This is often one of the questions I get asked once we are deep into the journey of writing the ceremony script together. I know that Vows can be somewhat daunting to many couples; for instance those who are shy, or who don’t particularly like the spotlight on them or they are not necessarily used to speaking in public, nor do they like showing their emotions so freely.
So whether a couple decide to write their own vows, or perhaps ask me to help them create them, this decision is a personal one, and ultimately one for them to make. However, as your celebrant, I would like to offer some thoughts to consider too….
Writing your own vows can be a beautiful and heartfelt way to express your love and commitment to one another. You can incorporate personal anecdotes and promises that are unique to your relationship and experiences and memories of your time together. Taking the time to reflect on your relationship is actually a lovely way to prepare for your Ceremony, and offers a moment of peace and calm in the whirlwind of planning!
On the other hand, if writing isn’t your strongest point, and you perhaps don’t have the time to spend on drafting and redrafting words you struggle to put down on paper, then do ask me to help you. With the information you will already have provided to me, there is usually a wealth of material that I can shape and fashion into vows that reflect your personalities and love story, leaving you stress free and able to concentrate on all the other many details which need your attention and decisions.
My best advice is always to just ensure that your vows are meaningful and authentic to you as a couple. Short, long, funny, quirky, romantic, practical, traditional or jokey, it really doesn’t matter. I am more than happy to look them over if you wish, and give you some gentle advice or feedback, and work with you every step of the way to ensure that all of your ceremony is a reflection of your love and commitment to one another.
Steps you need to take to Writing your own Vows
Here are some steps to take when writing your own vows:
1. Reflect on your love story: Take some time to think about your relationship and what makes it special and why you are standing together on this day, taking this step forward into Marriage. Think about your strongest or favourite memories together and write these down. They are often the foundation of your love story, where and when and why you fell in love with the person standing in front of you. What qualities do you love and admire in them? How have they affected your view of the world and your own personality? Reflecting on these things can help you find the right words and tone to express your feelings.
2. Think about the tone and length: Vows can be anything – serious, and romantic, or traditional with a modern twist of humour. They can be light-hearted too, as laughter plays a huge part in your relationship I am sure! One of my couples included the Vow “I promise to have Dominos on speed dial on Friday nights” and another groom added “I will always have the biscuits handy when you’re hangry” These remind you that you have day to day lives, you are not always going to live in a pink bubble but that you care about each other and will always try to make each other feel happy and loved.
3. Start writing: Don’t worry about making your vows perfect right away. Just start writing down your thoughts and feelings. You can always revise and edit later. You may also want to consider writing your vows separately and then sharing the outline or style or length with one another if you want to ensure they complement each other well. But unless you absolutely want to be transparent, I am not suggestions sharing the whole text, as that will take away the spontaneous reactions which are so precious on the day.
4. Use examples and inspiration: If you’re struggling to find the right words, don’t be afraid to look for inspiration. You can read examples of vows online or in books, or talk to friends and family members who have written their own vows. Just remember to make your vows personal and specific to your relationship.
5. Practice reading your vows out loud, in front of a mirror! This helps you feel grounded and confident and ready for the time to say them in front of your partner, and with your loved ones looking on. Don’t try and memorise them – writing them down in beautiful keepsake Vow Booklets gives you something to hold (no shaking hands visible!) and perhaps the next morning you can read them again over breakfast! I like to include Vow Booklets in my Celebrant Stationery Suite, so many of my couples will re-read their Ceremony Script too. A lovely way to start the day after the Ceremony I think!
Remember, your vows are a special moment to express your love and commitment to each other. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest, and most importantly, have fun with it! Your love story is unique to you, and your Vows are a perfect and beautiful reflection of that.
How to stay calm when saying your Vows
A Wedding is a huge event, emotions are always going to run high and be close to the surface. So much happiness, from the moment you wake, through getting ready, through reading each other’s love notes and then hosting probably the largest event you might ever have been involved in! Phew! And then you have to stand in front of everyone present who is listening keenly to what you are going to say!
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious about speaking in public, but don’t worry, with a bit of preparation and self-care, you can stay calm and present during this special moment.
Firstly, take some time to practice your vows and get comfortable with the words you’ll be saying. Consider recording yourself reading them aloud, and listen back to identify any areas that may need some changes – especially when it comes to breathing! So do practice speaking slowly and clearly, taking deep breaths in between phrases to help you stay relaxed.
Another tip that professional speakers use is to “ground” themselves. Literally, focus on your feet and feel the ground beneath you. In your room. At the ceremony space. Take a moment to do this, with the breathing (two or three breaths in through the nose out through the mouth) to slow your heart rate a little. Your adrenaline will probably be a little high! I made sure I had no coffee before my wedding ceremony! Bubbles yes, caffeine …. Later!!
During the ceremony, try and stay present and focused on your partner. A celebrant led ceremony is of itself more relaxed, so smile at each other, hold hands if you wish, and don’t be afraid to pause and collect yourself if you need a moment. I will always have a spare tissue tucked away if you need it!
Remember that this is your special day, and it’s okay to let your emotions show.
Most importantly, trust in yourself and your love for your partner. You are each other’s best friend and your vows are a reflection of the unique bond you share, and the goals and dreams you have of a future where you both step forward, together.
Celebrant Ceremonies Rock! Let me tell you how! Get in touch for 2024 and 2025 dates and let’s start working together on your fabulous ceremony.