How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: 10 Tips
If you’re writing your own vows, you’ve chosen an incredible and meaningful way to personalize your wedding ceremony. It’s a chance to tell your story, give guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love. It can also be a pretty challenging task because it’s so intimate—you are really baring your heart to your fiancé, and you’re doing so in front of your family and friends. If you’re struggling to come up with the right words, read on for ten tips that will help you get through writing your wedding vows.
1. Talk about Your Vows Together
One of the hardest parts about exchanging vows is worrying over how people will compare your words to your fiancé’s. Were hers longer? Did he get more sentimental? Did she make everyone laugh? Did he make everyone cry?
Instead of considering vow writing a competition, get on the same page about your expectations. You don’t have to share what it is you’re going to say, but come to an agreement about the following:
How long will the vows be?
Will you share inside jokes or would you rather keep things more generic?
Do you want to incorporate elements of traditional or [religious vows] into your own?
Consider these starter questions—but don’t hesitate to ask your significant other if you’re stuck on anything else. Once you two have a game plan in mind, writing will be easier.
2. Find a Quiet Place to Reflect on Your Feelings and Write from the Heart
Don’t plan on writing romantic vows while your fiancé is in the other room with the TV blaring or when you have a work deadline on your mind. Find a time when your stress level is low and you can really spend a few quiet minutes thinking about your relationship. To help the ideas start flowing, consider propping pictures of you and your fiancé from throughout the relationship around your writing space as inspiration.
3. Make a List
You don’t have to try to put everything into sentences right away. The first step to writing your vows should be creating a list. Jot down all the things you love about your fiancé, what you’re looking forward to most in your marriage, and what promises you want to make to your future husband or wife. Set the list aside for a day or two, then go back and highlight your favorite items on the list. Use those as the starting point for your vows.
4. Write Up to Three Drafts
Once you’ve made your list, done your research, and written your first draft, walk away. Take a few days—even a week—to give you and your vows some space. After you’ve taken time apart, go back and reread what you wrote. A little separation from your words will do a whole lot of good and allow for you to fix anything with a clear head. If needed, do this one or two more times. But after three times, stop. The bottom line is that you wrote from the heart, and continuously rewriting will drive you crazy! Don’t put that pressure on yourself.
5. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Plan to have your vows written at least three weeks before your wedding. This will give you time to write without the added pressure of the approaching day and also give you time to practice reciting your vows in front of the mirror. Trust us: You’ll be thankful for the rehearsal when those wedding day jitters kick in!
6. Say “I Love You”
This seems like a no-brainer, but Monique Honaman, wedding officiant and author of The High Road Has Less Traffic, says she is often shocked at how many couples leave out this little three-word phrase from their vows. “Isn’t that why people are getting married?” she asks. “Yes, we assume that’s a given that we must love someone if we are willing to stand by them through thick and thin, but it’s always nice to hear and emphasize.”
7. Tell Your Partner You’ll Be There Through Thick and Thin
Almost every vow we’ve ever heard touches on sticking around through sickness and health, through good times and bad times, and for richer or for poorer. They’re sentiments are repeated so often, Honaman says, “We can become immune to what they really mean.” So when you express your intent to stay by your spouse’s side, it’s smart to say what that means to you and how you’ll go about it. “The reality is that all marriages have their cycles of peaks and valleys, not always based on huge dramatic changes in life, but just because life gets busy,” Honaman says. “It’s nice to communicate your intent to get through those valleys together.”
8. Acknowledge You’ll Need Help and Support of Others
You’ve gathered your friends and family to celebrate your wedding, but the truth is, you’ll need them just as much during your marriage. So, Honaman recommends you “use your vows to acknowledge that you need others to help your marriage be successful,” she says. “This may mean acknowledging the role of religion or God in making your marriage work, or the role of family and friends who will help support you when times get tough. I believe it’s helpful to know the two of you aren’t in this alone.”
9. Get Inspired with Books, Songs, Movies, and Poems
If you have a favorite line from a movie or song that expresses your feelings, use it as a starting point. Also, browse through some children’s books, like Maurice Sendak and Ruth Krauss’s I’ll Be You and You’ll Be Me and I Like Youby Sandol Stoddard. Kid’s books often have a way of communicating deep, complex emotions in simple sentences, so they can provide some inspiration.
10. Use Other Vows as a Template
It can be helpful to start out with a set of standard vows and then personalize them. If you’re looking for a good starting place, 15 Traditional Wedding Vows to Inspire Your Own offers vows from different cultures and faiths around the world. They can be a helpful guide for anyone who is struggling to write their own wedding vows.
This very short video is a placeholder for a video currently in production that talks in much more detail about the topics shown in the graphics.
