After 25 years of marriage my parents fail to remember the exact words that were exchanged during their vows. Smiling through the phone, my mother describes her wedding day to me, “there was a flute playing as I walked down the aisle and as we finished reciting our vows to one another someone from the bridal party yelled out, ‘you finally did it’.”
The thought of writing vows that you’re going to remember after 25 years of marriage that are meaningful, eloquent and embody just the right amount of lightheartedness is a little unnerving, let’s just get it out there. We’ve compiled a short list of no fuss, no frill advice that will help guide you through the vow writing process, from introduction to conclusion.
Keep it simple
When it comes to writing, starting is always the most difficult part. So set yourself up in a quiet place with no distractions (yes, that means turning off your phone), grab your laptop or a notepad and a good glass of wine or cup of tea. Once you’ve brainstormed a few ideas, you’ll feel more confident in what to include and what to leave out. A few things you should consider at the beginning:
- What you love most about your fiancé.
There’s sure to be plenty of things you like about them, after all, you’re choosing to spend your life together! For example, do you adore the way he brings you flowers at work, or the way she leaves you little love notes to find in your car? Writing about your partner’s quirks and their romantic gestures is a great way to acknowledge the little things that make your relationship special.
- The things you’ve been through together.
Speaking about the experiences and memories you share is a fantastic way to reflect on how far your relationship has come. Write down any funny anecdotes or significant moments that come to mind. You could talk about the time you both got lost on a camping trip or what you were thinking when you first met.
- The promises you want to make.
This could mean vowing to always do your half of the housework, to watching their favourite show with them even though you hate it, or to always let them have the last scoop of Ben & Jerry’s.
Decide on the tone
The combination of thoughts, memories and promises that you choose to speak about will largely impact the tone of your vows, so it’s important to decide whether you want the moment to be a tear jerker or get everyone laughing.
Whether or not you’re keeping your vows a surprise for your fiancé, it’s always a good idea to ensure you’re on the same page. You don’t want your vows to be short and funny if your partner’s are long and emotional, so if you’re not writing them together, have a trusted friend or family member read both to make sure they’re suitable.
Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas
Not everyone is a wizard with words, so if you’re struggling with writer’s block or can’t think of the right phrase to express how you feel, Google will be your best friend. There’s a myriad of love letters, poems, song lyrics and quotes from novels or movies that you could choose to add to your vows.
Some of our favourites include:
Nathaniel Hawthorne to Sophia Peabody – “How did I love before I knew you — before I possessed your affection! I reckon upon your love as something that is to endure when everything that can perish has perished — though my trust is sometimes mingled with fear, because I feel myself unworthy of your love. But if I am worthy of it you will always love me; and if there be anything good and pure in me, it will be proved by my always loving you.”
Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash – “We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other’s minds. We know what the other one wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 earthly reason for my existence.”
‘The Notebook’ – “The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give to you forever.”
Tyler Knott Gregson – “I promise you I will try harder to be better. I have battled with things inside me for longer than you know. I do not know what they are or why they are there, I only know that they feel manageable, defeatable, when I am around you.”
If all else fails, look to Lorna Morello in Orange is the New Black for a bit of pre vow writing inspiration.