow my "vows" board on Pinterest.