I’m working on the complete video between rehearsals and ceremonies right now since we are at the height of the wedding season here in the Portland/Vancouver area.
Comments and questions welcome. I’ll try to address them in the completed video!
A Plea to Venues, DJs, and Musicians
Wedding guests often complain that they couldn’t hear the bride and groom recite their vows or the words that go with their exchange of rings. This is especially true for outdoor weddings, which are very popular in the Pacific Northwest from June through September.
As an officiant, I carry my own wireless microphone setup: lavalier microphone, body pack transmitter, and receiver with cables for connecting to the audio system in use by the vendor hired for music and sound. Just in case they don’t have one for me. And because a handheld microphone is virtually useless when you are using two hands for the script and vows. And also because many handheld or on-stand microphones are useless unless they are within an inch or so of your mouth.
Try taking that one virtually useless microphone and handing it to the bride and groom, most of whom have never used a microphone before, so that their guests can presumably hear them speak while they are trying to choke out vows or exchange rings and you just add to their stress without success.
Before I became an officiant I did seminars all over the world. Carried my own wireless lavalier microphone setup. A transformer for European and Asian power. A box full of cables and adapters for the various connection needs in multiple countries. And it usually worked flawlessly.
Not always so for weddings. Sometimes mine has frequency interference issues. If the sound person has his or her own wireless lavalier for me, I’m a happy camper. But my microphone won’t pick up the voices of the bride and groom. A fairly important pair of people whose guests would really like to hear them, and not just me!
So here is my plea: Invest in a SYSTEM with at least three wireless microphones and a mixer so that you can provide body packs and lavalier microphones for the bride, groom, and officiant. It is not prohibitively expensive and it will drastically increase your customer satisfaction.
I just did a wedding today at a famous popular venue. That venue provided a useless microphone on a stand and a small amplifier and speaker with the quality of a child’s karaoke machine. It was pitiful, and far below the level of service that I would expect from such a prestigious venue at such a significant price.
I’ve seen vendors, many of whom appear to be real professionals, with thousands of dollars worth of turntables, computers, mixers, amplifiers, speaker systems and other fancy equipment who somehow don’t even think about making sure that the couple being married can be heard.
Please, people, make the needed investment. I’ll bet your client satisfaction scores will skyrocket!
And one last bit of advice for brides and grooms: When you select your venue, or your DJ, musician, or other audio professional, make sure that you ask them if they provide the equipment that you comfortably need in order to be heard (and also maybe connected to your videographer).
I’d love to hear from you folks, vendors and brides and grooms alike. Let me know what you think. And thanks for reading.
55 Things to Put in Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit
In a perfect world, there would be no emergencies and certainly no need for a wedding day emergency kit. The reality, however, is that sometimes dresses tear, tuxes get stained, and if you’re to believe Alanis Morissette, you should even be prepared for rain on your wedding day. The trick to making it through the unknown when it comes to your special day is to be prepared, and there is no better way to hedge against accidents than having a fully stocked wedding day emergency kit.
What Is a Wedding Day Emergency Kit?
Contrary to the name, a well thought out emergency kit should be used throughout your wedding day, not just when emergencies strike. It’s filled with basic necessities and unique tools meant to solve the common issues a bridal party might face on the wedding day. From water to wet wipes, your kit is there to support the entire wedding party through hunger, sickness, clothing malfunctions, and even anxiety. Think of it like a Swiss Army Knife of wedding day preparation – designed and tested by countless wedding parties before you to be both practical and comprehensive.
Why Do You Need One?
Weddings are exciting and unpredictable events – sometimes nerves get the best of a person, someone almost always drinks too much, and occasionally there’s a fight or argument. And with dresses being literally being ripped off of brides and stories being told about wine spilling on dresses, it’s best to be prepared, right? A wedding survival kit helps mitigate the risk of all of those, and while it’s impossible to account for every scenario, we feel like the following 55 items come pretty close.
How to Build and Manage Your Own
There is no wrong way to build your kit and you are always better off having something rather than nothing. However, the more prepared you are easier the day will go – having stocked the kit with wedding necessities like makeup remover, shoe polish, and fashion tape will save you trips to the hotel, or worse, the store.
Plan your kit well in advance of the wedding, you can even make a game of it during the bachelorette party. Once it’s stocked, treat it like the nuclear football and give total responsibility to a bridesmaid (preferably not the Maid of Honor, she likely has enough on her plate). After that it’s just a waiting game – stay disciplined and resist the urge to use any of the items before the wedding!
When the big day comes put your kit out where it can be seen and utilized – the idea is to make your approach proactive instead of reactive when it comes to wedding support. Let people know where they can find refreshments, makeup, and whatever else you stocked – be a beacon of preparedness on a notoriously hectic day!
