You’ve made every decision imaginable while planning your wedding—venue, menu, cake, attire, decorations, flowers, celebrant and ceremony script. Now all you have left is to write your wedding vows. Oh, no! cries many a couple. Indeed the thought of writing vows causes great anxiety for many couples. And the anxiety builds if you put it off until the night before the wedding to scrawl some words on a crunched up piece of paper. Instead, take some time in advance of the day to create vows that you will be proud to say to your love and that your love will be honored to hear. Here are three steps to help you create vows that are heartfelt and an honest reflection of why you are getting married.
Step #1. The first thing you need to do is step out of your regular day-to-day work to slow down and have a chance to think. Taking a break from your day-to-day responsibilities is hard for most of us, let alone when you are planning a wedding. It takes effort to find a time that you can call your own and get enough quiet to do some thinking. Try one of these activities.
- Arrange a time with your fiancé/fiancée to sit together in a park. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just steal away some time for just the two of you to be quiet together, preferably outside.
- Go for a walk by yourself. Maybe you are near a walking path, or maybe you are in a town with pretty house-lined streets or maybe you are by the beach (lucky you). Wherever you are, go for a walk to slow down your thinking and get away from your chores.
- Put on your favorite music and listen to it – here’s the tricky part – while not doing anything else at all. Listen to the lyrics, feel the rhythm and enjoy the music. Don’t read or watch TV or answer emails or text someone at the same time. The music is the point so let it move you emotionally or perhaps physically.
- Speaking of dancing, do physical activity that requires you to move but doesn’t require too much thinking. Maybe that’s yoga or the already mentioned dancing or jogging. Or maybe it’s a game of catch with your favorite furry dog friend or favorite human friend. Enjoy the movement and don’t overdo it so that you are too tired afterwards.
Step # 2. Now that you have taken time out to quiet your mind and slow down from life, it’s time to begin the process of writing down why you love your partner. Writing down your feelings about your soon-to-be husband or wife can seem overwhelming. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get your ideas flowing. Just ask yourself the question, write down whatever pops in your head and later you will put it all together. Don’t try too hard and don’t forget to breathe!
- How does you partner make you laugh? Think of the little moments during the day and how he or she has a way of making you laugh out loud. Write down lots of examples.
- What are the endearing qualities about your partner, perhaps that no one else gets to see? Think about times when it’s just the two of you. Is he a total goofball? Is he really a romantic gushball under that strong exterior? Is she always a step ahead of everyone, organizing and making plans? Is she always dancing and singing around the apartment? Write down everything you think of.
- When you think of your future together, what does it look like? Imagine your life in 5 or 10 years from now: what do you see and how does that make you feel? Excited, grateful, happy, exuberant, whatever emotion you feel, write it down.
- If a movie were made about the two of you, what would it be? Is it a romantic comedy, a drama (or melodrama), a thriller or adventure movie or even a sci-fi flick? Describe the characters in your life movie and why you are glad to be making this movie with your partner.
Step #3. You should have many rambling sentences to work with at this point. If not, repeat the first two steps on another day. Here are some points to consider while you use the materials you wrote so far to write your vows.
- It is important to have a conversation with your partner about what length you want your vows to be. There is no prescribed length, though think about your comfort level with speaking in front of groups. If you both are drama queens, go as long as you like—just agree to the length in advance. If one of you is shy, consider both writing shorter vows. As few as the magical number 7+/- 2 sentences is perfectly fine.
- Decide whether or not you want to share your vows in advance with your partner. Sharing is the easiest way to make sure you are on the same page, but there are many couples who prefer to keep their vows secret until the day. Either choice is perfect if it is the right choice for both of you!
- Re-read everything you have written from step #2 and refine the language you want to use in your actual vows. There are no rules to what you include in your vows, but be sure they are something you are comfortable with sharing publicly. Don’t feel like you have to be funny (unless you want to be) or you have to be gushy (unless you want to be). It is completely up to you and your own style.
- Your Celebrant/Officiant will be glad to provide suggestions so just ask for some help.
Writing vows can be difficult for many couples so don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t confident about your writing skills or if you have trouble speaking about your feelings. Remember that no matter what the words are, if they are true to what you feel for your partner, they will be heartfelt and perfect for your wedding ceremony.