Although personalized wedding vows aren’t really a thing here in Ghana, they are catching on! We’ve been to a couple of weddings where intimate personal vows were exchanged and you could just FEEL the love in the room! Magical! If you feel you would like to give writing vows a try, but not sure where to start, then this post is for you!
1. Decide together if you are going to write your own vows.
Together. Do this only if you both feel comfortable. Your wedding day is an exciting day. And that excitement can sometimes bring anxiety. You want to be able to enjoy your experience as much as possible. Ideally, you want to keep the final product a secret and surprise for your wedding day. It can help you feel more comfortable getting started however, if you and your partner agree beforehand on a certain style, format or tone for your vows. If he/she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing in their own words or speaking publicly, please don’t force them to. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Work with your officiant in that case to create something lovely for you to repeat.
2. Start early.
Begin thinking about and jotting down your vows early so you’ll have plenty of time to find inspiration, to procrastinate and to enjoy thinking up all the reasons you are saying, “I, Do!”
3. Start with a good brainstorming.
Just write. Write down words that describe your partner. Write stories about the two of you. Think: THE BEST OF US! Jot down any challenges you’ve overcome. Consider what you’ve learned from your partner. Acknowledge what you expect to offer your partner in the future. Surround yourself with memories. Whether it’s old photographs, your first love note or special keepsakes, these items will remind you of all the moments the two of you have shared with one another. One moment may remind you of another which, may lead to that one time and the next thing you know it, you’ll have too many ideas. Remember to say “I love you” in the special way that you two do!
4. If you get stuck, answer a few questions about your relationship.
Why did you decide to get married? What did you think when you first saw him/her? When did you realize you were in love? What do you have now that you didn’t have before you met? How has she/he changed your view of the world? What do you miss when you’re apart from each other? What hard times have you gone through together?What makes your relationship tick?
5. Incorporate Humor, But Know Your Audience
Your wedding day is a happy one. Though it’s certainly not for everybody—and you shouldn’t feel the need to force humor if it doesn’t suit your style—don’t be afraid to look for laughs. We say your best bet is to start things off with a joke and build up to sincerity. Remember that your vows are not intended to entertain the audience. Yes, you’re center stage, but all your friends and family should not be your primary focus. What you’re really writing is a message to your partner, yes, one that’s shared publicly, but its still for your partner. It’s OK to include inside jokes or meaningful references that will only mean something to the two of you. Though your guests may not get it, they’ll be happy to see how much the cute couple cares for each other.
6. Hire a Ghostwriter or a Trusted Editor
Seriously. If you have a message in mind but can’t arrange the words how you like, there’s no shame in some professional help! Ghostwriters, sometimes referred to in the wedding industry as “vow whisperers”, can help you overcome writer’s block, help you find more details to add to your vows, and stay true to your voice and tone so that everyone knows the vows are coming from your heart.
Alternatively, you can find an editor—a close friend or family member—to read through both of your vows. Not necessarily for grammatical errors or word usage, though that’s definitely helpful, but also to compare the two speeches and make sure they match in tone. If one person tells jokes up until the last line, and the other is full of emotion, the exchange on the altar will be awkward. The editor can also review length and make sure that neither set is too short or long. About 2-3 minutes should do it.
Practice out loud and in front of the mirror…maybe even in front of your bestie. Speak slowly and naturally. Use your imagination to put yourself in that moment and say it like you mean it!
There is no way you can mess this up! You’re there with the one person you love more than anything because he/she loves you back.
It’s going to be the most special day of your life!