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7 Tips for Writing Your Vows
You are in the middle of preparing for your secular ceremony and are in a cold sweat at the thought of writing your vows . Do not panic ! Here are some tips to help you with this all-important task.
TIP #1: NO PLANNING!
If you usually make little lists with fixed deadlines by which you must have completed each task, when it comes to writing your wishes, forget the list! Writing wishes has nothing to do with choosing tablecloths or chair covers! There is nothing more personal, so give writing your vows the time it deserves and don't set a deadline for completion (apart from your wedding date of course!). I'm not telling you to scribble them on a piece of paper towel 10 minutes before the start of the ceremony either! This requires a lot of preparation but rather than writing them in a hurry between an ironing chore and taking out the trash, take advantage of a day when you are relaxed, free from any chores and professional commitments for you think about it and write your wishes with complete peace of mind. Writing your vows should be a fun time rather than a chore that you dread.
TIP #2: MEMORIES, MEMORIES
Immerse yourself in your memories and ask yourself the following questions:
How did your meeting go? Was it the famous love at first sight?
How did you feel when your eyes fell on him (or her) for the first time?
How would you describe your relationship today? How has it evolved?
What are your most memorable moments, good or bad?
How did his (or your) marriage proposal go?
What does your other half mean to you? What are your favorite character traits? What would your life be without his presence by your side?
What is his last little attention? His last gift?
Reread his letters, his little notes… his text messages and his emails.
TIP #3: A FEW WORDS TO START
Don't insist on immediately writing complete, perfectly constructed sentences. Above all, think about what you feel, what your relationship represents to you, then assign an adjective, a verb, an expression, a quote to all these emotions. Then build your sentences around these key words . As a secular ceremony officiant since 2009, I have the pleasure of writing the content of dozens of ceremonies each year and this is exactly how I proceed. I get to know the couples, I describe their personality, their love, their relationship, their projects using key words then build my text around these words.
TIP #4: PERSONALIZE YOUR WISHES
As I said a little above, there is nothing more personal than your wishes. Many couples ask me to help them write their vows, which I do with great pleasure, but I always tell them that it is important that the key words come from them. My role is then to put them into shape. Although the internet is a very useful source of inspiration, don't just copy one of the examples you find there. You will certainly be satisfied with the result at the time but you may be disappointed once you have read them to your loved one because you will realize that they do not didn't really express your feelings to you .
If a song has a special meaning for you, don't hesitate to take a sentence or two from it and then describe what those words represent. It could also be a quote or phrase that you often say to yourself and of which only you understand the meaning. Finally, write your wishes in your own words. If your loved one knows you well, he or she will recognize your style and know that what you tell them really comes from your heart.
TIP #5: A LITTLE HUMOR BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Most couples are not used to writing down how they feel about each other and are even less comfortable sharing them out loud, not only with the loved one but also with the guests. Indeed, if we all have impulses of romance and leave a few sweet notes from time to time, most of our written exchanges are often limited to: “I forgot to feed the cat” or “There’s still some chicken in the fridge.”
For this reason, some people think that expressing their feelings in a humorous tone will make them feel more comfortable. Keep in mind that the exchange of vows must be a moment of emotion, of sharing with your loved one, the opportunity to express to them what you feel deep in your heart. If small touches of humor referring to a character trait of your darling or a specific moment in your life are welcome, reserve the sketches for the evening speeches.
TIP #6: REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT
Expressing your wishes with your eyes glued to your paper is not romantic, whereas declaring your love with your gaze looking into that of your other half will be a moment filled with emotions that you will not soon forget. This is why it is essential that you know your text perfectly for the big day. Try to learn it by heart but don't hesitate to keep your document with you, because, even if you will have the impression of knowing it by heart, you will certainly be overwhelmed by stress and emotions and will lose surely part of your means. It's a bit like when we watch a game show and manage to answer all the questions while sitting on our couch, whereas if we were in the candidate's place on the television set, the stress would make us hesitate on the simplest questions!
TIP #7: QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY
Generally, a secular ceremony lasts between 35 and 45 minutes depending on the number of key steps that the bride and groom wish to include. I have often noticed that when a ceremony lasts more than an hour, it becomes difficult to keep everyone's attention, including that of the bride and groom, especially if the civil ceremony took place just before the secular ceremony. If the ceremony drags on, the audience may become distracted and discreetly check their cell phones, while the children will start gesticulating in their chairs.
The same goes for your vows: I suggest that your vows last no more than a minute or two . Express what matters most to you with strong words. Work on your intonation to give depth to your text by combining the words whispered to the love of your life and those spoken loudly and clearly to involve your audience. Be concise, do not give too many details or too many examples. If you feel frustrated and want to say more to your sweetheart, write them a letter that you can give to them later or place in a pretty box during a symbolic ritual which can take place during the ceremony.
If you're worried that your vows are way too long...or too short compared to those of your other half, just ask them.
Oh ! One last tip: Enjoy reading your vows! Enjoy making your statement, smile, look at your other half, hold their hand. This is your opportunity to celebrate and express the feelings that bind you so take full advantage of this moment.
Here are my officiant tips to help you write your vows! I hope they will be useful to you and do not hesitate to contact us if you have a secular wedding ceremony project.
See you soon !