We always reccommend that couples write their own vows. It's the best way to bring you and your fiance's personalities into your wedding ceremony, and a sure-fire way to engage the audience, whether they are left crying or laughing.
Expressing your love on paper may seem daunting, but it's easier than you'd think. Let us count the ways...
"The first step is to excavate your own heart," advises the Rev. Judith Johnson, author of "The Wedding Ceremony Planner". She recommends sitting quietly with a blank sheet of paper and asking yourself questions such as, "Why have I chosen this person to be my partner? What do I love most about him or her?" Take time to really think about the answers, and translate them into a vow.
Once you have gathered your own thoughts, scour books, poems, and examples of other wedding vows to find the right words that succinctly express what you want to say. Feel free to mix old with new and classic with modern, and incorporate elements of traditional vows into your own.
"Focus on what marriage means to you. What are you saying yes to, and what can you promise your partner?" says the Rev. Jeddah Vailakis, an interfaith minister in New York. Reflect on the good times, but consider all of the stumbling blocks in your relationship too. For example, if you're working too much and not making time for each other, you may want to think about what you can pledge to avoid falling into that trap again.
Johnson recommends writing your vows -- on index cards or a scroll -- so you don't have to worry about memorizing them. Make sure to give a copy to your officiant as a backup, and rehearse them with flash cards prior to the wedding day. That way you'll know when to breathe, and you'll be prepared for the parts that may make you tear up.
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