Don’t know how to transform your heavy, life-altering feelings into a string of coherent words? You’re not alone – but don’t worry, your goal is within reach. Just take it one word at a time. Here’s the homework you need to do (and the questions you should ask) to make your wedding vows perfect.
Prep Step A: Get clearance
Confirm that your officiant accepts personalized vows. Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox liturgies, for instance, might require you to recite all or part of the traditional vows, though in most cases that’s left to the officiant’s discretion. But even the most accommodating officiant will want to review your words in advance.
Prep Step B: Make a plan
Tackle the logistics to ensure you and your sweetheart are on the same page. Will you write your vows on your own, or will you write them together? Will you show them to each other before the ceremony?
Knot Note: If you’re feeling shy, write your vows together and recite the same promises. If there’s more you wish to say, privately, say it in the cards you exchange on the day of your wedding or on your honeymoon.
Prep Step C: Create your outline
An outline can help establish a structure that you both stick to. For example, plan to first talk about how great your betrothed is, then about how great you are as a couple, then about what you’re pledging to each other.
Prep Step D: Find your voice
What overall tone do you want: humorous and touching? Poetic and mushy? It’s your call. The most important consideration is that your vows ring true and come from your heart.
Prep Step E: Cut it down
Finally, pick a length and stick to it by observing the mantra “pithy and to the point.” Vows that take more than a minute to recite, no matter how gorgeous the prose, will get the audience squirming.
– Courtesy of The Knot. For more on all aspects of wedding planning, visit www.wedding.theknot.com.