Groom Reading His Wedding VowsWeddings are becoming more customized, especially with younger adults redefining or scrapping many traditions. Couples writing personalized vows isn’t anything new, but many do so to infuse their ceremonies with a more unique meaning. Whether you’re on the fence or committed to penning original words for your ceremony, it’s a good idea to heed some sage wisdom before you start.

Make Your Decision Early

Though the exchange of vows is only one part of the wedding ceremony, it’s still a crucial element. Writing unique vows may not be ideal for every couple, so it’s a key decision that should be made early during the planning stages. Wedding Wire’s Lauren Rodrigue offers some pointers that can help you decide whether composing your own wording is right for you. If you love to write, are comfortable reciting your own words in public, aren’t much into tradition, and have the time, crafting your vows is probably a good idea.

Rodrigue also suggests that both partners should be on the same page about their vows. While it’s not an absolute requirement that both sets are original compositions, better continuity can be achieved with a unified approach. Keep in mind that you can always work together to iron out key details during the process, especially if one of you is stronger at writing than the other. However, each set of words should truthfully reflect its composer’s tone, style, and sentiments.

Work With Your Officiant

You should know your desired approach well in advance and discuss this with your officiant as soon as possible. The Spruce’s Nina Callaway points out that some religions insist on using their traditional wording, while others allow a bit more leeway but require you to use certain phrases. You won’t have to worry about this with a secular ceremony, but your officiant can still offer valuable input. This person can offer guidance and tips for the writing process. Not only that, your officiant can incorporate your vows as you work together on the ceremony script.

Collaborate, Compose, and Cultivate

Once you’ve decided to write your vows, the real work begins. Brides contributor Allyson Dickman provides suggestions to help you during the composition stage. Your first step is a discussion with your partner in which you agree on the length, tone, and general contents of your vows. You could elect to write each segment individually or work together in collaborative writing sessions.

Once you both know how to proceed, try some quiet freewriting to get started. Nothing you pen at this stage has to be grammatically correct, but make sure you at least compose a list of your thoughts. Some key things to think about include what you love about your mate, the promises you wish to make, and your hopes for your future together. Next, Dickman recommends refining these thoughts and writing at least three drafts of your vows. This revision and rewriting step allows you to review what you’ve said, add or subtract details, ensure clarity of expression, and remove any spelling, grammar, and typographical errors. Finally, finish the last draft of your vows at least three weeks before the ceremony.

Other Alternatives To Consider

Some couples find that they don’t have time to compose any wording but prefer nontraditional language for their vows. Fortunately, other options are available. A Practical Wedding’s Maddie Eisenhart recommends borrowing from other source material, including prewritten vows, literary works, or even song lyrics. Refinery29’s Amelia Edelman explains that she found and edited generic wedding vows, with both she and her husband adding short quotes at the end.

While every part of a wedding ceremony has some sort of significance, the exchange of vows is an important central element. Preparation, collaboration, and organization are all vital in crafting language for your vows that reflects your personalities, values, and desires.  

Category: Wedding Materials

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