Would you like to write your own vows but don't know where to start? Here's how to express your love with grace and flair.
When planning your big day, it’s easy to get caught up in organising details such as the dress, flowers and menu – while leaving things such as writing your vows till the last minute.
However, your vows deserve as much attention as any other part of the wedding. It’s also one of the only times in your life when you can intimately express your feelings about your partner in front of those in your life that you care about the most. By writing them at least a month before the event, you’ll have the chance to polish and practise them. If you suffer from stage fright, practising in front of a mirror will make you feel more comfortable by the time you stand in front of your guests.
Many couples choose to write their own vows rather than stick to traditional phrases as it’s an opportunity to let your personalities show through. And how you say them can also be unique, especially if you branch out from the norm by reciting your vows as a poem, or a song.
There is one main legal requirement: You must include a statement of some kind to acknowledge that you are present to marry each other. They could be words to the effect of ‘Today we join our lives forever in marriage.’ You are stating – in front of witnesses – that you are forming a union.
The best starting point for writing your own vows is simply to think about why you have decided to marry your partner. Sit down with a clean sheet of paper and brainstorm 10 reasons why you love him. Recount fond memories from your relationship, such as when officially you became a couple or how you may have maintained a strong bond in tough times. Keep a positive approach throughout and feel free to introduce humorous anecdotes while remembering it’s not a comedy act.
Next up, think about yourself. What do you bring to the marriage? Which promises can you make to your loved one? Write down at least five things you want to do for your partner. Will you cherish him? Respect him? Comfort him? Encourage him? Support him unconditionally in his goals? Prioritise these ideas in order of importance.
When it comes to phrasing your vows, remember they need to indicate the longevity of your commitment – for life. Will you make these promises ‘for the rest of my days’ or ‘throughout our years’? Or perhaps you’d like to think of a more poetic way to say it. Also consider how you will address each other when making your commitment. Some prefer ‘husband’ and ‘wife’, while others choose ‘spouse’
When you’re done brainstorming your thoughts, write them all down again on a clean sheet of paper. Find a close friend who will listen as you read them out loud and give you honest feedback. Sometimes words that read well on paper sound strange when spoken.
Finally, you and your fiancé must decide whether you want to share your vows with each other before the event. It may make you feel more in control of the proceedings if you know what you’re significant other is going to say but by keeping your vows a secret until the ceremony they’ll be extra special when you hear them for the very first time.