“I choose to cherish you.”
“I promise to make you your favorite milk shake and make you chicken soup when you get sick.
“I promise to laugh with you but not roll my eyes at you.”
“I take you as my friend, my partner, my one true love.”
“You are the best gift ever given to me.”
These are just some of the words spoken when a couple exchanges wedding vows. The moment the bride and groom say their vows is a magical moment. It is a moment filled with joy, hope and expectancy. It is also an important moment because as vows, these are not repeated again and again. Rather, these are cherished and remembered, particularly during times when these vows are tested. Over the years, your mind’s eye will go back to your wedding venue where you stood and faced each other as you shared these promises.
As important this is, you may decide to write your personal vows, rather than use the traditional (though beautiful) wedding vows. You may feel that you are stuck with getting the words just right. Here are some quick and easy tips to help you:
– Decide if this is what you both want. Your future spouse may be reluctant to get this “personal”, especially with a crowd watching. Be sure that you are both comfortable with saying your own vows. You should also decide whether you want an element of surprise, whether you will write it together or if you will have the same vow.
– Your vows should reflect who you are. Your vows should sound like you – they should be a reflection of your personality. Are you serious and formal, or do you have a dry wit? Let that show.
– Keep it short. Avoid the temptation of using 20 words when 10 is enough. Ideally, your wedding vows should be 1 to 3 minutes long.
– Focus on the details, not on generalizations. “I will love you forever and ever.” may be too general. Instead of dwelling with generalities, focus on the key elements of your relationship. How will you also continue to build that relationship in specific ways?
– Some questions to guide you. To help you synthesize what you love about your partner, fill in the following blanks:
– The day we met, I thought that you ________________________…
– You are my ____________…
– I knew you were the one when __________________…
– Thanks to you, I knew ____________________… or, you have shown me how to ______________…
– Together, we will ____________________…
– For me, being married to you is __________________…
– Avoid the clichés. “You complete me.” or “You decorated my life.” may be too clichéd. You can still use a famous line from a poem, movie or song but try to personalize it so that it doesn’t sound too much of a line.
– Borrow ideas. Although you should avoid clichés, it doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow some ideas from experienced wordsmiths and romantics. Take a look at other people’s vows (the internet is liberally peppered with them). Pick the ideas that appeal to you but avoid copying word for word – make the words your own.
– Don’t overdo the “personal touch”. Your vows are very personal but try to avoid being overly suggestive or telling details that your partner may not be comfortable revealing to others.
– Practice, practice, practice. Call the help of a trusted sounding board – a loved one or a friend who will honestly give their opinion of the vow. Go through the vow with him/her listening and explore areas you can still improve on. As much as possible, memorize your vow.
– Have a back-up. Even if you have memorized your vow, make sure that you have a written copy nearby (assign your maid of honor or best man to hold on to some cue cards) in case you blank out at a crucial moment.
– Get your officiant’s opinion. He or she may have valuable advice. There may also be some restrictions that the officiant knows of.
Now, as you have given careful thought with your vows, you should also take a good look at other elements of your wedding ceremony. Remember, your vows should ideally be said in a beautiful backdrop so your choice of wedding location is important. Make the moment even more magical with a fabulous wedding venue.
If you are thinking of holding your wedding in Salt Lake City, Utah, be sure to take a close look at Western Gardens’ The Ivy House. It is one of Salt Lake City’s premiere wedding locations. We understand the importance of beautiful moments and we have carefully thought about our facilities to make sure that as your exchange your vows, it will be as magical as you dreamed it would be.