As our 10 year wedding anniversary approaches in just 2 short weeks, I find myself thinking back to the weeks just before our big day.
10 years ago, I found myself with extreme writer’s block. We wanted something that made our ceremony unique and what better way than to have our vows to each other be 100% us. But, with the immovable deadline fast approaching, I had no idea how to even get started.
Writing your own vows can be a great way to make your ceremony unique and personal. Beyond that, it is usually a very entertaining part of a ceremony that can still be beautiful and traditional. Speaking from the photographer’s perspective, it is also an easy way to get a truly authentic reaction from your significant other. Of course, be sure to speak with your officiant about it first. The ceremony is their specialty and you want to include them in your plans obviously.
So, what are some tips to writing your own vows?
1) Take time to write. Don’t wait until the night before. Guys… don’t try to bust out some vows during getting ready time. Sit yourself down and get some alone time. Think about what you would say and the vows you want to make to your new spouse.
2) Put some effort into it. These are the vows you are making to the love of your life. Let your personality shine. Your soon to be husband/wife will LOVE it and will definitely appreciate the extra effort you put in. Wouldn’t you expect as much from them?
3) Feel free to use the standard vows as a guide, but get creative. You know the one’s I referring to… “I, take you, to be my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” Ok, now put your personality into it. Still stuck? When I am stumped, the trick I learned from my daughter which I did not have available to me 10 years ago… I Google it! A quick search reveals this perfect post from The Knot. But remember, just like in school, no copying your neighbor’s work! Now with that said, it’s okay to go for inspiration, but these vows should be uniquely yours.
4) Try to memorize them, but feel free to use notes. You will love to look your significant other in the eyes as you exchange vows. And you will love the way the pictures look as you two gaze at each other and not down at a folded up piece of paper. Of course, we all know the pressure you might be under and memorization might not be your thing, so there is nothing wrong with having to rely on some cues… heck even the actors on tv have to do it sometimes. One trick if you still want to connect, but know there is no way you will remember them, is to have your officiant say them and then you can repeat them.
5) Rehearse. As with most things in life practice, practice, practice. Even actors don’t do cold reads when it counts. Tell your best man or maid of honor to step up and fill in for your other half so you can run through your vows. Make sure they sound right. Make sure you can get through them. Then edit where necessary and repeat.
Now that you have put all this work into your vows and you are ready for the big day don’t forget about all your family and friends. Several of our couples have tried to find ways to allow all their friends and family to see their unique vows, whether they are overseas and can’t travel to the US or even grandparents that just can’t make the trek to that gorgeous venue you picked out. Lots of technologies out there can help, but one such that we have seen that seems SUPER easy to use is Dropcam. My favorite feature of this particular option is the ability to live stream on all devices (phones, tablets, and computers). As long as your family members have internet (and who doesn’t these days) they can watch you and your significant other exchange your custom vows live.
Of course, what would a blog post be without some photos! So, here are a few ceremony shots we LOVE!