1. REMEMBER, REMINISCE, & REFLECT
The current moment is SO exciting – but think back to every moment that led up to your wedding day, too! Every rainy day, hug in the kitchen, and conversation over coffee – go way back. Pull out that little hiding spot (we all have one!) where you keep all the notes and ticket stubs that have been a part of your relationship with your other half over the years. Allow yourself lots of time to reflect on the special moments of your relationship, think about how far the two of you have come, and how much you have learned. Chances are, you’ll come up with plenty to write about. Remember that your vows are intended to be shared between you and your fiancé – so think about the things that are most special to the two of you, and let them shape what you write down.
2. JUST WRITE
Speaking of which, how do you put all your thoughts on paper?! Don’t worry about writing in a meaningful or intelligent way. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar (the only time I have or ever will say that). You can edit and be selective with your thoughts at a later time. For now, just start writing! Let your feelings take over and just go with it. In psychology, the technique of communicating without censoring your thoughts and feelings is called “FREE ASSOCIATION.” Do it, and let that stream of consciousness roll – the hardest part of this whole process is getting those thoughts that mean so much to you OUT of your head, and ONTO paper.
3. BE GENUINE.
This is far and beyond the most important tip – in life and in writing your wedding vows: Be unapologetically yourself. If you’re not a Nobel Laureate, don’t try to be, or feel pressure to write perfectly. Feel free to gather inspiration from a variety of sources (Pinterest, searches, Quotes) but don’t emulate anyone else’s tone or feelings. If there ever was a day to be completely and totally genuine, it’s your wedding day! Your other half (of all people) will be able to tell if your vows are yours from a mile away – and their opinion is truly the only one that counts.
4. BE CREATIVE
If it suits you (and only if it suits you), lighten things up a bit by referencing something uniquely yours – something that makes your love yours – a funny story or an inside joke, for example. Make it brief, and make it appropriate. Don’t go for sarcasm or sardonic humor – they will undercut the sincerity of the words you’re saying. Instead, opt for lighthearted or even slightly silly.
5. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Enlist a trusted loved one (like your honest-to-a-fault best friend) to sit in on a few practice recitals. Get her honest reaction, and ask for her advice. You don’t have to take it, but you should consider it – especially if her reaction was not exactly what you were hoping for. Without sacrificing your authenticity, revise until you feel confident that your vows encompass your true feelings in a meaningful way. Be sure to write down a few bullets on a notecard or post it if needed, and tuck it into the ribbon of your bouquet – cell phones at the altar are tacky.
A few timeless quotations to get those creative juices flowing…