Your wedding day is going to be one of the biggest celebrations you ever take part in, and chances are it’s going to be the biggest parties you ever throw, as well. And these days it seems like that’s exactly where the wedding planning emphasis is placed – on the party, and the reception – rather than the actual ceremony. In a certain light, this makes sense, since the reception is longer than the ceremony, and it’s when everyone really gets to mingle and share in the day of celebration. In reality, however, even if the ceremony is only five minutes long, it’s still going to be the most important part of the day – because it’s the moment when you officially become man and wife. It’s also the time where you get to share your love and commitment to each other with those who are closest to you in life, with the solemnity and spirituality that the moment deserves.
One of the most intimate parts of the wedding ceremony is the exchange of vows. Which is probably why the vows are one part of the wedding ceremony that so many brides and grooms nervously obsess over!
When it comes to writing your vows, you have a couple of different options. The first option is to go with the traditional wedding vows that couples have been sharing for hundreds of years. To be honest, this was initially the direction I wanted to go! I think there’s something innately romantic about speaking those same words that my ancestors vowed to each other, on their own wedding days. But when I asked Captain America what HE thought, he said we should write our own! Well, when a guy is willing to stand up in front of everyone you know and pledge his love to you in his own words…you certainly don’t turn him down! I think I agreed more out of curiosity to see what he’d come up with ;)
With that decision made, I pulled out my trusty wedding planning books, and got to work researching how to write our own vows. As intimidating as it seemed when we first talked about the idea, writing our vows turned out to be pretty easy. Okay. It was also really hard!
Here are a few tips from someone who’s been there!
1. Sit down and decide on a few key parameters: Are you going to be funny, or serious? Do you want them to be worded independently, or do you want to have a certain phrase, saying, or promise that you want to include in both? How long do you want them to be – just a sentence or two, a paragraph, or longer?
2. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from other real-life vows: Captain America and I sat down and read through a lot of the example, and real-life vows that were in my wedding planning books. This gave us a good idea of what length, and level of seriousness/humor we were both comfortable with; and in the end I think our vows went together quite well! The books I found to be the most helpful were: The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine and The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows and Traditions [Revised Edition]: Readings, Rituals, Music, Dances, and Toasts. Click either link to purchase your copy, today!
3. Research, research, research: If you’re getting married in a religious venue, are having a religious ceremony, or are getting married by someone with a particular religious affiliation, make sure that they don’t have any restrictions in place on what can and can’t be said during the ceremony. Certain venues etc actually require that you use the traditional vows.
4. When you think you’re ready to start actually writing, sit down with a few blank sheets of paper, and just start writing: Don’t think about the wedding day, or saying the words in front of anyone, or even saying them to your honey – just write what you love about them. When you love someone and have decided to share the rest of your life with them, it should be pretty easy to point out a few key reasons why you chose them over everyone else. Before you know it, words will start to flow, and eventually you’ll have several different ideas to start drawing from. You may not use all of what you wrote down, but you’ll have a few key phrases and sentences that are sure to be keepers.
5. Don’t be afraid to share them with each other ahead of time: Originally we were going to keep our vows secret from each other, until the moment we made our promises to each other during the ceremony. But about five minutes after we wrote them Captain America made me read his to make sure that it was okay…and you know what? I was kinda glad he did. For one thing, I’m a perfectionist who orchestrated literally every part of our ceremony so I was secretly happy to know, ahead of time, that our vows would work well together and with the rest of our ceremony. It also took some of the uncertainty and nervousness out of the day of, because it’s scary as heck standing up in front of everyone and professing your love like that – and it’s even scarier when you think your s/o is about to say something that’s going to make you bawl, unexpectedly, and ruin your makeup (cause trust me, you’re going to cry). And finally, I realized that when you go the traditional route, you already know what the other person is going to say – because they’re going to say the exact same thing as you are! So you can still be a little traditional in your untraditional – which is fun.
And with that out of the way…I believe I promised you all a sneak peek at our own vows! I hope they provide you with a little bit of inspiration as you start your own vow-writing journey!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: “I take you to be my wife, my friend, my love, to share my life with yours on our path of happiness. To share a mutual purpose and give our whole hearts to it, to support you in times of trouble and rejoice with you in the good things in life. To set my heart to see you only with respect and love and to treat you loyally through the trials of life over and over again. To teach on another and give you all the love, truth, and compassion that I can give, my whole life long.”
ANDREA: “I love you not only for who you are today, but also for who you will become tomorrow. And today I vow to cherish that love – to never let it get dusty from neglect or misuse. I vow to be there for you, like you have always been there for me, as a willing partner in life. I vow to be humble, honest, and trusting of you, and to always treat you with respect. I vow to love you on the bad days as well as the good, to lift you up, support you, care for you, and cheer you on as you continue to grow as a man, a husband, and someday, a father. On this day, I take my vow to walk hand in hand with you through all of life’s trials and celebrations, from now until forever.”
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If you’re married – did you choose to write your own vows, or go with the traditional ones? If you’re still in the planning stages – which way do you think you’ll go? Where did you get/are you getting your inspiration? Feel free to share your unique vows in the comments!!