Looking to move from the typical and craft your own, personal vows? Here are a few tips to ensure they’re meaningful.
First and most importantly, only write your own vows if you’re both in it together. A ceremony where one of you says something personalised and the other repeats after your celebrant only looks like you’re not on the same page. Decide if you want to use portions of traditional vows with your own bits peppered in or go fully personal. But either way, you both need to agree.
So whether you’re creating your vows together with your partner or you’re keeping them a secret until the big day, you’ll want the word you recite together as a couple to be meaningful, thoughtful, (or maybe make them laugh or cry.)
Here are a few helpful tips to get you started.
1. Decide as a couple the tone you want your vows to take. Are you angling for lighthearted with a splash of personality and humour, more romantic and serious? It’s important to make sure both of you are on the same page in terms of tone.
2. Talk to your celebrant. They’ve likely seen more weddings than anyone and can steer you in the right direction of inspiration. Many will also have ‘templates’ of sorts you can work with to get you started. You can also give traditional wedding vows a read for inspiration.
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3. Include full names. Legally speaking, your vows must begin with each person’s full and legal name preceding everything else. Chat with your celebrant about this one and let them read over your vows before the ceremony for the tick of approval.
4. Make it meaningful. Don’t simple Google ‘wedding vows’ and recite what you find. Take a quiet moment and write down the things you love about your partner, how you met, why you’re choosing to marry them and your hopes for your future together. Ignore the pressure to include jokes or make it perfect, just get it all out and tweak, reword and edit later. The hardest part is getting started so take your time, and don’t leave your vows to the last minute.
5. Short and simple. Keep your vows to roughly 250-400 words and write them as though you’re speaking only to your spouse-to-be, not for the guests. Unlike a toast, this should be more of conversation to your partner so look at them during the vows.
6. Practice. Don’t be afraid to jot down a few notes on an index card or write out your vows for your celebrant to hold onto and hand over when it’s time for each of you to read them. Giving your celebrant a copy also helps in case you get overwhelmed or too emotional to get them out on your own. Here’s where practice helps. Saying your vows out load several times before the ceremony will help with nerves, word stumbles and overwhelm.
However you choose to pen your promises to your partner, remember it’s ultimately about what makes your connection unique and what makes the person you’re promising yourself to your perfect partner.