Monday, November 23, 2009

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

Writing wedding vows may be the most difficult part of your wedding planning, or you may find it comes naturally, but most people want a few pointers to be sure that they cover everything.

Writing your own personal wedding vows can be a wonderful way to relate your wedding to your own personalities and your life as a couple. If you are wondering how to write wedding vows of your own, the first rule it to make sure they are sincere and reflect your beliefs and your feelings for each other. These tips will help you get started.

1. Do Some Research. You can look on the internet, read books, get ideas from other weddings or even movies. You may also want to look at the traditional wedding services of your families' faiths, even if you are not planning a religious wedding. You may be surprised how little of the traditional ceremony is about religion, and how much of it applies to your hopes and intentions for your life together.

2. Decide on Individual or joint vows. The question here is whether you both repeat the same vow, or each have your own. You need to discuss this between you. It is not just a question of what each of you wants to say, but whether you want to create one vow out of everything that the two of you hold dear. If you decide on one joint vow, it is important to be sure it reflects what both of you feel. Often, one person does most of the writing. If that is you, be sure that your fiance contributes at least one sentence. Remember, all the rest of the party is just a secondary celebration of these vows. You need your partner to be fully involved in this most important part of your wedding.

3. Create a Draft of the vows. By now you should have plenty to say, and all you need to do is put it in order.

- Start with your partner's first name. If you want to use an endearment, use that as well, but it is important psychologically for both the listener and the speaker that your names are used. So you could begin "David", or "My dearest David", or "David, my love". If your fiance is usually known by a nickname, ask whether you should use their nickname or their full name. You may have to rehearse to discover which touches them most deeply.

- Make your vows as precise as possible. Remember that vows are promises to each other: what you will do for each other and as a couple. Traditionally these include a promise to stay together for the rest of your lives, to support each other materially, financially and emotionally, to bring up any children together, to be faithful, etc. What does marriage mean to you? You can include references to how you feel about each other of course, but if you want to tell the story of how you met and fell in love, that is better done in a speech at the wedding party.

4. Discuss your vows with the officiant. You should have his permission, as he has responsibility for conducting your marriage. It will also help him understand you as a couple and how you feel about your wedding.

5. Rehearse your Vows. You can do this separately and together. Even if you are not going to speak the same vows as each other, it is a good idea to compare notes so that each of you knows what the other will say, and ensure that your vows are approximately the same length. Practice speaking your vows until you almost have them memorized but write them on a card to take along to the wedding. Even words that you know perfectly well can be forgotten or mixed up under the pressure of a ceremony.

These pointers should make you feel more comfortable and confident about writing wedding vows.

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