One of the first decisions Rich and I made as a newly engaged couple was to write our own vows, but since I have always loved the tradition and deep meaning of reciting the same promise, we decided to include traditional vows in our ceremony as well. We effortlessly picked out traditional vows that we felt spoke true to our relationship, but the personalized vows didn’t come as easy for me…
I started writing my vows early because I knew I would need a lot of time to perfect them. Writing your wedding vows is incredibly difficult. Give me a thesis topic, and I’ll organize my research and present a conclusion in a cohesive manner, but writing based on complex and life-changing emotions is not my strength. Rich, on the other hand, is a gifted writer. He makes the best holiday and birthday cards (they’re usually handmade with sharpie drawings and accompanied by a thoughtful and well-written letter).
Over the past few weeks, I got so worked up about writing my vows for fear that I wasn’t going to adequately express my gratitude and love for Rich. Every time I think of Rich, I instantly smile and I begin to wiggle and squirm with joy (picture a spaz-tastic puppy), but when I’d try to put that feeling into words, writers block would immediately set in. When it comes to love, words can be extremely limiting.
After many rough drafts, I finally feel like I’m on the right track. I compiled a list of tips that helped me, and I hope they can help you too!
- Discuss expectations with your fiance – Will you write them together? Will you share your vows before the ceremony?
- If you are not writing them together, decide on a structure and a maximum word count (150 words is a good place to start).
- Get inspired by your past love letters, a meaningful song, old pictures and date souvenirs or go online and look for inspiring poetry and prose. Rich and I each have boxes filled with mementos from our relationship. I love opening them up and reliving those memories.
- Remember to speak in your language. Don’t pick a poem or passage to recite because it sounds eloquent.