Writing your own vows – tips!
First and foremost, do not leave this until the last moment! Grab a notebook or jot notes in your phone as things pop into your head. Remember, this is a time to be vulnerable, which doesn’t come easily to many. Fond memories or anecdotal reasons you are head over heels with your future spouse are always well received.
Craig, owner of Craig Does Weddings gives this advice:
1. Don’t memorize them. Just read them. You don’t want your first memory of your wedding day to be, “Man, I was so nervous doing my vows from memory.” I want the first memory to be, “We had a GREAT wedding!”
2. Remember they are vows, not a summation of your entire history as a couple. You’re making a promise to your mate, so write things that you want to promise. Now, it’s ok to have a few “history” events, or character traits you want to highlight. It doesn’t have to be TOTALLY serious, but, the best vows I’ve heard are promises spoken from the heart. I advised this to one couple in advance of the wedding and during the ceremony, he pulled out three pages of notes for his vows, then she pulled out 2 pages. In total, both vows took 30 minutes. We were in the hot sun with no wind on Coronado. Lot’s of “cutesy” stuff. Lot’s of “inside” humor. It didn’t go well.
3. Think “Big themes” rather than small promises. It’s kind of funny (even cute) when couples promise not to “leave the toilet seat up,” or “take the remote away during NFL games,” but if you do that, keep it to a minimum. This is “insider information” between the two of you. You might think it’s cute/funny, but it sounds a little corny and besides, you can’t keep that promise anyway. Big themes are things like: “loving you through trials and life’s hard knocks,” or “do my best to listen to your words and the feelings behind those words,” or “I will remember that you (and I) are ‘in process’ so I’ll do my best to be patient with you when we have conflict on things,” or “I will encourage you and support you in any new challenges that come your way.”
4. Use themes from “repeat after me” vows for your own vows. I often direct couples to look over the vow options I give couples and suggest looking at the themes there. They are a helpful guide. And, I suggest picking and choosing phrases from those vows that they might want to insert in their own, or put into their own words. They don’t have to, but those vows have some great words to help guide.
5. Look on the internet. There will be a lot of bad vow options, but there are some good ones out there that you can make your own as well.
Once you’ve honed in on the perfect words, write them on an index card and practice, practice, practice reciting your vows. You’ll thank me for this tip on your special day when your nerves take hold!