Writing personal wedding vows are one of the easiest ways to really make your wedding your own. Whilst in the past couples did not tend to have much of a say about what was said during their wedding ceremony, today, it is increasingly easier. Working as a wedding cinematographer, one thing I have become somewhat of an expert on is wedding vows. Personalised vows, can really add an extra element to your wedding day and for us it gives us great audio to use in the narration of your wedding film. It also has an added effect of making your wedding more touching, dramatic, and memorable.
Here are some of my tips for those thinking about writing their own vows.
Discuss with your Celebrant
Let your celebrant know in advance that you are planning to write your own vows. They will be able to let you know of any legalities, and guidelines and in creating your own wedding vows. They will also be able to give pointers and examples to help you write them up and deliver them on the day.
What will you say?
Whatever you decide to say remember to go with your strengths. If you are a naturally funny person than feel free to make it amusing. However remember it can be quite nerve-wracking standing at the altar in front of all your friends and family. A heartfelt message usually works best, think about your future plans and what you hope for in your life together. Also consider listing some of the qualities that you admire in your partner. As a rule, your vows should not take too long to read. Remember, you will eventually have to recite this, and a long essay can be not only hard to remember but may start to disengage your guests.
Keep it a surprise
In our experience, the best personal wedding vows are kept a surprise from your partner. Let the first time they hear those special words be the same day you become husband and wife. It adds real emotion to your statements and usually brings on the tears.
Check with your celebrant
Once you have your draft, it is best to run it past your celebrant. If they know what you are going to say it can help them tie their speech in to your vows. Your celebrant will also be able to give you some feedback and advise you if it is too short or long. They are professionals and their advise comes from years of experience, so if they give you some pointers try to take it on board.
Practice Practice Practice
I can’t say it enough, PRACTICE!! A good speech comes down to your ability to deliver it. If you are able to remember your vows as opposed to repeating after your celebrant that is great but if you feel too nervous your celebrant can prompt you quietly or hold the vows in front of you in case you need them. However if you have practiced your vows many, many times it will be much easier to read or repeat without making any mistakes making a more memorable experience for you partner.
The Big Day
The best advise I can give is trying to stay calm, when you are tense you end up rushing through your sentences to finish quickly. If you make a mistake, laugh it off, and keep going, you won’t be the first or last to do so. Look at your partner whilst you are saying your vows, you wrote them for each other, this is the one time in your life you will tell them how you truly feel, make sure you can see their reaction. If you choke up, that is ok, go with your emotions. It is a natural thing that happens and believe it or not, grooms seem to tear up more than brides in my experience.
Good luck with your wedding, and may the special words you exchange never lose their meaning!