There are few experiences in a person’s life scarier than speaking publicly. For those who are lucky enough to be reciting unchanging religious vows at their ceremony, you may never know the pulse-quickening anxiety of unfolding a piece of college-ruled paper and pouring your heart out to your fiancé and your entire family. Writing your wedding vows doesn’t have to be a last-minute sprint of clichés and random applications of the phrases “partner” and “love.” If you really want to write your own vows, try to follow these tips to get you started:
Tell a Story
Nothing is more adorable than a quick anecdote during a couple’s wedding vows. It says what you love about each other without leaving you stuck with the word “love” a thousand times. Everyone knows you’re in love; you don’t need to tell them over and over. Instead, show them with a story that represents your personalities and why you want to spend the rest of your lives together. Stories also help to avoid repetition. This story-centric way of writing is also helpful if you’re thinking about adding a list of promises to your vows. Be specific in your promises, and remember that humor is always welcome!
Short and Sweet
Short vows are sweet vows. Of course, if you’re having a Catholic ceremony or some other lengthy religious service, this obviously isn’t an option. Lucky for you, your vows are already written in stone. For the rest of us, simplicity and brevity can be very important. The longer you talk, the less emphatic your vows tend to be. Keep it short as you’re sharing your love with the world – you have the rest of your life to say what you couldn’t fit onto that index card.
There’s nothing wrong with including a song lyric that has some special meaning to you and your sweetie, but compiling your vows of nothing but snippets from “The Vow” or “27 Dresses” makes those sentiments someone else’s, not yours. You want to express your feelings to the love of your life, not somebody else’s. No one is expecting you to turn into Shakespeare when you open your mouth at the altar, so don’t be so worried about your linguistic prowess. Just say what you feel in whatever words you have.
Remember, your vows are your own and there is no wrong way to write them. The best you can do is relax, open your heart, and keep it short!