March 12, 2020
You should definitely consider writing your own wedding vows, and here’s why.
Your ceremony helps to set the tone for your entire wedding day, so it should represent your relationship and your personalities. The centrepiece of the ceremony is the wedding vows — the promises that you and your partner will make to each other.
Your own words will feel more natural than a pre-scripted selection. The ceremony may feel like a blur and speaking your own words can help you focus and truly experience the moment.
Personalized vows will also hold the attention of your friends and family and make them feel as though they have a window into your love story.
What should vows include? Rule No. 1 – Be genuine.
Traditionally, vows include some reference to good and yes, not such good times, as well as a promise to love and cherish each other, but there is room for so much more.
- You could include some of your favourite qualities about your partner or favourite things about your relationship.
- You might talk about how or when you met (without bogging things down with a long story).
- Perhaps include reference to your faith, your kids, or to other things that you share — a love of videogames, tennis, NASCAR, etc.
- Beware of in-jokes or overly personal details. Do be quirky or silly and showcase the uniqueness of your relationship, but don’t leave the guests thinking WTH?
- You should include some promises, these are vows after all, but think carefully about promising perfection. Your promises should be realistic.
- You may want to acknowledge that you are aware your future together may not always be a bowl of cherries and add some thoughts on getting through the difficult times together.
- Be genuine, be heartfelt but most importantly, make sure your vows are for each other, not aimed at getting a laugh (or tears) from the guests.
Think about delivery
We suggest keeping your vows to less than 2 minutes each – it’s more time than you think.
Make sure that as a couple your vows “match” to prevent a situation where one partner writes a lengthy speech that strikes a romantic tone, while the other is short and snappy and goes for the laughs. To achieve this, you should sit down with your partner and discuss tone and length. Then call your wedding officiant into action. If both partners send their written vows to the officiant, they can read them through and make sure they are well-balanced.
Write them well in advance, not the day before. This will give you time to practice. Practice reading your vows in front of a mirror and out loud as they will sound very different when spoken, not simply recited in your head.
Speak slowly and clearly. You don’t need to have them memorized, but you should practice enough that you won’t stumble, and it would be nice look up at your partner a time or two as you speak.
Got more tips?
Make sure that your officiant has a copy of your vows in their ceremony. That way if your cue cards with your written vows are misplaced the day of the wedding, there will be no need to panic.
Need inspiration? The internet is full of it. You don’t have to write from scratch – you can modify something that you find somewhere else. From Dr Seuss-inspired vows, to vows sung or rapped, to promises sweet, funny, or heartfelt, you can find something to match your personality online.
While most couples find the prospect daunting (and for good reason), if you think you’d like to speak from the heart in the moment and go unscripted, we urge you to prepare a back-up in writing. Should your mind go blank with the potential stress of the day, heightened emotions, or nerves, it’s a good idea to have something written so you won’t be left stammering.
What if I really don’t want to speak in front of a crowd?
If you or your partner are very shy or anxious about the idea of making declarations of love in front of a crowd, your wedding vows can be presented to you in question form. This means the officiant will do all the heavy lifting and read the vows to you as a question. All you have to say is, “I do.”
You can still personalize the language. Simply co-ordinate with your wedding officiant.