I've been in the wedding videography industry for a few years now; that's enough to hear a lot of wedding vows. After speaking with brides and grooms, I've learned that one of the more stressful parts of planning a wedding is nailing those vows. We're not all natural writers, we're not all public speakers, I get it. But there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your vows are incredible. So if you're feeling overwhelmed, before you sit down to write out those vows, take a deep breath and go through this list. You might find the inspiration you were looking for.
Tips to Wedding Vow Writing
01 Try to avoid the template. You can find a host of pre-scripted wedding vows online, but humans have an incredible knack for identifying inauthenticity. I've learned that there are a few exceptions: some religions require you to use certain wording in your vows, and that's okay. What I do know is that your spouse is going to cherish your vow to them more if it's heartfelt and original. The takeaway here is don't be afraid to go out on a limb. There's something about your relationship that's unique. So, be bold. Be brave. Be original.
02 Consult the experts. If you need inspiration, take a little while and dive into some poetry. Did you know that Edmund Spenser wrote his Epithalamion, which was a love letter written to his wife-to-be on the day of their marriage? It included 24 stanzas, one for each hour of the day, and 365 lines, one for each day of the year. Spenser had so many emotions, he just decided to write them all down. I'm not telling you two write 365 lines of poetry, but sometimes spilling your emotions out can be a good start. After you get it all out, begin to refine it down into something special.
03 Talk about your vows together. Were her vows longer than mine? Did his vows make everyone laugh? I've learned that one of the more stressful parts of the wedding vow process is in the comparison, but trust me when I say that comparison is the thief of joy. You may consider this an exercise in communication for a long, happy marriage to come. Don't be afraid to sit down with your fiance and talk through your vows. Maybe you want vows that play off of each other? Maybe you want to keep your vows the same length. Maybe you don't want to overlap the same content. Those are all good conversations to have, and it all starts with communication.
04 What's due tomorrow, do today. Believe me when I say: start this process early. You don't want to be scrambling at the last minute to finish up your vows. No great content was ever created last minute.Think about what you're promising and get creative with how the words flow and play off of each other. A good wedding vow takes time, so get started sooner rather than later.
05 Write for speaking, not reading. A lot of people don't realize this until it's too late. Speech writing is different than journalism or creative writing. A really great paper may not always translate very well into spoken word. Here are a couple of tips to remember.
Use short sentences. You'll begin to lose people after about 15 words.
For speech writing, use contractions. "I'm in love with you" sounds more natural than "I am in love with you."
Refrain from using exuberant vernacular. It just doesn't sound real. Keep it simple.
You don't have to follow proper English when speech writing. See? Got it? Don't worry about including a verb and an adjective. It doesn't matter here.
If you take one thing away from this post, remember this: write like you speak, not like you read. Don't be afraid to rehearse your vows in front of a mirror. Better yet, grab your best man or a couple of groomsmen and read it aloud to them.