Why Couples Write Personalized Wedding Vows
In her book, Lies at the Altar, (Hyperion) Dr. Robin L Smith discusses the pros and cons of couples writing their own wedding vows. She says that many people spend hours planning the wedding ceremony and reception but neglect to consider their vows. In fact, some skim through the traditional vows for the first time at the wedding rehearsal.
Wedding Vows should be Central to a Wedding
Without wedding vows there would not be a wedding. The vows should actually be the focal point because they are used to bind the couple into marriage. While the words may vary from country to country and culture to culture, the vows are generally words of commitment, love, and promises of faithfulness. It is important that couples consider their vows carefully. If they feel the traditional ones are not appropriate, they can write their own version that will carry special meaning for them.
How to Write Personalized Wedding Vows
The internet is a wonderful source of information about weddings and how to write vows. There are hundreds of websites that offer romantic verse, quotes, and templates for writing wedding vows. When considering what is available, couples should bear in mind that their vows should be the public manifestation of a private promise.
Dr. Robin L Smith suggests that vows should contain the following four elements:
· State the couple’s core beliefs and commitment to each other
· Reflect each other’s individuality and personal needs
· Acknowledge the brokenness of life and commit to love and support the other person no matter what
· Declare a commitment to share their lives with family, friends and the wider community
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Personalized Vows
A set of personalized marriage vows can add to the romance of a wedding. The guests may be able to nod in agreement as the couple read vows that are tailor-made for their lives and situation. On the negative side, they tend to be forgotten more quickly as they are only read once. If personalized vows are used it is a good idea to have them printed or written out by a calligrapher and framed as a reminder. Display them in a bedroom or a place where they will be a constant reminder of promises made.
Occasionally the older generation may take exception to their children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren using personalized vows. Some may go as far as to exert pressure for the traditional vows to be used. The couple should go with what they want as it is their wedding and their choice.
Personalized wedding vows are common these days but the importance of vows in general is often underestimated. They should be the central focus of the wedding and written with a purpose in mind. Whether the vows are traditional or personalized, a framed reminder in the home can help keep couples focused in the right direction.
Writing Your Own Wedding Vows: Memorable, Unique Vows You Can Cherish For a Lifetime
A few things should be considered in order to avoid cringing every time you watch the wedding video.
Make sure both partners wish to write vows
Writing your own vows should not be a contest or game of one-upmanship. Not everyone is comfortable saying romantic things in public; not everyone is skilled at expressing himself eloquently. To avoid disappointment or hurt feelings, be very clear about expectations regarding vows-will they are spoken, sung, long, short, matter-of-fact or in rhyme? Be sensitive to the fact that your partner might wish to be lower-key.
My traditional vows for ideas
There’s a reason you are avoiding traditional vows. Write down what you like and dislike about ‘standard’ wedding vows, in order to have a clearer idea of what you want your own vows to look like. Do you object to religious elements, expectations of gender roles, archaic language, or simply the fact that the vows were written by someone else? Are there any elements you would like to carry over into your vows!
Investigating vows from other cultures is a good way to glean ideas. You may end up deciding to go with a traditional Celtic or Indian vow, or you may simply find a few phrases you like.
Despite being perhaps the most sacred part of the ceremony, vows are not legally required. They are distinct from a declaration of intent-the ‘I dos’ and even omitting them entirely will have no
legal effect on your marriage. This allows for a great deal of freedom in the vows. They could be a poem, a quote from your favorite book, even a line from a movie. Vows are a promise of commitment-beyond that, there are few constraints.
Don’t be funny
There is plenty of room for humor in a wedding ceremony; however, it is generally accepted that reciting your vows should be a solemn and heartfelt moment. Again, communication about this issue is vital; a partner who has expended a great deal of effort in writing loving, tender vows may feel hurt or disappointed if her partner’s vows are flippant. ‘You’ve seen me at my best and worst’ is appropriate-references to morning sickness, hangovers or acne are not.
Save making a speech for the speech
Wedding speeches and toasts are an excellent place to put all the things you can’t fit into your vows. Vows should be short and sweet; they should not be a laundry list of the other partner’s good qualities, or a potted history of your relationship. If you’re having trouble narrowing the focus, remember that ‘vow’ is a synonym for ‘promise’ and eliminate anything which is not part of your promise. Try to keep your vows short enough that you can say them from memory.
It is immediately obvious when the bride or groom has left writing the vows until the last minute, hoping inspiration will strike. Speaking fluently in public is difficult for most people, and while a little awkwardness is charming, stuttering and making things up on the spot is not. Write your vows early, and practice saying them out loud. Some sentiments look fine on paper but sound florid or cheesy when spoken aloud. If you’re brave enough, ask the opinion of a friend.
Write for your partner
Above all, remember that your vows are not a performance. Weddings are tricky occasions, in which the presence of the guests must be respected, while at the same time the focus should be intimate and personal. Visualise your partner as you write and practice your vows, and remember that you are not talking about ‘Love’ in a general, hypothetical sense, but making a promise to your beloved.