“I do!” In most weddings, these two classic words are all the bride and groom are required to say. But if you are thrilled by the chance to express what your partner means to you in the presence of family and friends, why not consider writing your own marriage vows?
Writing your vows can be easy, joyful and result in a beautiful and intimate central feature of your wedding ceremony if you keep the following principles in mind.
1. Write your vows from the heart. You love him so much that you are pledging your life to him. But what do you love about him? His corny laugh? His kindness to strangers? And what is it about her that makes your heart skip a beat? The little songs she sings to the cat? How she helps your son with his homework?
When you write your vows, think about the small and precious qualities that charm and dazzle you about your partner. These can provide clues to the tender promises you may wish to include in your personal vows. To her, you might say: “I promise I will never laugh at your silly songs and that I will always encourage your creative nature.” To him, “I promise to always support and admire your goodness and compassion.”
2. Let your vows tell a story. You have so many stories about how you met and fell in love that they could fill a book. Of course you do, but you can’t read a book at your wedding. During the ceremony, you’ll only have a few short minutes to say what you feel. So, it’s best to focus on one or two special memories that demonstrate what makes you click as a couple.
Let’s say for example you fell in love on a ski trip. To him, you might say: “When we went skiing in the Alps, I trusted you and told you all my secrets over hot chocolate. I knew then I had found my best friend in life. I promise I will always be your best friend.” To her, “I promise I will always keep your secrets.”
3. Keep your vows simple and technology-free. Though you might feel inspired to write several pages about your partner, it’s important to keep your personal vows short and simple. Your ceremony will have many parts and an overlong exchange of vows can disrupt its rhythm. It can also pose other difficulties. For example, who will carry your multi-page vows? Will you tuck them into your bouquet or request the best man to hold them under his vest? To avoid confusion, using an index card that the JP can easily hold in her book is often a good approach. And by all means leave your smart phone in the car during the wedding ceremony. No one wants to see a bride illuminated by her cell phone screen, pushing buttons to find where she saved her marriage vows.
4. Make sure your vows are tactful. Remember your vows are part of a ceremony that will be performed in front of others. Though your intimate memories are romantic to you, they should not be featured in your wedding ceremony. There will be plenty of private time on the honeymoon to whisper sweet nothings and share thoughts meant only for one another.
Still not sure whether you want to forgo the “I dos” at your wedding? You don’t have to. Many couples supplement, rather than replace, traditional vows with personal vows. Talk it over with your JP. She can offer guidance and assistance in crafting your wedding ceremony. You may find that writing your own vows can add a special and meaningful touch to your wedding – a touch that comes straight from your heart.