The wedding planning process is really a series of decisions (make that a virtual monsoon of decisions) on how you will present the best versions of you and your fiancee to the public. Many of these decisions involve basic things like your decor & color preferences, favorite clothing, food, and music styles, etc. No biggie. And then there are the decisions that will result in people to hearing you spill the deepest contents of your heart to your true love: your wedding vows. Kind of a biggie.
If the thought of this terrifies you into a state of hurling (and we don’t mean the team sport), there certainly are pre-written wedding vows of all kinds to choose from that can convey lovely and meaningful sentiments. But, if you or your spouse-to-be really wants to make personal vows, you may have to step up.
The good news is you already know the theme, it’s all about how (and usually why) you intend to love your partner going forward. The bad news is that finding the right inspiration, the right words, and for some, the chops to say them, can be challenging, especially in the midst of all the other wedding planning details.
Agree to Shared Activities
As you spend free time together watching show or movies, reading books, listening to music, even visiting a museum, pay attention to what particular things move you both. A movie quote? A poem? Song lyrics? An artist’s particular style? Capture that feeling and expand on it. Think of a way to weave it into your wedding vows.
In the daily hustle and bustle of our lives, it’s hard to concentrate on activities that require focus and inspiration at the same time. As a couple, think of taking a weekend break and celebrating your short-term fiancee status at a country inn or other quiet location. This space can help you focus on the things you want to commit to, as a couple, in your wedding vows. Some may opt for a couple’s premarital retreat which often includes specific activities to help you get in tune with each other and immerse yourselves in the “why” you are together in the first place.
Fish for Feedback
Of course, it feels like no one knows your partner as well as you, but the Maid of Honor or Best Man actually may run a close second. Spend some one on one time with them, and you may be surprised at some of the insightful impressions or stories they have to tell about your beloved. From a different feedback angle on that first date to their old shared memories and quiet observations, you may find some wonderful gems here.
Seek Sage Advice
Everyone has family or friends who have healthy marriages, some for decades. Since your vows are a bit like a pledge on how you intend to make your marriage work, interview couples you admire who have healthy, lengthy marriages and find out what insights they may have. This is especially meaningful if it comes from parents or grandparents.
Try a Fresh Take
Find someone you know who has never heard the story of how you met and details about the moment you knew your fiancee was THE ONE and tell them your story. With a receptive listener this can be very magical and inspiring; watch their face when you retell the small, romantic or funny details – chances are you’ll be getting your own emo on and will be ready to start writing!
Wedding vows are kind of like a love letter, so how about writing some? Picture this: the two of you are sitting on your living room floor, back to back, getting giggle fits or misty eyes as you write each other love letters to share on your wedding day. The retold story of this activity alone could be the basis of your vows…
Practice Makes Perfect
If you have a trustworthy memory, even under pressure, memorizing your vows could work. If you need to read them, that’s fine too, but either way, you have to become comfortable reciting them with the appropriate volume in front of a group. The mirror is an excellent place to start, and from there, try to find people who you can rehearse in front of – your Maid of Honor/Best Man, your mom, your neighbor, even your dog! Ultimately, you are promising, loud and clear, your love to your partner – your most important audience.
Don’t get too hung up on how the guests receive your message. No one is expecting Shakespearean prose or delivery. Witnessing both of you share your most profound promise to each other will be moving for everyone. And there’s nothing more WOW than that!