It probably isn’t a surprise to you that the ceremony IS THE WEDDING in my eyes. Without the ceremony it wouldn’t be a wedding – it’d just be an expensive party. I’ve done a number of posts on how you can personalise your ceremony such as this one from 2015 and this one from 2012, and I always mention how I well up listening to a couple say their vows to each other.
The husband and I including personal vows in our ceremony was something I wasn’t going to negotiate on. In the UK you have to say certain vows to make the marriage legal, although you get to choose which legal vows you say from a pack the registry office/church give you. These vows can be incredibly beautiful on their own, but I wanted to write extra vows ourselves so we could say our own personal promises to each other.
What I did not realise, is how difficult writing your own vows can be. Every time I sat to think what I wanted to promise him my mind went blank. After quite a bit of time though we both manged it, and I’m incredibly proud of the vows we gave each other.
Here are my tips on how to go about writing your own vows:
- Before you go anywhere near a search engine, sit and think about what makes your relationship unique, and what silly little things are features of yourself, your partner and your relationship. Note these things down.
- Note down little things he does for you that you’re thankful for.
- Jot down what sort of things you’d like to promise your loved one.
- When taking notes of all these things don’t worry about wording it in any set way, and don’t worry about if the things you’re jotting down are things you definitely want to include in your final wedding vows. This is your initial ideas stage.
Next: Don’t be afraid to use the Internet
- As you search for personal vow inspiration copy and paste into a document any lines you like. At this stage don’t worry about adapting the lines.
- Search a number of different sites for your inspiration. Take inspiration from real life vows, professional vow writing service sites, wedding vows from films etc.
- This is your research stage
Now it’s time to combine the two
- Take your time. Hopefully you’ve still got at least 4 weeks until your wedding day. Writing your vows can be incredibly difficult, so doing some work to them one day and coming back to them a few days later will help you tackle the task with a fresh mind.
- Rework the vow lines you copied from the research stage to suit you and your partner.
- Re-read the sentences and key words you wrote during your initial ideas stage and start to combine these together with the lines you’ve taken from the research stage.
- You can include personal details that may give your friends and family a little giggle, but this isn’t the time to be ‘a laugh a minute’. We included sentences such as “I promise to give you the last cookie” which our friends and family loved as they know how mad I am for biscuits. If you want to include a ‘giggle’ line or two, that is fine, but keep it to a minimum.
- Feel free to share your vows with your partner. I read my husbands vows while he was half way through writing them and told him he needed to word a few more of the lines as promises. Don’t be afraid to give each other a couple of pointers and share the process if you want to. I didn’t want to read his final vows before hearing him say them on the day, but I was happy to read them partially done to help him out.
- It might be a good idea to agree things such as how many promises you are going to make each other, as you don’t want one person to have much longer vows than the other.
Think you’re done? Give your self time to re-read them a few days after you think you’ve completed them and read them aloud so you get a feel for how they’ll sound when you’re speaking. Some things can be beautiful on paper, but if when you go to say them it doesn’t sound like you, it takes a certain something away from them.
You want to sound like you. You want what you’re saying to sound like you.
Then it is simply typing them up and printing them them off in a good sized, clear font in preparation for the day. Exactly how to print and back your vows is completely up to you, but just think, if you’re holding a piece of A4, you may find your paper shaking, and no matter how big and clear the font is you’ll likely loose your place. Try cutting them up into no bigger than A5 size and back them onto card to help reduce any shaking and to help reduce the chance of you loosing your place.
So that’s the end of my tips, but below are the personal vows my Husband and I said to each other on our wedding day.