Because I get to hear the most exquisite personal vows, ALL of the time and get to see couples open up and express their love for one another in such a beautiful way, it is impossible to not only yearn for it but to expect that ALL couples want to do it.
I know, however that is not always the case.
From my experience, the reasons can vary as to why couples don’t want to write and say their own personal vows. Some are happy with any of the standard vows that may be offered to them in the course of planning of their ceremony. And why not? If the words say everything that you want them to say, then why add anything else?
Then you have others who would rather keep their private thoughts private and don’t want to share them with their guests, although I rarely hear couples mention this.
In my experience, the main reason why couples are reluctant to say personal vows, isn’t because they don’t want to, but because they are too scared to. Because, they are suffering from a lack of confidence or their nerves are seriously getting the better of them.
And that really pains me to know that the only reason why a couple would decide not to say personal vows is because they think they can’t.
Yes you can
EVERYONE from the most confident to the least confident has doubts about their ability to perform during at least one element of their wedding. Whether it’s walking down the aisle, making a speech, making small talk with people or the first dance! And more so with wedding vows, there is a lot of pressure (mainly from the couples themselves) and nervousness about speaking publicly, especially when the content of what you’re going to say is so emotive.
But the good news is that couples who often think they can’t, can, and they do so in the loveliest of way. All it takes is a few tips and tricks to help you along the way, so that no one ever feels they have to back out of doing something so awesome during their ceremony.
Write short vows
Some of the loveliest vows that I have heard have also been some of the shortest. You don’t need to pen an essay or short novel. If you can express everything that you need to say in two economic lines, then good for you. There’s actually a skill to that! Check these vows out. They say all that needs to be said in 54 words, four sentences and approximately 25 -30 seconds worth of speaking. If you can write vows in a similar way this could mean that your vows can be over as quickly as you open your mouth, but still pack a mean punch.
David, you are my world. You are my best friend, my rock, and my best beer buddy. I promise to love you, to respect you and to care for you for the rest of our lives together. I feel so blessed and honoured to have you in my life. Thank you for being you.
If you like the idea of keeping your vows short but think that shortened vows don’t give you the chance to say everything that you want to say, you could write your short and sweet vows and then present your love bunny with a letter containing in effect your full vows and promises, which they can read by themselves at a later date, expressing everything that you want to say. What a lovely little gift for your love bunny!
Before you set out to write your vows take a read of these useful posts too, such as things you need to think of before writing your vows, and this great vow writing cheat for if you get a little stuck.
Don’t try to memorise your vows
Sometimes, people think that the only way to make vows sound natural is to memorise them and to say them to your love bunny as though you are speaking freely and from off the top of your head. However, the bare truth is that only a teeny weeny handful of people can a) remember their vows and b) recite them so that they sound natural. Reciting vows for most people puts them in danger of sounding wooden, stilted and of actually forgetting what to say.
If you are already lacking in confidence or are nervous, then memorising your vows will also give you one added pressure that you can do without.
Reading your vows from a card or piece of paper provides great comfort and stability. You have your vows written in front of you, you can read at a nice pace and if you have practised saying your vows beforehand then you’ll more likely be able to speak them freely using your written vows as a prompt, rather than reading word for word or line for line.
Weddings give your brains enough to have to remember, process and deal with, so don’t add to it. Super heroes we are not.
Speak to your love bunny
Now, I know this may sound silly because you’re probably thinking, who else would you be speaking to, but sometimes some people think that because they have got other people present that they have to speak to them too. Oh no you don’t. You really don’t.
Of course, it is wonderful if your guests can hear what you have to say, but it is not essential. The only person who needs to hear what you have to say, is your love bunny. Speaking directly to him or her is going to reduce the nerves massively and will give you the confidence you’ll need to say what you’ve written.
This also means that you do not need to use a microphone for your vows, I repeat, you do not need to use a microphone. A microphone can make nervous people, even more nervous. The thought of your voice being projected near and far, is not for everyone. So again, relieving yourself of this pressure is one of the best things that you can do to help you confidently say your vows. As a wedding celebrant, I often use a mic for my ceremonies, but where couples prefer not to use it for their vows, then I make sure not to hand it to them during the vow exchange.
If you decide not to use a microphone and to not project your voice for others to hear, there are a few things that you can do so that your guests know what you said to each other.
For example, laid out in an area where your guests will move to after the ceremony, you could have framed copies of your vows for people to read what you said. I have seen a small table with a guest registry book and vows and readings and loved quotes laid out for people to see. That is a nice touch and means people feel involved and that they didn’t miss out on anything important.
I’ve also seen some couples add their vows to their order of service programme as well, but doing this means that if you and your love bunny have written your vows separately and you’ll be hearing them for the first time on the day, your guests will see your vows in the order of service programme, before you do. Some people don’t mind this at all, but others might. So you’d have to work out whether this option would work for you or not. If you’ve worked on your vows together and don’t mind them being shared in this way then it can be a great option and will allow you to relax knowing that your guests will not miss what you’re going to say to each other.
And lastly, don’t forget to face your loved bunny. This will help so much, as will holding their hand. There is nothing like the power in those personal, tangible connections to make you relax and feel calm and ready to face the world.
So there you have it, gorgeous newlyweds-to-be. Weddings are a big deal and vows are an even bigger deal, but with a calm and practical approach ie everything that I’ve written above, you can write and say the most kick-ass vows ever on your wedding day.
Mad love to;
Eloy Muñoz photography for the images