One of our favourite moments is the ceremony, when the nerves and jitters of walking down the aisle are through, and the couple looks each other in the eye as if to say “wow, here we are”.
Writing your vows brings one of two thoughts:
- “I can’t wait to put my feelings on paper and announce my love in front of all of our guests” AND
- “Oh my gosh. What will I say, how will I articulate it, and how will I be able to speak in front of all those people?”
Of course, the second (and more common) brings panic and anxiety, but we have come up with a basic template on how to nail your wedding vows. If you’re a Shakespeare at heart, or if the gift of eloquence is not your forte, our tips will help create beautiful vows that are to the point, personal, memorable and most important, timeless.
1- Our first tip is to stop writing and find a quiet space to reminisce on you both as a couple. The best first step to writing your vows is to stop panicking and relax. The best thoughts, inspiration and motivation to start come when you’re at ease and not thinking too much. Start with basic feelings. How do you feel when you’re with your loved one, and why do you want to marry them?
Love, acceptance, comfort, protection, passion, support. These are all great starters that will inspire your feelings and words to start flowing.
2- Second, answer these questions. They will form the body of your vows:
- Why are you getting married?
- What does marriage mean to you?
- What is the most important thing that this marriage will bring to you both?
- What have you learned from your partner?
- How does your partner make you feel when you’re with them?
- What hard times have you gone through together?
- What do you want to accomplish together?
- When did you realize you were in love?
- When was your first date?
- What about them inspires you?
3- Do your research! Look at some inspirational vows, love letters, favourite movies, songs, religious texts and favourite poems. Highlight phrases and sentences that speak to you both, and work them into your drafts. But be careful, avoid having someone else’s writing overpower your own words.
“George Eliot wrote ‘what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other.’ John, that’s how I feel about this new chapter in our lives. I cannot wait to face every new adventure with you, good or bad. Knowing you and I will take on life’s ups and downs together makes me so unequivocally happy. ”
4- Avoid sharing past stories, exact experiences and cliches. Instead of having a ‘storytelling time’, share what you’ve learned from each other during these experiences.
Example: Instead of “Remember that time when we went to the movie theatre and almost got escorted out for laughing too much?” write “With you, I am able to be completely myself, and when a casual date night turns into one of the funniest nights of my life, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I want a lifetime of dates like our first”.
5- Make your promise to each other. All vows contain the wedding couples vow to remain faithful until death do they part, for richer for poorer and in sickness and health. But also mention how you can’t wait to face the adventure that is called life together.
Example: “I promise to always support you, and always say I love you before bed every night”.
6- Practice makes perfect! Practice reciting your vows out loud to a loved one, or a bridesmaid/groomsman. Getting feedback from them will be invaluable, and they may have great suggestions that you haven’t thought of to make the vows even better. Once you make revisions, keep practicing and you’ll find a flow as you recite them. Don’t feel pressured to memorize, in fact, make sure you have a written copy that your maid of honour and best man have prior to the ceremony.
7- Lastly, have your vows transcribed by a calligrapher to make them an everlasting keepsake you can have forever. Having a hard and final copy will give it formal presentation, and a beautiful keepsake for years to come. But make sure the vows themselves are legible!
An important tip to mention is to not obsess about the length of your vows. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Just make sure you and your fiance are on the same page about length.
And, last but not least, start early! There is no worse feeling than having to write your vows 2 days before the wedding. Leave yourself plenty of time to write leisurely, practice and proof-read. Most importantly, be yourself. Don’t take a template off the web and pass it as your own. This is a great opportunity to articulate to your partner just how important getting married to them is. It’ll be the most memorable part of your wedding day!
Cover Image: Justine Milton Photography.