Ready to build your own wedding day emergency kit? Click HERE to start!
Note: This guest post is courtesy of Top Gift Guides. Used with permission.
I got to thinking last night as I reflected on this past weekend’s two weddings where I was privileged to officiate. I’d met with both couples well before the weddings and customized the scripts and vows for them. I also advised them on the processional and talked to them about staying calm on their wedding day because it was all going to be fine. I am an optimist, after all.
Both weddings went beautifully. And when I spoke to the brides they were both happy with the ceremonies and happy that it was finally done! They both confessed to being a little overwhelmed with planning and details between engagement and ceremony time. So I put together a little 55-second video with some slides and put it up on YouTube. You can watch it below.
As I was editing the video above, I was inspired to create a longer version of the presentation so that I could reassure future brides that as panicked as they might be feeling at the moment, everything would work out just fine, at least as far as the ceremony and the officiant — me! — were concerned. We had that part of the ceremony fully under control. You can see that longer (8-minute) video starring yours truly below as well.
I would love to have your comments on these two videos. And a description of your experiences from when he “popped the question” to when your ceremony had been completed. I think other future brides would like to be reassured that what they are feeling is normal!
Thanks for reading and watching. And feel free to share this blog post.
When people think about wedding planning, they generally think of stress, stress, and more stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way! If you go into the process knowing what you need to do, it can actually be fun.
But the question is, “what do I need to know”?
We’ve built a list of wedding tips that will prepare you and anyone getting married for what’s to come. You will also learn what you should do to avoid the annoying problems so many couples complain about. Additionally, you’ll learn about some of the major pitfalls that can hit you on the day of your wedding and how to do damage control.
For example, what to do if your heels break or it rains the day-of in an outdoor venue? You have to think about these things!
But it’s not just about actionable things you can do to make wedding planning less stressful, it’s also about the mindset you need to have throughout. For example, many people will try to tell you what to do every step of the way. And some advice you’ll get will contradict other advice you get. That doesn’t make any sense.
Ultimately, you are in charge and you need to assert yourself early on.
But it’s not just about being the boss. It’s also about having a good time and you need to find ways to make wedding planning fun!
After all, shouldn’t the happiest day of your life be fun to plan? So check out the article because we have you covered for all your wedding planning woes!
This summary is posted with permission from EventForte. The full article by EventForte can be found here: https://blog.eventforte.com/
Owner, Stafford Studios If you need website development work done
April 26, 2017, Dawna worked with Jon Turino in different groups
Jon is an amazing, kind and perceptive person. He truly cares for and values people. His professionalism, organization and attention to detail makes him a perfect fit not only to officiate your wedding ceremony, but also to serve as an excellent resource for your wedding day.
Most couples spend more time choosing their cake topper than thinking about who’s officiating their ceremony. Don’t make that mistake. Jon will be the calm, reassuring and vibrant influence that you, your family and friends need on that day.
P.S.: If you need creative media or website development work done, Dawna Stafford is a wonderful person to work with!
(Note: This article was originally posted by Jaimie Mackey on February 18, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)
While every bride hopes everything goes right on her wedding day, there’s only so much planning and preparation you can do. With so many moving parts, something is bound to happen! And even with a script, carefully selected readings, and an officiant to keep everything in order, there is always the potential for some little snafu to come up at the wedding ceremony. We asked our experts for tips to handle the most common of wedding ceremony mishaps.
Tripping as You Walk Down the Aisle
Even with a perfectly hemmed wedding dress and heels you’ve painstakingly broken in, tripping as you walk down the aisle happens. But don’t panic! It’s easy to avoid—and to recover from. Before you head down the aisle, practice walking (slowly!) in your full ensemble to get comfortable. Then, if you’re walking with someone like your father or both parents, take a short lap on their arm(s) to make sure everyone knows how to move around your skirt. After a deep breath, head down the aisle slowly. A serene pace means you’ll be less likely to catch your skirt as you’re walking. And if you do stumble a little? Grab Dad’s arm, pause for a moment, and then keep going.
Flubbing Your Vows
With emotions running high during your wedding ceremony, trouble with your vows is pretty likely and thankfully makes for a little comic relief that definitely helps to lighten the mood! Laugh it off, then ask your officiant to repeat the line you’ve messed up. If remembering an entire sentence through the happy tears isn’t working, ask your officiant to break your vows up into shorter segments (“I, Susan” followed by “take you, Mike,” and so forth) that will be easier to manage.
