Writing your own marriage vows is an increasingly common choice, especially for couples whose ceremonies are not tied to any specific religious sect. However, unless you are a professional or a naturally gifted writer, the idea of penning something meaningful and saying it in front of a crowd can be intimidating. Your wedding vows present a situation where it might be better to play it safe.
While it’s important that your personalized, handwritten wedding vows are from the heart, you should also feel comfortable saying them in public. To avoid any major faux pas, sometimes it is more helpful to know what not to do, instead of trying to learn what you should do. Below are mistakes to avoid when writing your own wedding vows.
It’s understandable to want your wedding vows to sound unique, as everyone’s love is different; however, avoiding any classic sort of statements can lead to a declaration that sounds overly contrived or awkward. In this case, it’s better to be forgettable than remembered in a bad way. Don't try too hard when it comes to writing your vows; just make sure it's from the heart.
Though trying to keep the spark alive is a perfectly reasonable goal for a marriage, remember there will be friends and family of all ages in the crowd. Anything that will make your guests – or worse, your sweetheart – uncomfortable should not be included. This goes for anything he or she may wish to keep private in past, present, or future.
While you and your beloved may choose to keep your wedding vows secret from one another before the ceremony, you’ll want to have some guidelines for you both to follow, especially regarding how much to write. It can be very troublesome if one person speaks for 10 minutes while the other only talks for one. Keep in mind that neither of you should make your vows too long – they should be no longer than you’d like a wedding toast to be.
Writing your wedding vows is not a task to leave until the last minute. Make a goal to have them completed at least a month before the wedding, that way you at least have a couple weeks of buffer time if you still put it off. Once they are written, practice reading your vows out loud. You don’t need to memorize them, but it helps to be comfortable with the words, so you don't make any unnecessary mistakes in front of loved ones.
Remember, your wedding should be special to you and your beloved. If you want to write your own vows, but you're more focused on reciting traditional vows or you're afraid of public speaking, consider having a private moment just the two of you to share personalized vows away from the eyes and ears of your wedding guests. Many couples choose to do this before the wedding at the "first look," write a love letter for their spouse-to-be, or share the sentiments after the ceremony before joining loved ones at the reception.