Choosing to write your own wedding vows can be a little intimidating for a lot of grooms. Especially, if you don't consistently write. Fortunately, just like most things in life, once you learn the process and start breaking it down, it's easier (and more fun) than you may think. Here's where you start.
Step 1: Agree on the Basics with Your Fiancée
Many couples like to surprise one another with their vows at the wedding ceremony, and that's all fine. However, you'll definitely want to agree on some of the basics with your fiancée. For instance, what format will your vows be in -- will you both write poems, tell a story? You might consider the standard approach which looks something like this: First, affirm your love, then, praise your partner. Next, you'll offer up your intentions, before ending with a final vow. A more modern approach, in my opinion, is to tell a short story and use it to lead into your final vow.
Also, what will the tone of your wedding vows be like? Maybe both of you want to be humorous and silly with your vows. This will go over a lot better when you're both on the same page than if one of you went the silly route, and the other, more serious. Once you have established the basics with your fiancée, decide if you'll write them together or keep your words a surprise!
Step 2: Choose a Theme
Now that you know something about the format of your vows and the tone, it's time to start writing an outline around a theme. Think of the motif as a good starting point. I think that this is really a key thing, because for many people who don't write regularly, just finding a good place to begin can be the hardest part. Also, there can be a lot of pressure to succeed in the context of wedding vows. That's why I believe that having a handle on the theme of your vows can be such a powerful and practical technique. Here are some questions to help you get started: What was it like when you first met? What was something early on that you really loved about your partner? Are there particular challenges on the horizon that you look forward to conquering with your fiancée? What's a great example of why you two are the perfect match for one another?
I bet that you already have an answer for at least one of these items, right?! You can probably even think of four more topics! Spend some time brainstorming new ideas and see where you end up. Starting early on this is a great way to take the pressure off of having some great wedding vows.
Step 3: Write a Draft
Once you have a handle on a good theme or two, sit down and write a draft. It doesn't need to be perfect, it's just a draft. The important thing is that you write! Then, once you have a pretty solid draft in hand, write another one! Go in a different direction this time. Having more than one draft can make this whole process seem a lot less intimidating, and, dare I say, fun.
Step 4: Edit to Two Minutes
Take whatever you have written down, and after going through it a couple of times (out loud!), trim it all down to two minutes. It's just long enough for you to get your point across, but not so long such that your audience will start day dreaming.
Step 5: Practice
You knew this one was coming, right? Practice makes perfect. And if you tend to get a little nervous giving speeches, then having some "muscle memory" on your side certainly isn't a bad thing. Try practicing in front of a mirror and watch to see if what you're saying looks and sounds natural.
So, what do you think? Do you feel better about writing your wedding vows now? Hopefully, it's becoming clearer that this task isn't as challenging as you may think. I think that when you go through this checklist and put in the effort to write vows in a systematic way, you'll be quite pleased with the results. And remember: Practically speaking, no one who attends your wedding is going to remember your vows after the wedding. And you probably won't either unless you keep them someplace, or have a video recording of the big moment. The best advice I can give you is to follow the steps outlined above, enjoy the process, and remember that your wedding is one giant party -- it's going to be a lot of fun.
For more planning ideas and advice, check out these helpful articles.