A Ring That Doesn’t Fit
Out of all the ceremony snafus, this is probably the most common. From a change in the weather to water retention after too many drinks at the rehearsal dinner, there’s a chance your ring won’t fit on your finger. And of course, men tend to have larger knuckles, which means slipping your hubby’s ring on his finger could be an issue too! There’s no need to worry, though. Do your best to get the ring on, and if it really doesn’t fit, either leave it above the knuckle or move it to a finger where it fits more easily (like the pinky finger of your left hand). Then continue with the ceremony and wrestle with your ring once you’re back down the aisle. It’s nothing a little hand lotion can’t help with!
Rogue Ring Bearers or Flower Girls
The tiniest members of your wedding party are certainly the cutest but can also be the hardest to wrangle. The best way to get them down the aisle is to prepare early. If their parents or grandparents are sitting in one of the front rows, give them a seat along the aisle and stash nonsticky, noise-free treats like gummy bears beneath the seat as an easy bribe. Of course, once they’re on their way, there’s nothing you can do! From taking an alternate route to rushing (or not rushing) down the aisle, they’ll get there however they please. Make sure your videographer captures the hilarity, put a smile on your face as your guests chuckle, and get ready for your own trip down the aisle! Of course, if a meltdown ensues, ask Mom or Dad to grab their kid, comfort him or her, and head to the back of the venue so the tears don’t distract from your vows.
(Note: This article is by Jillian Kramer and was published on February 7, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)
You’d never purposely annoy your ‘maids, we know. But sometimes, well, it just happens.
Even if a bride doesn’t mean to annoy her bridesmaids, it can happen. What with all the decision-making, etiquette rules, and other specifications a bridal party needs to follow, no amount of good intentions can stop the inevitable. To help you be more cognizant of your ‘maids during the wedding-planning process, here are eight ways you might be getting on their nerves without being any the wiser.
1. You talk about your wedding nonstop.
Your wedding is pretty darn exciting, so who could blame you for wanting to talk about it 24/7? But “even though you’re just excited to share all of the details, you may be unintentionally annoying your bridesmaids by talking about the wedding nonstop,” warns Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. So remember to ask what your friends have going on too.
2. You’re blowing up their phones with wedding-related messages.
Dress news? You text your ‘maids. Caterer drama? You send ’em an email. “You may be a slave to your iPhone and your email, but that doesn’t mean everyone else wants to read 10 emails a day,” says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special events and cofounder of the Poppy Group. Send succinct, necessary messages only.
3. You won’t let them bring a date.
You’re trying to keep your guest count down—and we get it. But Fisher says, “A surefire way to irritate your bridesmaids is inviting them to your wedding without a date. They’ve shelled out a pretty penny being your bridesmaid, so let them share your special day with someone who is special to them.”
4. You expect them to spend a lot of money.
Weddings are expensive—for your bridesmaids too. “If your bridesmaids’ dresses are $300 each and you’re insisting that they also wear matching $250 shoes, that may turn a few ‘maids a shade of green,” warns Nichols. “Be respectful of everyone’s budgets where possible, and if need be, offer to help any bridesmaids who might truly be in a money or budget crunch.” And if they need to bow out, make it easy.
5. You’re micromanaging their duties.
If you’ve hijacked the planning of your own bridal shower or bachelorette party, you’re micromanaging your ‘maids to an annoying degree. “Let your bridesmaids do their job and plan something nice for you,” says Fisher, “because trying to take the reins makes you seem ungracious and annoying.”
6. You’ve booked them for too many DIY days.
Yes, bridesmaids love to help. “But if you just crafted a giant to-do list that included DIY flower day, program-folding day, menu-ribbon-tying day, and more, they might be calling you a bridezilla behind your back,” says Nichols. “Consider leaving the DIY days up to them as an option instead of a requirement. Some aunts or cousins might jump at the chance to help.”
7. You’re treating your bridesmaids differently.
You have different relationships with all of your bridesmaids, but that doesn’t mean you can treat them all differently. “It’s annoying when you treat them differently in terms of wedding planning,” says Fisher. “If you have a small bridal party, consider inviting all of your bridesmaids to check out your venue or go dress shopping, not just your two childhood besties. All of your bridesmaids should feel special and included in the same ways.”
8. You picked a bridesmaids’ dress that you like, not one that looks good.
Just because it looks pretty on the hanger—or even on you—doesn’t mean a dress is right for your best gal pals. “While you may have gorgeous olive skin and can rock a peach bridesmaid dress, your paler bridesmaids may feel like they’re going to disappear,” explains Nichols. “When in doubt, stick with solid colors in more saturated tones. White, pale pink and nude can be really tough for many people to wear, but a pretty blue or even a deep red can work on a variety of skin tones.”