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It’s that time! Your wedding day is almost here, and if you’ve made the decision to write your vows, now is a better time than any to get started. Whether you’re a writer or not, here are nine useful tips to guide you through the process of putting the words you feel in your heart down on paper.
Your wedding vows are promises to your partner. They’re words that should mean something to both you and your fiance. They can be big and small, serious and funny, or a mixture of all of the above. Bottom line: It’s an agreement you’re creating between you and your partner.
Before you begin writing your vows, it’s important to know what the officiant will and won’t cover during the ceremony. Try to have this conversation at least one month prior to your wedding. By doing this in advance, you can then determine whether you will need to include the “I do” portion in your vows, as well as the exchange of rings, or anything else that may be missing otherwise.
This quote by Mark Twain will never go out of style and is practically relevant for any writing task that may pop up in your life. As it pertains to your vows, keep this in mind: Regardless of what you think your vows should look or sound like, they belong to you. They’re your words. There are no rules. They’re your thoughts, your experiences, and your feelings. It’s OK to talk about whatever you want, as long as it’s true to you.
How do you currently show up for your partner? How do you plan to show up for your partner later in life? What does your partner need now? What might your partner need later? These are all questions to think about because there will be times down the road that aren’t as fun or romantic as planning a wedding or going on a honeymoon. Words can no doubt be beautiful, but the true test of their true beauty lies in the commitment to upholding the responsibilities associated with those words.
It’s a common misconception that you have to pepper your vows with exquisite language or descriptions. This is nonsense. If you’re a writer and you’re up for the challenge, then sure, why not? In the grand scheme of vow writing, however, it’s best to revert to language and a context that makes sense coming from you, and one that can be easily received by your soon-to-be spouse. In other words, stay clear of Shakespearean writing unless you and your fiancé are truly into medieval speak.
Some of the best writing out there exists because of this method. To give it a try, grab a pen and paper, or open a new document on one of your electronic devices. Then set a timer, say for five minutes, and simply begin writing. The key here is to not stop. Since the particular topic at hand is your marriage oath, use that as your guide. Write everything that comes to mind about your fiance and the promises you will uphold as a partner. If five minutes seems like an eternity starting out, try a smaller time frame first, like a couple of minutes. The goal is to let everything free flow, so it’s important to not get caught up in how words are spelled or if something is grammatically correct.
At first glance, this may sound awful, but it’s not. Researching what other people have written is nothing more than another way to stimulate ideas. Do a search online and see what you find. Of course, if you steal someone else’s words completely, that’s not good. Don’t do that.
It’s best to start working on your vows a month prior to the wedding because that’s generally when all of your plans start falling into place. It also gives you a chance to write something and come back to it later, as much as needed. In all realness, it’s rare for anyone to have the ability to write their vows in only one sitting. With that being said, give yourself permission to write something and revisit it later (with a fresh mind). Once you’re in a good spot and you’re ready to move forward, look for ways to give it some finesse. Run it through a program to see if there are any writing mistakes. Take a moment to see if you’ve used the same word a few times and look for other options.
When your vows are ready to go, let a trusted friend read what you’ve written, providing you’re comfortable with the idea. It’s one last measure you can take to examine what’s there and get a boost of confidence before sharing them with your soon-to-be spouse on the big day.
As a final step, remember to breathe and trust yourself. Writing your vows is a matter of knowing why you chose your partner and what your intentions are for the years to come. Undoubtedly, these nine tips will provide a framework for what you need and want to say.
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