Aaron is an ordained Christian minister from Atlanta, Georgia with ten years of wedding planning experience.
Congratulations on your engagement! If you are looking for a guide to help you compose your wedding vows, then you're in the right place. I've had the great honor of officiating a number of breathtaking weddings over the last ten or so years for both family members and friends. In doing so, I've learned just how special weddings are—not just for the bride and groom but for all of the wedding guests as well.
The most important moment in your wedding ceremony is the exchange of vows with your soon-to-be spouse. Vows are verbal expressions of a couple's love shared in the presence of witnesses. The importance of this moment causes a lot of folks to stress about what to write. The best thing you can do to avoid stress in this area is to start thinking and reflecting on your vows as soon as you set a date for your wedding. With some planning, you will be confident and ready by the time your wedding day comes around.
Step 1: Find a Template
The best template for your wedding vows will provide examples and a format that you can use as a foundation. Templates relieve the stress of filling a blank page and will help to guide you towards your final draft. Template content can vary from traditional vows to more contemporary versions, so check out a few before deciding which you will choose.
I, James, take you, Deborah, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer, as long as we both shall live.
Step 2: Personalize
Avoid using only using the standard template from step one. The promises you will make to your love are personal. This is your wedding and your expression of how you feel about the person you are marrying. The most important part of writing your words is that they are from the heart.
Personalizing your words is a process that takes time. Contemplate how the words make you feel and how your partner will hear them. You may find it helpful to ask someone like your officiating minister or a friend to look at your words with you. Give yourself at least several months so that you are comfortable with what you will say.
- Here are some questions you can ask one another to help write your vows:
- What emotions come to mind when you think about marrying me?
- What do you think might be a challenge in our marriage?
- What's your favorite memory in our relationship?
- How do you think we will be helpful to one another in marriage?
Hopefully, these questions will help you to start thinking about what to include. It will help to know why you are saying what you choose to say in your ceremony.
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Step 3: Include Your Memories
The words you use to express your love don't need to be boring. This exchange is the only time during your marriage when you will tell your spouse to be how you feel in the presence of your closest loved ones. Your vows will be with you for the rest of your marriage. It's good to be specific about your promises to your significant other. The more specific your words are, the more your spouse will feel they are just for them.
The basics of your vows will always remain the same. Standard promises include loving your spouse through sickness and health and remaining faithful for life. You should also include words and phrases that let your love know you are speaking to them. Don’t worry about remembering your words. This brings us to our next step.
Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice
To create an experience together, and reduce the stress of the moment, write your words together. Practice them until you know them by heart. Don’t worry. You won’t be married because you recite your words together. It takes an officiant and a witness to be married.
If possible, practice ahead of time at your wedding venue. That way you’ll be a step way ahead in preparing for your special day. The beauty is you can practice in the mirror and with your love when you both have time. This is by far one of the most beautiful parts of the wedding. A little preparation will go a long way.
Step 5: Display Your Vows
Display your words in your home where you can see them every day. They don't have to be the size of a poster but they should be large enough to read when passing by them. Placing them as a visible reminder will help you to remember your wedding day. Most importantly, your visible words will help you to remember your love for one another. This could be done when you get married or as an anniversary moment.
Displaying your vows in a special place will also be a gift that you will share with your friends and family. These words are special enough to be visible in your home for you and your family. You will be surprised how much this day also means to your wedding guests. Ask your guests and leave their responses in the comments.
Bonus: An Example
This sample starts with a traditional vow template then goes on to include personalized words. A vow like this would work well for a Christian wedding.
Deborah, you are my source of joy in this world. Since the day we met, I have privately prayed that this moment would happen. You are a blessing that I didn’t know could be possible in my life. You have already been a part of my most precious memories. For these reasons and many more, I James, take you, Deborah, to be my wife, to cherish as we grow in love, through life’s joys and pains, and to share in God’s abundant grace, for our whole lives, according to the mercy in Christ Jesus.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Aaron Smith