Image by Mr. Edwards Photography via Jane and Alexander’s Modern Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Wedding
Your suit is ready, your shoes are shined and you are ready to get married to the love of your life. But wait, you are staring into the computer screen or speech card and it is all a blank – how do I tell the love of my life how much she means to me? Should I make it funny? While it is safer to leave most of the talking to the officiant or celebrant, personalising your own vows will make your wedding all the more special. Here’s a guide for grooms to personalise and write your own vows.
Read some vow examples for inspiration
If you have no idea where and how to start writing your own vows, start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows from your own religion if you practice a certain faith to see what strikes a chord with you. If religion doesn’t resonate with you, the internet is a treasure trove of sample vows and musings of love.
This compilation of love quotes from movies and literatures will provide boundless inspiration. Once you have found a few you love, incorporate these samples into the original words you write, or use the format as a starting point.
Agree on format and tone with your fiancée
Although most couple prefer to keep their vows from each other until the wedding day, it is a good idea to discuss with each other beforehand how you want our vows to come across. Do you envision them to be humorous? Poetic and romantic? Or a bit of everything. Finally, go over the logistics too – will you write the vows separately or together?
Include a promise or a few promises
Promises are the most important part of your vows. But remember not to make promises that are impossible to keep. Include promises that are broad in scope, such as “I promise to always support and honour you,” as well as promises that are very specific to the two of our, like “I promise to kiss you every night before bed”.
Jot down notes about your relationship
If you are still stuck on writing your vows, take some time to reflect on your fiancée. Think about how you felt when you first met, what made you fall in love, the time you spent together and when you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. Write it all down to get your creative gears turning. Here’s a handy list to help you get started:
- When and how did you meet?
- Why did you decide to get married?
- What have you supported each other through?
- What challenges do you envision in your future?
- What do you want to accomplish in the future?
Write it all out
Now that you have notes, you are ready to start writing your first draft. Do not worry about the structure at this stage. Just write! It’s called a draft for a reason. Once you’ve completed your draft, establish a structure according to a four-part outline: Affirm your love, praise your partner, offer promises and close with a final vow. Another way to organise it is to start with a short story and then circle back to it at the end.
Now that you have a structured first draft, it is time to make edits. Although borrowing quotes from literature and movies can help to elevate the romantic tone, you don’t want to let someone else’s words overpower your own. You want your vows to sound like you and relate to your relationship. Don’t rely on clichés to get your point across. Instead, come up with a specific example from your relationship that has a similar message.
Avoid anything too cryptic of embarrassing
Make sure that your guests feel included in the moment too. Avoid inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words. A good way to make sure your vows are relatable is to think about how your vows will sound to you ten years from now. If they make you cringe, it is back to the drawing board! Have a friend or family member read them over ahead of time for feedback.
Keep it short
Your vows are important, but that doesn’t mean they should drag on. When someone says something in a very meaningful way, it doesn’t need to be said over and over. Pick the most important points and make them. Put the more personal thoughts in a letter of gift to your fiancée the morning of your wedding and save any guest-related topics for your toasts.
Practice out loud
The best way to be sure with your vows is to practice out loud. Your vows should be easy to say and sound conventional. As you recite, listen out for any tongue-twisters and super-long sentences, then cut them. Avoid jargons such as “aforementioned” or “with regards”; phrases commonly used in corporate settings and emails can sound technical and cold.
Make a clean copy for yourself
The paper you read from should be legible, so even if you are working on it right up until before your ceremony, use a fresh piece of paper free of cross-outs, arrows and notes. Give some thought to the presentation too because it will end up in the photos. Many millennial grooms today prefer to recite their vows from a handheld device such as a mobile phone or tablet. However, always have a paper back up in case the mobile phone stops working. Many wedding stationery printers can supply a nice note card that matches the wedding colours or a little notebook or pad.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: I love the idea about making a few cute promises that relate back to you and your fiancée; so romantic and heartfelt!