The idea of writing our own vows sounded really creative and romantic so obviously I was like “yeah totally I’m Pablo Neruda, let’s do this.” The truth however, is that I am not a poet. And putting my feelings into beautiful words is hard. My partner on the other hand is a super articulate well spoken gentleman, so I was screwed. I already jumped on the bandwagon though, so I had to persevere and figure out some lines worth a tear or two not just because I love him, but because I am competitive.
So I compiled a list of tips to think about when writing your own vows that helped me in writing some decent (if I do say so myself) vows.
1) Agree on a length and format. You are going to feel pretty awkward if your partner pulls out a novel reciting your whole love story and you tell a joke about the first time he farted in front of you. If you both have an idea about the length of your vows, no one will be left feeling guilty because it was too short or slighted because they put too much effort into it. It was important to me to know ahead of time if he was going to do something funny or serious so I could keep it along the same line. I find 1-2 minutes max is all you need. It doesn’t seem like much, but just try reading something out loud for 2 minutes, it can be a loooong time.
2) Just start somewhere. This is the hardest part. In my mind there is a ton of things I love about him but when I sat there with a pen a paper the words did not come flowing out of me. The pressure of writing the perfect vows was too much and I was completely blocked. I ended up jotting down words or sentences or ideas as they came to me throughout the day. I kept a list in my phone so as soon as something came to me I could record it. These thoughts were then a lot easier to turn into actual vows.
3) Read around but don’t get wrapped up in other people’s work. Reading songs and poetry and examples is a great way to get a little motivation but copying verbatim is going to sound cheesy and thrown together. I like the notebook like every other sappy girl out there, but I do not need Ryan Gosling’s script read to me at my wedding.
4) Be genuine. For the same reasons as above, be careful when reading all the blog suggestions and “how to”s out there. You can easily find fill in the blank vows where you insert your significant other’s name but don’t do that to them. The important parts are that you are honest about the feelings and promises you are reading and you put in the effort to write them down thoughtfully. And yes, I do realize this is a blog post called “Tips for Writing Your Own Vows” so you also have my permission to ignore me.
5) Don’t leave it to the last minute (if you can). So, If I’m really being honest I did write my vows the night before and polish them up the morning of our wedding. I had such good intentions and had all these nice random words and thoughts written down (see number 2) but we just got busy! If you leave yourself some more time you can eliminate this last minute stress, but if you work well under pressure you can probably come up with something pretty good. Just please don’t wing it at the ceremony.
It can be pretty nerve-wracking to say your feelings out loud, but you won’t regret it. Remember to breathe, speak slowly and make eye contact with your significant other. Also check-in with your minister or officiant some time prior to the ceremony so they know to leave you space in the ceremony. Most important have fun, be yourself and be honest!