Top tips for writing your own vows
Something that I am seeing more and more of (and I love) is Irish couples willing to write their own vows. Usually I find that my Irish couples are too self-conscious to write their own vows, preferring me to write something or going with something taken from my resources. This is absolutely fine and I can usually put something personal into them from our conversations and questionnaires, but it is so lovely when a couple takes a stab at writing their own vows.
Writing vows doesn’t have to be scary, nor do they have to be really romantic if that is now who you are as a couple. You can definitely add in some humour. It can actually be a really fun experience and it’s a good opportunity to make your partner really smile on your wedding day.
With Celebrant led ceremonies, you have the freedom to include your own vows in whatever format you want, they can be traditional or completely whacky, it is up to you. It is important that you both have a discussion beforehand and agree in principle on things like the length of the vows. It can be a bit awkward when one person has written pages and the other has written a paragraph!
With that in mind, here are my top five tips for writing your own vows.
Top Tip 1- Give yourself time!!
This is where a lot of people fall down and then panic, they do not give themselves enough time. You are unlikely to write the perfect vows in one go, there will be a few drafts, a few edits, so it is important that you have the time to do these. Very often when we are writing something and get stuck, the best thing to do is walk away from it and come back to it later. You need to have the time to write, put it aside for a day or two and come back to it.
Top Tip 2 – Write how you speak
Write how you speak! This is an important one because I think what can put people off is thinking they have to use flowery language. Not true. They will sound better, and be much easier to say if you write them how you speak. So imagine you are just talking with your partner and write that down.
Top Tip 3 – Make it Personal
Think about your own relationship and those little things you do for each other to make each other smile and feel loved. Those little things that you may think are insignificant – that is the sparkle to put into your vows. For example, a promise to always make breakfast on a Sunday, or a promise to never skip ahead watching Stranger Things. Whatever it is that is personal to you as a couple.. Adding in some personal details, as well as a promise to love each other, respect each other and support each other, can make vows feel very heartfelt and genuine.
Top Tip 4 – Timing is key
My advice is keep it short. You will be glad you did when you are standing in front of all your loved ones. Apart from things like nerves, cottonmouth, feeling self-conscious, really long vows can feel drawn out and you lose people’s attention. If you have pages of material my advice is to condense it down into a short paragraph and then share the rest either during a first look session or send it to your Partner on the morning of the wedding.
Top Tip 5 – Practice Practice Practice
Practice reading your vows out loud and time yourself. Practice pausing and taking a breath. Stand in front of the mirror. The more you read them the more muscle memory kicks in and the words will flow easier. I would not rely on memorising them. The simplest thing can throw you off, so it is better to be well prepared and rehearsed, but have the comfort of having the vows printed out. Talk to your celebrant if you are especially nervous as they will be able to step in and help if needed.
My advice is just give it a go, see how you get on and don’t overthink it. If you have left yourself enough time you have that cushion of changing your mind. Your celebrant will be able to take what you have done and turn it into beautiful vows if you get stuck, or they’ll even just be able to give you some pointers. Writing your own vows may seem daunting, but it is a lovely way of making your ceremony personal and unique. Your Celebrant will be able to write beautiful vows for you but it will always be more beautiful if you do it yourself.
About Yvonne Cassidy
Yvonne Cassidy is an independent wedding celebrant, based in Dublin Ireland. Yvonne writes and performs fun wedding ceremonies with a modern twist.