Some couples have the language skills to write their own vows. It doesn’t mean theirs are better than any other vows. Sincere words beat out eloquence every day of the week. Some couples just prefer to be the authorof their commitment. When you consider writing your own wedding vows, you will want to remember: — Who you are promising to be — What you are promising to do Marriage means different things to different people. Even though it might seem like there is a “standard” to follow, there are no two people in the world who mirror you and your partner. Your marriage journey will be unique. Writing your own wedding vows is one way to reflect the specialness of your love. You are going to be sharing what you will do to love and support your partner. Your wedding vows set the standard you strive to live up to for your entire life. When you write your own wedding vows, you are stating goals for your own heart. When to Begin Don’t wait until the last moment to write your vows. The number of details that may need to be tendedto during that last weekof wedding preparation can be overwhelming. Relatives will be wanting to share time with you. Your wedding partymay also need your attention. The excitement may reach a whole new pitch of nervousness and excitement. In writing your own wedding vows, get it done sooner than later. If you truly don’t want to end up using someone else’s vows, make the writing of yours a top priority. Four Big Basics of Writing Your Own Vows Begin with a blank piece of paper FIRST thing in the morning and write down four feelings/emotions that come to mind when you think of your partner. LEAVE the paper alone until the next morning, Allow your brain 24 hours to cogitate what you wrote. You will be able to expand on your thoughts the next day. Review the memory of a moment in your relationship when a “light bulb” went off in your head. If there was a moment when you knew that you knew, give a little snapshot of that moment. What made you realize that he or she was “the one”? What do you appreciate about your partner? What are some of the big and little things he or she does that makes you love them? Want to mention a quirk or irritation? Make it humorous. ALWAYS bring your observation to how you will accept or work aroundtheir challenging quality. What you promise your partner you Will DO … Here’s what you might promise your partner on your wedding day. “I promise to respect you.” “I promise to not park on your side of the driveway.” “I promise to make you the number one priority in my life.” I PROMISE. I PROMISE. I PROMISE. REMEMBER, Keep it short. If you’ve hand-written your vows on two sheets of paper, it’s likely more than your guests will be able to listen to (hear). If possible, express what happened that make you willing to commit to these important promises. Below are more examples of how to go about fulfilling these four big basics. Contemplating Marriage To begin the process of writing your own vows, set aside a long space of time to contemplate what is meaningful to you in your relationship. What do you know is important to your fiancé? What promise can you make to ensure the things you both value are encouraged in your relationship? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For example, do you value the fun you and your fiancé have? Then make a promise not to take yourselves too seriously. Or ask yourself how can you bring joy to your relationship in daily life? Another idea to contemplate is how your life has changed because of your relationship? How do you envision this continuing as time progresses? What is it that you love most about your partner? What promises can you make to encourage the best in him or her? Setting the Tone The next step in writing your own wedding vows is to decide on the tone you want to set. Whether humorous, contemporary, spiritual or religious vows, no one tone is better than another. Some couples want humor in their vows so they may promise to let their spouse hold the remote control. Orto bring morning coffee to the bedroom. Walk the dog when it’s his or her turn and it’s raining outside. If you want to promise love “in sickness and in health” in a new humorous way, you could say, “I’ll get you medicine when your tummy aches”. If romance is important to you, paraphrase something from a great poet. For example, Kahlil Gibran wrote about Marriage in his masterpiece, The Prophet. From his words, you could state, “I promise to let there be spaces in our togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between us.” Your vows should acknowledge the sincerity of the commitment you’re about to make even if your vows contain humorous elements. Research There are many examples of vows on the internet. Read poetry, pick out phrases from your favorite songs or movies. Inspiration abounds, and all you may need is to prime the creative pump by doing a little research. Editing It’s important that your vows bepersonal but be careful you don’t promise something that is too personal. You’ll only get embarrassed. I once had a bride say I promise to not spend all of your money”. Nor do you want your vows to be too vague. You do want your partner and guests to understand what you are promising. . Covering All the Bases is Not Necessary While your vows are the most important element of your ceremony, it doesn’t mean they should be a homily. Get at the heart of what marrying this person means to you with your vows; pick the most important points and make them well. Save some thoughts for the reception toasts — and for the wedding night.” The Delivery It’s very rare that a person can memorize their vows. But nothing looks tackier than having life-long promises written on a tattered piece of paper. If you are going to read your vows to your mate, print them out on a nice piece of paper. Give them to your Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor, or the minister. They can hand them to you at the appropriate time. Or, have your script printed in large type for the officiant to hold for you in his folio if he/she uses one. Be sure to look up from your script and into the eyes of your mate so the warmth and meaning is conveyed between you. Timing is important too. I repeat, try to stay within a one-minute time frame. I know that doesn’t seem like very long but trust me, you’ll probably talk longer than that but aiming for shorter vows gives you wiggle room for going over but not being so long everyone will fall asleep instead of paying attention — even your partner! The Asking Another alternative is having your wedding minister speak the wedding vows you’ve written phrase by phrase in the form of a question. You then say “I DO” or “I WILL” after I finish the phrase. This way of sharing your vows is called The Asking. The Conclusion Every good piece of writing has a conclusion. Your vows should have a clear ending as well. This is the perfect place to say, “I love you with all of my heart. I love the sound of calling you ‘husband’ / ‘wife’”. However; you’re inspired to put this period on your vows, include the word LOVE. Before you share your personal vows at your wedding ceremony, speak them privately and out loud to yourself. You’ll be able to tell in listening to yourself if the words you have chosen to convey what is most important to you. Or if they sound silly or trite. This is yet another good reason to start earlier than later! Feel free to run your ideas past me, as well. Having someone else look over what you’re writing who has some experience can make a big difference.