Saying your wedding vows is something you want to get right because, let’s face it, it’s something you really only want to do once. So, how do you write vows that will resonate with everyone at your wedding? Even the most unromantic of your guests? We asked Lawrence Bernstein of London-based speech writing firm, Great Speech Writing, for his advice.
1. Your vows belong to you – make sure they reflect who you both are
The beauty of wedding vows is that they belong to you and no one else. The golden rule is that they should reflect who you are, who your partner is, and the essence of your relationship. Other than that, you have full creative license to do pretty much whatever you want! Unlike wedding speeches, you don’t have to factor in the audience. If you and your partner want rhyming vows based on a mutual love for Yes Minister, then go for it!
2. Agree on a Tone and Format
Before putting pen to paper, you should decide on tone and format. Your vows can be unashamedly romantic, funny or self deprecating. Whichever is truest to you.
In terms of format, wedding vows usually go something like this:
i) Affirmations of love – say what you love about your partner.
ii) Promises – they’re called vows for a reason!
iii) A final, all encompassing vow.
Of course there isn’t a rule-book, but the three points outlined above are a good starting point. It will give your vows a rough structure that will help you to craft something truly special.
3. Set a word limit
If you decide to write your vows separately, establish a word limit. 150 words is a good benchmark.
4. Ask Yourself Questions About Your Relationship and Write Notes
Ask questions like:
i) What do you love about your partner?
ii) What drives you mad about your partner?
iii) What do you admire about your partner?
iv) What about them inspires you?
v) What experiences define your relationship?
It can be hard to define what about your partner you love most, so asking yourself these questions and noting down your answers will help you to get your many thoughts, feelings and ideas in one place!
5. Make a List of Promises
Well, they wouldn’t be vows without vows, so make a list of promises and don’t hold back. You can choose from them later. Your promises can be broad or specific, sincere or humorous. But get them on the page first. Then you can decide which ones are the most important. And remember, even if your vows are self-deprecating and humorous, it’s always nice to end on a sincere note. If you can agree on a last, all-encompassing vow that you can both share, you’re almost guaranteed to have the guests reaching for their tissues!
i) Do you promise to spend the rest of your life loving your partner?
ii) To share in both their successes and their defeats?
iii) To admire them as they deserve?
iv) To always turn the pantry light off?
v) To buy the anti-snoring nosepiece you said you would?
6 Don’t Try to Memorise it
We wouldn’t recommend delivering your vows from memory. You’re giving yourself an added pressure that you could do without on the big day itself! Better to have them written down on small cards (A6 is ideal) but also to know them back to front so that you don’t find yourself glued to the text – eye contact with your partner is essential!
7. Don’t hold back
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to publicly declare your commitment to one another in front of all your loved ones. Laugh if you want to. Cry if you want to! It’s a moment that you only have once. Enjoy it.
Do you need help?
If you would like help writing your wedding vows or speech, find out more or call Lawrence on 020 8245 8999 or visit greatspeechwriting.co.uk.
Image Credits: Image by Stu Heppel.