Writing your wedding vows can be a very stressful experience. And when you’ve been staring at a blinking cursor and a blank screen for over an hour or your trash can is overflowing with your balled-up rejects, it seems all too easy to just give up and scrap the whole idea altogether. But you don’t have to be Shakespeare to be able to write vows that you can be proud to recite in front of everyone. Just follow these tips:

Don’t cram.
When you’re plagued with writer’s block, it’s easy to think, “I’ll just wing it. After all, I just have to say what’s in my heart.” The problem with this is, the wedding ceremony itself can be a very overwhelming experience and one of two things can happen once it’s time to recite your vows: Either you’re completely speechless and end up stuttering through the whole thing, or you cover up your nervousness by babbling. Neither scenario will do justice to that very important moment.

If you’re really nervous about writing it, try preparing a little earlier. Dedicate an afternoon when you can just relax, sit in a comfortable spot, and meditate on your love. If you want to be completely in wedding-mode when you write your vows, choose to do it the morning before your big day, so that you don’t lose any sleep trying to finish it at the last minute. The point is, never ever “just wing it.”

Go back to the beginning.
Now that you’ve blocked off the time to write your vows, a good place to start thinking about what to write is to go back in time. How did you meet, and how did you feel during that first meeting? What was your first date like? When did you first realize you loved him? How did you know he was The One?

A trip down memory lane puts you in a happy mood, and helps you to remember some great memories that might be nice to remind him about in your vows. Try pulling up your old photos together from Facebook and Instagram, or look at the gifts he has given you in the past, then try to remember the stories behind each photo and gift. Your vows can begin with highlighting the shared history you’ve begun to build together.

Look at the present.
Imagine gazing lovingly into the eyes of the man who will be your husband in a matter of minutes. How has he changed your life? Have you grown together? If he started as a mere acquaintance, who is he to you today? How much do you value and appreciate him? Your vows are the perfect opportunity to thank him for coming into your life, especially if Words of Appreciation is not your primary Love Language, and you don’t really tell him often how much you appreciate him.

It doesn’t matter if words like “You’re my everything” seem so cliché. What matters is if you wholeheartedly feel that this is true, you can say it like you mean it, and that your hubby-to-be can feel the truth behind it.

Imagine the future.

Your wedding is the first day of the rest of your lives together. What kind of wife do you imagine you’ll be? How will you take care of him and your future family? Remember that marriage is a give-and-take relationship, so you must be ready to bring something to the table. Think of the kind of wife and mother you are ready to become, then commit to that ideal by declaring it in front of your hubby-to-be, family and friends.

You can also try imagining your daily life together, and make promises based on this. Perhaps you can promise to be less of a pack rat, knowing that it brings his OCD tendencies into overdrive. Or you can promise to give him a back rub every day after he’s had a long day at work. Whatever these promises are, make sure they are geared toward creating a harmonious and happy home together.

Remember your audience.
The reason why your vows are recited in front of all your family and friends is so that they can bear witness to these promises and hold you to them. They are your allies when times get rough –as they surely will—and you can count on them to remind you of the promises you made in front of them.

This is why you should resist the urge to include too many you-had-to-be-there anecdotes or little inside jokes that only you and your hubby-to-be understand. It’s important to make sure that your family and friends know what they are bearing witness to, so they can always keep you in check throughout your marriage.

Keep it short, simple, and heartfelt.
Your personal vows come right in the middle of the entire marriage rite. Keep it short so that you don’t have to rush through the rest of the ceremony, and you’ll have enough time for pictorials later. This is especially important if your church is quite strict with keeping the time, or accommodates many weddings in one day. You won’t be able to savor your wedding day if you have to rush through everything, just because you took up too much time with your vows.

When you know that you have to keep it short, you need to make sure that every word counts. Think of what you want to say and how to use the least number of words possible to say it. You don’t have to display your wide vocabulary here. Just remember that you have to mean every single word you say, so choose your words wisely.

Every love is different, and writing your personal vows is the perfect celebration of your love for one another. So pick up that pen and commit that love to paper!

PHOTO: Pixabay

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