Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So you want to write your own vows?

So you want to write your own vows?

One request I get from couples in the Pretty and Planned, twenty-five minute ceremonies is to write their own vows.

Something I pinned on my Pinterest may be of reflection in this discussion.. I found this item just a few days ago from "these are some of the best wedding vows I've ever heard of: his pledge to her: I will kill the spiders. I will share my fries with you when you've finished all yours and are still hungry. I won't ever pop my collar. I will never be rude to your tummy-when I har it growl and gurge, I promise to bend down and reply respectfully. I will eat the mushrooms when we order the supreme pizza. I will kiss the papercuts. and the door-slammed finger. and the counter-bumped hip. I'll try my hardest no.... (Punctuation, spelling and lack of capitalization credited to

Done correctly writing your own vows to each other gives you the opportunity to tailor your vows to you as a couple, to what is really important to the two of you.

Now while these vows are cute and sure to bring a smile or two in the guests, I have trouble believing that these are the things that are really important to the couple.

Definition of VOW: a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition . See vow defined for English-language

I've got no problem with having some fun with the vows but my feeling is the nature of vows, especially wedding vows should be a real reflection of what you are promising each other.

How often does it happen? I've been marrying folks since I first became a minister 20 years ago. In that time I've had perhaps 120 couples say they wanted to write their own vows. Perhaps 15 couples actually ended up writing their own vows, and maybe six couples did it well.

My advice to those who want to write their own vows?  First each of you give a little thought about the things that are 1) important in your relationships 2) important to relationships over all.  Don't think too hard here, this is just a starting point.

93.7 The Bull Shotgun Wedding
Next get on the net and do a search for wedding vows and read through them together. Find vows that express the important things you outlined in step one.  Pick a little from here and a little from there if you need to.

The step after that is just putting them all together in a style that seems congruent from start to end.

Then if you are inclined to humor, you can mix some "fun" vows that express who you are and/or get a chuckle from the guests.

Last thing I recommend is once you've got them all polished go to an office supply and get two small journal notebooks about 3" x 4" in size, with lined pages.

Write each vow on a separate page and put your signature on the last page. At the service you have an easy way to reference each vow as you declare them to each other.

Once each of you have said your vows you exchange journals as the physical symbol of the vows exchanged. Then you hand them to me and I put them on the wedding altar until the ceremony is completed.

Your personal vows written to each other in the journals really do make a keepsake memory of your wedding to be kept and even read on your anniversaries from time to time. It's a lot of work but a beautiful way to make your wedding more truly "all about the two of you." 

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