Behind “I Do”
As you plan the dream wedding of a lifetime, it’s easy to get caught up in the throes of gown shopping, stationery design and dinner menus, while details of the actual solemnization process take a backseat.
Isn’t it ironic, though, as this is really the whole crux of the event, and the reason for having a wedding in the first place? Well, a good place to start reflecting on the vows you will soon be exchanging with your partner is to actually pen them yourself – yes, we’re talking about writing your own wedding vows.
Writing your own vows can be one of the toughest jobs in this whole wedding planning process, but it is also the most meaningful step in the journey. We understand – writing doesn’t come naturally to many of us, and there are ready-made vows aplenty to be found online in this day and age. Yet, there is something so precious and timeless about penning these words with your future life-partner, a unique and lasting promise that you are making, each to the other.
Whether you craft your vows individually (as a surprise for the other on your wedding day) or together as a couple, taking the time to reflect on the words you want to say to each other will help you to slow down amidst the fast pace of wedding planning.
It’s a chance to look back on your relationship thus far, to be honest with the dreams and fears of your hearts, and to be brave to offer the best of yourselves to the other person. Such times of reflection can also help you both become more aware of what matters most to your partner, and what your vision of a happy marriage looks like. Before the wedding is certainly a better time to discover and talk about these things than after the ceremony.
If you’re worried about your “England no good” (English language not good enough), feel free to enlist the help of a close friend to help you both edit your vows, to make the words flow better without losing the essential meaning.
However you choose to write your vows, remember to do it weeks in advance (and not the night before the wedding) and write from your heart. Here are a few tips to get your started:
Tip #1: Everyone OK?
Writing your personal vows has to be a mutual agreement between both partners and the solemnizor. Do discuss the possibility of customized vows with your partner before plunging into penning the words, and also check that your solemnizor is on the same page.
Some religions or institutions may require you to adhere strictly to the traditional or spiritual wording of the wedding vows, or may specify certain phrases or elements that must be part of your vows. So do your homework before you get those brain juices flowing, so that your effort isn’t wasted.
Tip #2: Look inside your heart
Take a break from wedding meetings and work to reflect on what marriage means to you personally.
How would you describe your partner? (Attributes, personality etc)
What do you love or value most about the person you are about to marry?
How do you know that he/she is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?
What is the most important thing you want to promise your partner?
Tip #3: Write it all down
Some of you may not like following a script, and find actually writing out your vows a rigid inflexible exercise. “Why not go with the flow, live in the moment?” you might ask.
Trust us, the wedding ceremony is not the time to “wing it”. Besides the fact that emotions tend to run high on the actual day, you don’t want to regret forgetting to mention what is most important to you and your partner just because you thought you would never forget something so important.
Writing your vows out physically allows you to check for grammatical errors and think about the flow and order of your points. It also gives you a script to practice with, which brings us to our last tip…
Tip #4: Practice saying your vows
You may be surprised how awkward it can be for some of us to utter words of endearment and commitment in front of a roomful of people. Adequate practice in reciting your vows aloud will help you to be comfortable with what you are going to say on the actual day (or edit your script accordingly).
If you are memorizing your vows, you will definitely need to clock in lots of practice time. However, even if you choose to memorize your vows, do write them out on a small card which your best man or maid-of-honour can keep on standby – just in case the nerves get the better of you on your wedding day!
Have fun penning your wedding vows, and all the best!