By Rebecca Padgett
1. Agree With Your Partner
It is important that you both want to write your own vows. Because vows are personalized and require reading aloud to an audience, you want to ensure it’s something you are both comfortable with. It only truly works if you both are comfortable and confident
2. Set A Limit
In order to avoid one person outwriting the other, set a word limit. The average person speaks between 100-150 words per minute. With this in mind, decide how long you would like your vows to take. Reading your vows aloud is an emotional and memorable moment that you want to give value to, but at the same time you don’t want it to drag on. Decide on an agreeable length.
3. Be Aware of What You Share
Remember — you will be reading this in front of friends and family, and while they love you, they may not want to hear any embarrassing or deeply personal aspects of your relationship. Obscure details or nicknames my confuse them. Your goal is to write vows that will be meaningful and relevant for many years.
4. Be Yourself
With the previous tip being said: be yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t be funny and goofy. In fact, you should if that’s your personality. Use your own sense of language, tell a humorous anecdote of your love story, gesticulate, laugh, smile and do what feels natural.
5. Include Special Moments
Your guests adore and support you, therefore they will swoon and smile over the special and defining moments you share about your relationship. Some moments could include: how you met, your first date, when you knew you were in love, the moment you were most proud of them, your partner’s best characteristics, how you knew they were the one, etc.
6. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Besides officially saying “I do,” your vows are the most important and impactful part of the ceremony. Just like an important assignment, don’t wait until the last minute as your lack of preparation will show. Start by brainstorming some ideas: special moments, memories, quotations or lyrics you both love and promises you want to make. Then outline your vows. Finally, sit down, and put those words to paper.
7. Practice Out Loud
Practice makes perfect — or at least makes you more comfortable. By practicing out loud, you can find the natural rhythm and cadence of your vows. Remember to speak at a reasonable speed, pausing to take breathes and be in the moment. Reading aloud will help you indicate if there is anywhere that doesn’t flow properly or if there are words you stumble over.
8. Make a Wedding Day Copy
You will likely go through a few drafts and will have a crumpled and creased practice paper. For the wedding day, start fresh. If using a piece of paper, opt for a heavier card stock. Remember that the vows will be in your photos so, you may want to use a scroll, a journal or beautifully printed book. Any of these can be a keepsake afterwards. If you’re typing, use a legible, larger font. Handwritten vows are all the more personal.
9. Make Promises
The purpose of vows are to make vows. Don’t forget to make promises to one another. This is a wonderful way to end your vows. Make promises that are unique to your marriage and that you will keep forever and always.
10. Don’t Stress.
Like all aspects of your wedding, this should make you fall all the more in love. This is a time for you to sit with your thoughts and reflect on all of the beautiful, joyous, loving moments that resulted in your wedding day.