I love my first meeting with couples who I am marrying. They are so earnest and in love and usually overwhelmed by all things wedding planning related. I fall in love with each and every one of them. As we discuss the wedding ceremony details—the processional, the love story, and the readings—they often get really nervous when I mention their wedding vows. I always ask if they are considering writing their own vows. And they almost always respond that they would like to except they don’t think they can. They might say they think they can’t express their feelings, or they fear expressing them, or they fear that they will blank out during the moment or something similar. Well, I am here to tell you that you absolutely can write your own vows and say them with calm conviction during the ceremony. Here are some ideas to help you calm your nerves about writing and saying your vows. I have also written this article (Tips for Writing Heartfelt Wedding Vows) to help you in the process of writing your wedding vows.
- Ask your celebrant for advice. They have helped countless number of couples and know a thing or two about vows. Ask them for help and they will give you some suggestions and council.
- Prepare in advance. Allow plenty of time in advance of the ceremony to write your vows. Sometimes a bride or groom says they like spontaneity and want to speak “off the cuff”. This is usually not such a great idea. Thinking about what you want to say in advance ensures that you don’t forget anything in the often anxiety-ridden moment.
- Practice but don’t memorize. You want to feel confident that you know what you will be saying so read them over a few times. But don’t feel like you must memorize them. That’s what #4 is for.
- Print vows out on nice cardstock. None of those folded up napkins or crumpled pieces of paper will do during your wedding. Print it out or have your celebrant print it out on nice paper so that it is neat and easy to read. Your celebrant should also be able to keep your vows and hand them to you when it’s time.
- Breathe and take your time. When the moment arrives, don’t feel rushed. It will be over so quickly that you will appreciate if you take your time and breathe. Slowly and with feeling, read your vows. Try stopping after a sentence and look at your beloved. They are why you are getting married and why your vows are so important.
Your wedding vows are a reflection of you and your style, so own them and make them words that have special meaning to you and your love.