Don't rely on spontaneity—practice, practice, practice!

By Nancy Mattia
April 03, 2020
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As a bride and groom, you'll have many wedding-day moments when the focus is directly aimed at you, like when you're exchanging vows. Talk about intimidating! As everyone you know and love watches and listens, you're pledging your life to the person standing next to you. That's powerful stuff, and you want to get it right. Once you two have decided on your vows, custom or classic, you'll want to eventually rehearse them. Here are a few pointers.

Give yourself time.

Rehearsing your vows months in advance is way too early. Waiting until the night before is way too late. The best time is a week or two before the wedding before things get really busy.

Get comfortable.

Just as you would with a speech you were giving at a business meeting, you'll want to repeat your vows until the words sound familiar. By the time the wedding is here, you'll be so comfortable with the words, you'll say them with no hesitation—as if you were ad-libbing!

Read them aloud.

It helps to hear your own voice, so practice saying vows out loud using a clear, natural tone. Enunciate each word in a genuine way. Ask a third party (your roommate, a sibling) to critique the loudness of your voice—you may need to adjust the volume up or down. Test how your voice carries when you're at the rehearsal.

Don't adopt a strange voice.

Avoid using a slow, stiff monotone voice that doesn't sound like you. Talk naturally and put some energy into it—after all, these are your wedding vows!

Slow down.

Some brides and grooms talk too fast (to get the vows over with?). While rehearsing, get in the habit of taking a few good deep breaths before you speak, which will relax your whole body. Plan on doing the same when the big moment arrives for real. By then, you'll know exactly how you should sound and will be comfortable doing it.

Don't overdo it.

While practicing until you get it right makes sense, don't go overboard. Three or four practice sessions should be enough for you to nail it.

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