When you’re asked if you’ll be writing your own vows, how will you reply?
- Yes, I can’t wait to affirm my commitment in the presence of witnesses
- I’m not sure
- No, I’ll be too emotional to speak
Before you answer, here are a few things to consider.
A Moment in Time
The moment in your ceremony where vows are exchanged is one of the most important in your life story; one that you will never experience again. It’s your opportunity to declare what you will do, or more importantly, who you will be in this union. Once the moment has passed, it’s gone forever. Think twice before you let it slip away.
Expect a lot of ‘feels’ on your big day; nervousness, excitement, even self-consciousness as all eyes are on you. But the words you’ll speak are really only meant for the two of you. Focus on the eyes of your beloved and block your peripheral vision. Remember how deep your love is and speak from your heart like no one is listening.
What to Say
All you need is a little headspace and an open heart to write the perfect vows. Writer’s block? Close your eyes or look out at the landscape and allow your thoughts to wander. What do you want to bring to the marriage? What does your forever partner deserve? Vows can be light-hearted too. “I promise to pick up my socks, put the toilet seat down, make you a martini…” Including something sweet and endearing in addition to the more ‘solemn vows’ may help you by breaking the tension.
One to Remember
Many couples want to memorize their vows, feeling that it’s a more authentic way to communicate their commitment. After all, if you miss a word, sentence, or even paragraph, who’s going to know? However, most people don’t trust their brain power, especially on such a big day. It’s okay to write them down. If you don’t have pockets, hide them in your bouquet, tuck them in your glove, or stuff them in your bustier. And definitely give a copy to your officiant in advance. Your JP has your back and can slip them to you when you need them.
Off the Cuff
You may think that you’ll just ad-lib when you get there. Um. No. It’s a romantic notion, but because of the reasons mentioned above—nervousness, emotion, all eyes on you—you may draw a blank from the pressure. If writing prose is not for you, jot down some bullet points with key things you’d like to mention—a sure-fire way to avoid stage fright.
If you’d like to talk it out, ask your JP for suggestions. Request to send some initial thoughts in a sort of ‘first draft’ for feedback. Though you are the only one who knows how you feel and what you promise to be or do, reassurance from an expert may be all you need to write the perfect vows.
- Read Writing Your Own Vows Part 2: How-To Tips
- Another article, Writing a Ceremony with Meaning
- FindaJP’s Pinterest Board: Wedding Vows
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Cindy Dumont is a Justice of the Peace in North Hampton, New Hampshire.