Your wedding vows are the heart of your wedding, the most important and partnership-solidifying element of your wedding ceremony. Here at our New Jersey wedding venue and at our garden weddings, we’ve heard some beautiful, sentimental wedding vows, and we’ve laughed along with the bride, groom and their guests at that little touch of humor that reflects the couple’s fun-loving partnership.
Great wedding vows capture your promises to one another, and tell all of your guests what you love about one another. Writing your own vows can be a daunting task, so use our top tips here to guide you:
1. Decide if you’ll write one set of wedding vows that you’ll both repeat to one another, or if you’ll each write your own vows privately, ‘surprising’ one another with your heartfelt words during the ceremony.
2. Take some time together to discuss what the core values of your relationship are — honesty, support, patience, kindness, loyalty, friendship – and use those keywords to create your promises to one another, as in “I promise to spend every day supporting your wishes, goals and dreams.”
3. Use your own voice in your wedding vows. How do you speak? Are you naturally humorous? If so, then add some of your personality to your vows. It’s not you if the words you choose sound like someone else wrote them, or are too formal, or too serious.
4. Is there a quote, scripture, poem or psalm that has always been central to your relationship? If so, build your vows around that theme and grow it from there.
5. See the future. Your relationship will take you places you cannot even imagine, and the point of professing wedding vows to one another is to face the future together, whatever it might bring. Your vows are promises to be faithful and to enrich each other’s lives not just now, but always.
6. Build from traditional wedding vow wording. If you love the traditional ‘love, honor and cherish’ vows, by all means include them. Many of our New Jersey brides and grooms start their vows with the traditional vows script, then add their own personalized ‘second half’ with their additional promises or a touch of humor.
7. Write a first draft, not censoring yourself. Just write and write, not worrying about length, and then you can edit your script down from there, keeping the ‘gold’ of your vow wording and cutting away what’s excess.
8. Read your vows out loud as you go. That’s the only way to tell if your vow wording sounds natural in your own voice.
9. Don’t be afraid of tears. Heartfelt, sentimental promises, plus the deep love you feel for your partner, are sure to get you misty-eyed, and that’s a very special part of a wedding ceremony. So don’t put pressure on yourself not to cry.
10. Write out your vows. You don’t have to memorize them. Print them out in full on an index card, and your officiant can lead you through them, or you can read them right off the page as so many other brides and grooms have done to get their wedding vows just right.
If there’s something you wish to express that’s not a natural fit for your wedding vows, include that private sentiment in a letter or card you send to your partner on the morning of the wedding.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château