Welcome to our Wedding Wednesdays Q&A where we answer your wedding planning questions and get you on the right path. Today’s question is about wedding vows: My fiancé really wants us to write our own vows for our ceremony. I think it’s a sweet idea, but I’m a horrible writer. I have no idea how to go about writing my wedding vows and I’m worried I’ll disappoint him. Can you help?
I can’t write your wedding vows for you (as that would defeat the purpose), but I can share with you a few exercises to help get your brain working and hopefully get the writer out of you. Before we go there though, remember that you don’t have to be a great writer to write your vows (we don’t need poetry or a sonnet from you or something super funny), the goal is just have to put what you feel into words.
The first place to start is to think of your wedding vows as a love letter. I know you said you aren’t a good writer, but just imagine you were separated from your fiancé and could only communicate through letters. And you miss him and want to tell him what you love about him. Get a pen and paper and and write dear (insert name here), I love that you….and see what comes out. You can start off slow and don’t even need to write full sentences. It can just be adjectives or phrases, like “I love that you always make me smile” or “I love that you are amazingly kind”. You want to create a list here of what you love about him. Think about all the things he’s done for you (e.g. I love that you always rub my feet at night) or the experiences you’ve had together (e.g. I love that you now love to cook as much as I do) or how he makes you feel (e.g. I love that you support me and make me feel like I can accomplish anything when I think I can’t). Don’t force anything, but just write whatever comes to mind and as you start to think of things, it should spark other things and start to flow a little easier. Once you have a list of what you love about him, grab another piece of paper for the second part of this exercise.
Now that you have your love letter to him, you want to write a reverse love letter. So, instead of things you love about him, write down things you know that he loves about you or things you do that you know makes him happy. For example, “I know you love it when we go golfing together” or “I know you love it when I when I take care of you”, or “I know that chocolate chip cookies always makes you happy”. In the same vein as the first exercise, you don’t want to force anything. Just write down what comes to mind and once again it can be simple and doesn’t have to be long sentences.
Now comes the third part of the exercise. You’re going to take your two love letters and turn them into wedding vows. Vows are things you are promising to one another. So, for this part of the exercise you want to take those things you love about him and the things he loves about you and turn them into promises. You want these promises to be things that not only mean something to you, but you know will mean something to him. For example, “I promise to try to make you smile as much as you make me smile”, or “When you are having a rough day, I promise to always bring you chocolate chip cookies”, or “I promise to cook for you and take care of you”. So, obviously not all of your statements will be able to convert naturally, but you can adjust them so that they make sense.
The final step is to put it all together. I think personal wedding vows always start off well when you talk about what you love about a person or what you thought of them when you met or what you think of them now. So, take some of the bits from the first exercise to get you started and let him know how to feel about him and why you love him. For example, “When we first met, I fell in love with you because you were so amazingly kind. You were always thoughtful and nice to everyone and I love that, but there is so much more that I love about you. I love that you always rub my feet at night because you know I love it. I love that you support me and believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself….” Then you transition into your actual wedding vows. Remember these are promises you are making to him in front of everyone you love. So, look at what you’ve written and choose the ones that are meaningful and illustrate how you feel. For example, “I promise to take care of you and to make sure you always have a full belly. When you are having a rough day, I promise to always bring you chocolate chip cookies. I promise to try to make you smile as much as you make me smile….”. Your wedding vows don’t have to be super long, but they have to feel whole to you. You want to feel that you said everything you want to say, so that he knows exactly how you feel.
Now you’ve written your wedding vows! That wasn’t so hard, was it? So, start with this draft version and then revisit it if you feel it isn’t quite right. After your initial version you may think of other things you love about him or want to say. You can tweak it as much as you like. Add to it until it feels good. And then voila, you’re done!
(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)
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