Friday, May 27, 2011

Should You Write Your Own Wedding Vows? Some Things To Consider


The most important part of your wedding ceremony is your exchange of vows with your beloved.  But in deciding whether to write your own vows there are several things to consider.  

Will saying your vows, any vows out loud to each other make you so nervous that you won’t be present at this most important moment of sharing your love?  For nervous couples that feel pressured by being in front of lots of people, I suggest that you repeat your vows after the minister.  You can write your vows so they express what you want to express, but if you repeat after the minister, one short phrase of 4 or 5 words at a time, then you don’t have the pressure of remembering your words, and you don't have the complication of trying to read from a piece of paper and feel all your complex and wonderful emotions at the same time.

Will writing your own marriage vows put so much pressure on you to make them perfect that it won’t be fun anymore?  You will never be able to say all that you want to say about your love for each other in these short moments.  Take the pressure off.  You and your partner decide together generally how long your vows will be, if they can contain humor or personal information, and a basic structure that you want to follow.  That guidance will help you negotiate what works for both of you so that you can trust your thinking is in harmony and that you're not going to screw up and embarrass yourself. 

Do you want everyone to hear your vows?  Most couples assume that writing their own vows means that they will speak them unprompted to each other.  Will you have a microphone?  If not, then most likely your back row of guests won’t hear them.  But if you’re holding a microphone and a paper with your wedding vows on it, how will you still hold hands?  Thinking of logistics like these will help you decide what you want your moment to feel like and how best to create it.

The most important part of this moment of declaring your marriage vows is being able to feel and express the love you have for your beloved, and is being fully present to the moment.  Practice saying your vows out loud.  Listen to yourself.  Do the words flow?  Can you say them without crying?  Take your time.  Pause after each phrase.  Do whatever will help you capture this moment and make it powerful, meaningful, and joyful for both of you.  While this is the public declaration of your love, the most important declaration is to each other.  

If you decide that writing your own vows is just too much pressure, take a few moments alone right after the ceremony to say more of your words of promise and commitment to each other.  And then keep saying more words of love, all the years of your marriage.

For my complete ‘Guide to Writing Your Wedding Vows,’ and for lots of ideas about all the aspects of planning your wedding ceremony see my complete wedding ceremony planning resource book at

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