By Taylor Trimble | Spring 2018 Intern
You're in the midst of planning your big day and you and your partner have decided to write your own vows. This is one of those tasks that is definitely easier said than done. We may think it's easy to put our love for someone into words, but this can be a very daunting part of the wedding planning process for couples. After all, we can't all be romance novelists like Nicholas Sparks or flawlessly profess our love like Harry in When Harry Met Sally (a girl can dream though). Hopefully this guide will help you to write the vows you envision for yourself and your future spouse on your big day!
1. Have a conversation with your partner. The hardest part of writing your own vows is knowing where to start. Sit down with your future spouse to discuss the logistics of your vows and to ensure that you're both on the same page. How long do you want your vows to be? What's the tone of your vows? What should you include and what should you leave out? Do you want your guests to laugh hysterically or have tissues on standby? These are all important elements that will help guide you through the writing process!
2. Reflect on your relationship. Take some time to reflect on your relationship alone. Think of aspects about your partner and your relationship that you would like to highlight in your vows. If you want to dig a little deeper or need help with reflection, there are thousands of prompts for vow writing that can be found online. These include questions such as "What promises can you make to them?" and "What has your partner taught you?". One of the most important parts of this step is to take notes! Make sure you write down everything, whether it be a silly memory or sincere, heartfelt thought you had about your partner. You may still be unsure of what direction you're going with your vows, so it's important to have as much information to pull from as possible.
3. Look for inspiration. Whether it be watching your favorite wedding television show, reading samples online, or binging YouTube videos of couples exchanging their own vows, there's unlimited inspiration to help you with the writing process! My personal favorite is searching for videos of vow exchanges online or watching shows like Four Weddings on TLC. Videos of real couples and real vows can help you to create a vision for your own vows. It can also help you to realize what you would like to do differently. While it's important to keep your vows true to yourself and your partner, looking for inspiration can ignite the spark you need to craft your perfect vows!
4. Put time and effort into your vows. Don't wait until the last minute! Your vows shouldn't be put on the back burner. The vow exchange is an important part of your day and something that should have deep meaning to both of you. These are the promises that you will be making to your partner in life and best friend forever. Your wedding day is all about you two and the vows are where you can put your love for one another into words. Make this a priority and put your love for your significant other into it!
5. Make it your own. Vows are all about you two and who you are as a couple. Incorporate memories, inside jokes, or special details about your relationship. Don't feel pressured to include cliches (unless you want to, of course!) or to sound as perfect as Monica and Chandler did while exchanging their vows on the iconic Friends wedding episode. Make sure your words to each other feel authentic and genuine - it's all about you as a couple!
6. Practice! We've heard it since we were young - practice makes perfect! After you've composed your vows and have come up with a final draft, practice by reading them aloud. You may feel silly at first, but it's worthwhile to try it out. It can help you from stumbling over your words and changing your tone if needed. Once you feel more confident, try watching yourself in the mirror as you read them. You'll probably feel even sillier than before, but it will make you feel more comfortable with yourself - my public speaking professor swears by this trick! Your vows don't have to sound perfect, but feeling confident is important. Don't overdo it or be too hard on yourself - this can make you more nervous than you already are. With some practice you can assure yourself that you'll be able to get through your vow exchanges with grace on your big day.
Vows are an important element of your wedding and will give your guests insight to your love for each other. They're something you can look back on as a memory and as a reminder of how much you value your spouse. They are the commitments and promises that you make to your partner for the rest of your lives. Now comes the challenging part - putting these steps into action! It's my hope that this guide was helpful and puts you a little more at ease about this important part of your big day.