Planning your wedding involves serious work. As a couple about to walk down the aisle, you may spend months making sure you have the right dress, or the suit fits you perfectly. You’ll spend hours debating the advantages of event venues versus hotel ballrooms, or whether you should hire a wedding videographer or not. You may even argue about whether to get chocolate or lemon cake and how many layers of it you should have. However, all these details are small matters compared to the main focus of the day, which is the moment you exchange your vows.
Preparing your declaration of love is probably the most important item on your checklist, but often, many brides and grooms tend to leave them for the last minute. Some people decide to do their speeches extemporaneously, but perhaps that defeats the purpose of making vows.
Vows are supposed to be lifelong promises that you have carefully crafted, analysed, and reflected on. They aren’t words to be taken lightly. They also aren’t made for entertaining the crowd or drawing a laugh. Vows should come from a place of thorough consideration, not blurted out in the spur of the moment.
If you are going to walk down the aisle soon, take some time apart from your would-be spouse to write your vows so that you don’t make the mistake of writing down whatever comes to mind on the morning of your wedding. Give yourself a moment to think about your love story, how it began, and the kind of life you want to build together in the future. If you need help crafting the words, here are some tips that may help:
- Visit with your pastor or a mentor
In every relationship, you will need someone to turn to for guidance and encouragement. Your officiant may be a religious leader or a layperson. You may have asked them to preside over your union because they are a source of wisdom and authority in your lives. They may be able to help you reflect on your future and your relationship with your spouse-to-be. Have a conversation with them. They may be able to offer insights and give you inspiration for your vows.
- Reflect on couples’ marriages you admire
You may have been to plenty of weddings before and witnessed countless sappy exchanges, but when it’s your turn to declare your love before your friends and family, you may find yourself at a loss for words. Think about the couples you genuinely admire and what words they used at their wedding. Weed out the platitudes and schmaltz and talk about how you will work hard to be the best partner you can be.
- Look through your photographs as a couple
Nothing helps inspire a person more than a trip down memory lane. Reflect on your favourite moments together, and consider the tough times as well. Your vows should come to mind when you think about how happy your future spouse makes you feel and how you want to reciprocate that feeling in them for the rest of your lives together.
- Write for the future, not the past
When you write your vows, make it about a future you will build together. Leave out the past problems. You shouldn’t bring them into your marriage anyway. Make promises from a place of happiness, not out of fear that either of you will disappoint one another or commit mistakes.
- Rehearse them in front of a mirror
Once you have a draft of your vows, try saying them in front of a mirror. Imagine your partner in front of you as you make these promises. Ask yourself if they reflect how you truly feel, or if you may be saying them just to check off a traditional tick box?
Getting into the right mindset to write your vows is essential. Don’t leave your vows to the last minute when everyone is buzzing about the wedding day fixing your hair or tucking back bridesmaid dresses. The vows are the crux of the wedding, consider them as carefully as you would your wedding videographer or catering menu. Once you get into the right frame of mind, you will find that the words will flow as freely as you feel your love for your partner.
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