These days there are numerous sets of traditional wedding vows to choose from. Just use the internet and you'll find more than you could read. But for many couples, these vows don't adequately expess the uniqueness of their relationship, so they decide to write their own.
This is the perfect way to a create personal and intimate wedding ceremony that reflects the way that you and your partner feel about each other. After all, your relationship is totally unique and nobody else will experience the love that you feel for each other in exactly the same way.
But before you begin to write, the first step is to identify your true feelings towards your partner. Take time to think in depth about how you feel. Sit down together and talk about your marriage, your hopes and expectations for the future.
When did you first meet?
Where did you first meet?
How did your life change after you met?
When did you realize that you were in love? How did you feel?
What do you love about your partner?
What inspires you about him/her?
What have you learnt from each other?
What has been the happiest/funniest/most important moment of your relationship?
How would you describe your love?
What makes your relationship strong?
What dreams and hopes for the future do you share?
What are your joint life goals?
Once you've decided on the aspects of your relationship that you find most important, it's time to work out the best way to express them.
A good way to get started is for you and your partner to take a separate piece of paper, and at the top write "I love [partner's name] because..." Just start writing and don't stop until you've filled the page. At this stage, don't worry about spelling, grammar or even how good each point is. Just keep writing and let the ideas flow, you can tidy them up later.
Once you've done that, each of you should write down a list of qualities that you bring to the relationship. What promises can you make?
For example; do you promise to be physically and mentally faithful?
Do you promise to love and support each other for the rest of your days?
Do you promise to share all your possessions?
Keep thinking and keep writing until you've got a list of promises that you would be prepared to make. Again, don't worry about the style of the form of each promise, you can tidy that up later. You're looking for general ideas at present. If you get stuck, write from the heart and see what emerges from the end of your pen.
Work Out The Best Way To Phrase Your Vows
Think about the words that you want to use. How will you refer to your partner? Partner? Spouse? Husband? Wife? Better half? Soulmate? How do the words that you choose fit in with the feelings and emotions that you want to convey?
Are you each going to write your own vows, or would you rather write them together and both repeat the same words? If you intend to write your own unique vows, they will sound better if you agree to use the same style of language and make sure that they flow together nicely.
It's understandable that you want to surprise your partner with your vows at the wedding, but they might sound incompatible if you recite a Shakespeare inspired sonnet and your partner's vows sounds like the latest pop song!
If you have problems knowing what to write, take a look at some of the examples available on the internet. You can find any style you want, including traditional, religious, non-traditional, second marriage, vows for older couples, renewal vows, classic vows from Keats, Shakespeare etc. In fact, some couples decide to combine their own vows with sections from traditional texts.
If Possible Write More Than You Need
This will give you scope to trim and sculpt your words until they're perfect. Ideally, each partner will have three or four compliments to make and the same number of promises. This will prevent the reading from taking too long, and allow each vow to remain poignant. If you have too many vows that you want to include, it's always possible to add them to the main part of the ceremony.
Read Your Vows Out Loud
Besides being a good way to iron out any awkward wording, it will help you decide whether you're happy with your vows.
How do you feel when you read them?
Are you prepared to make and keep these promises?
Is there anything that you would be embarrassed to say infront of your family and friends?
Is there anything that you could do to make the words flow more smoothly?
Keep making subtle changes until your 100% happy with your vows. By the time you've finished with them, you should feel that they're one of the best gifts you could ever make to your partner?
It's always a good idea to discuss your wedding vows with the person who will be conducting your marriage to make sure they have no problems with the vows that you have written.
After your wedding, it's a beautiful idea to have your vows printed and framed, perhaps with one of your wedding photos. This would make a special gift for your partner and a wonderful keepsake to remind you of your wedding and the promises that you made. It's also something that you'll be able to draw inspiration from when times are bad and cherish when times are good.
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