If you’re planning to write your own wedding vows the whole thing can be fraught with worry—what should you say? Is it too soppy? Not personal enough? Is it appropriate to share that really funny but questionable anecdote? Here are some key things to consider before you get started.
WRITE GREAT WEDDING VOWS
Do you know what’s a terrible idea? Writing your wedding vows the night before. We guarantee it will end in tears and not in a good way. And don’t even consider winging it because it will end in a bigger disaster than that time Anne Hathaway and James Franco though they could host the Oscars. Give yourself a few weeks to write your speech to allow plenty of time to refine it.
Find a good writing place.
You want to be inspired to write so don’t decide to do it at home while your fiancée is watching the footy in his undies and yelling at the TV from the couch. Take yourself to your favourite café, a nice park or somewhere that delivers just the right amount of quiet and inspiration.
Put all your thoughts down.
Write down everything you’re thinking and feeling about your relationship. This is the time to put down every possible happy memory, every mushy thought and every feeling you have about your other half that you may want to include in your vows. This gives you a good place to start and will help you decide what to include and what to skip from your vows.
Make it personal.
Remember that your vows are a promise that you’re making to your partner. So it’s all about making your promises really unique to your relationship. Along with the serious stuff like promising to love them and be there for them, add in a personal pledge such as you will cook them their favourite pancakes every weekend or you swear never to skip ahead on whatever show you’re watching on Netflix. This is your way to publicly declare what you want to do for your other half until you both get old and wrinkly.
Share a cute anecdote that signifies you as a couple.
Feel free to share a story such as when you first realised you were in love with your fiancée or what you were thinking during your first date. These little snippets are what give people an insight into who you both are as a couple. But while it’s important to make this personal, you should also be mindful of your audience. When thinking of sharing an anecdote think of the most conservative person you’re inviting to your wedding and ask yourself if you’d want them hearing this particular story. Even if it’s funny, if you’d cringe at them hearing it it’s probably best to leave it out.
Keep it real.
Remember that your vows should only be partially a love letter, the rest of it is about the ‘in sickness and in health’ stuff that incorporates your pledge to stick around in the bad times as well as the good times. You need to remind your partner that whilst you’re there for the fun you’ll also be there when things might not be going so smoothly. This essence of a great partnership is being able to weather the storms in amongst all the sunshine so it’s a good idea to express that to your fiancée in what you’re saying.
Say it from the heart.
If you’re worried about being cheesy, don’t be. This is the time to speak words that are heartfelt and honest. Even if there’s a slight side of cheese, you’ve got a free pass because hey, it’s your wedding day and you can say what you want.
WATCH: Powerful Public Speakers
Give yourself time to edit.
It’s important to have a long lead time for writing your vows because you want to be able to give yourself plenty of time for editing. Read your vows aloud and think of how it flows and if you’re repeating things or if you’ve left anything out. Also remember that whilst it’s your day and you should be able to say what you want, you’re also not delivering an address to parliament so remember to keep it at a reasonable length. Anything beyond five minutes might be getting a little too long.
Practice, practice, practice.
Once you’ve got the final version, remember to practice delivering your vows so it doesn’t sound stilted when you do say them on the day. The more confident you are with what you’re saying, the less nervous you’ll be and the more you’ll be able to enjoy saying those words to your soon-to-be husband or wife. And if you get the delivery just right we guarantee you’ll be glad you’re wearing waterproof mascara.