October 2017
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Writing Your Wedding Vows
[Wedding-August 2008]

Most couples prefer to write their own wedding vows. Even though this can be more difficult than it seems you can easily carry out the task with a few simple steps. The vows you say to each other will set the tone of your wedding. They make your wedding more meaningful and unique. This is why your vows should come from your heart even if you use words from other sources. Otherwise, they can set the wrong tone for your marriage and spoil your wedding.

TYPES
Vows can be traditional, modern, religious or non-religious. They should suit your values and be acceptable according to your beliefs. Be sure to check with your minister beforehand. Some ministers prefer only certain vows but you may be able to come to a compromise with them. For your vows to be considered official they should communicate your solemn promise to each other to be and remain married.

WORDS
Before you begin “writing” it is a good idea to do some brainstorming and write down your thoughts about what you already know you would like to include or what you feel is important to you. Words you choose to include in your vows can be completely made up on your own or come from inspirational sources such as poetry, songs, scriptures, quotes, movie lines, and even favorite book passages. Some common ways to start your vows are the following: “I love you,” “I take you,” “I give you this ring,” and “On this special day.”
It is very important that you plan your wedding before you write your vows. You should take into consideration any special readings that will take place, speeches and sermons, etc. This way you won’t repeat or say anything that was already expressed by your pastor or someone else. There are several places you can look for examples and sample vows like on the internet, in books, and even other weddings. Look up common words in the dictionary such as love, commitment and marriage and also any other words you might be using that are special to you. By knowing the true meanings of these words you will be able to incorporate them into your vows much better.

WRITING

Schedule time to work on your vows so that you give yourself sufficient time to think and relax. Take several notes along the way and write several drafts before you finalize. Express how you’re feeling and thinking and share this with each other. If you choose to use traditional vows you can look through a few common examples and then add to them or make a few changes to suit your taste. Your vows are intended for you to say to each other and not the audience so make sure that you are conveying your feelings to each other even if you incorporate other sources into preparing them.

CHOICES
It is up to you and your fiancé to decide whether or not you will use the same vows or write different vows. If you choose to say the same vows to each other than it will probably be more meaningful if you write the vows together. The first thing you may want to do is start off by working separately. Give yourself enough time and privacy so you can work efficiently. Write down your thoughts and feelings about your fiancé and why you love them. This can be a letter or a story and should be very elaborate and creative instead of short and concise. Don’t try to make it short and sweet because you will use this to pick out your favorite thoughts to incorporate in your vows. You should write down several things that are important to you such as your favorite times together and any special quotes, songs and scriptures that are meaningful to you and why. When you are done then share your letters or stories with each other and pick out a few things that you want to include in your vows.

DISCUSS
If you are going to write different vows then you will probably want to work on them separately. Before you start writing, however, discuss how you want them to be. Decide on the length, any special words you would like to use and if they will be traditional or modern and religious or not. Use descriptive words in your writing and share your vows with each other once you are done. It is also a good idea to talk with your officiant about your vows. If you share your vows with them they may also be able to give you some helpful suggestions. Be sure to give yourself sufficient time before the wedding to complete your vows. You don’t want any last minute stress to be involved when you’re writing your vows. This should be a very special and memorable experience for you. Your vows are not only important for your wedding day but meaningful and significant for years to come!

[As seen in Fall/Winter 2005 of Shaadi Style and March 2008 of Rivaaj]

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