One of the beautiful things about organizing a wedding together with a celebrant is that your ‘script’ can be exactly what you want. And, although there are some lovely vows you can borrow or adapt, writing your own marriage vows can prove to be personal, moving and affecting.
No one wants to risk producing ‘naff’ vows, so here are some tips to help you.
- Make sure you and your partner BOTH want to do this, and agree whether you will do this separately or together.
- Make sure that the person conducting the ceremony knows in advance. And it’s OK for them to look at what you have written before the ceremony.
- Allow loads of time to do this – you’re bound to need to do plenty of rewriting.
- Start by deciding a few general things you want to say (you can worry about the detail later) – just have clear in your head what it is important.
- What sort of register do you want to use? By that I mean: will it be serious, humorous, deep, spiritual, religious, or some sort of combination?
- As for content, I’m going to make a few suggestions in my next blog!
- Once you’ve got a few sentences down (and remember, sixty seconds each is quite long enough!), see about reworking them so they look and sound good to you.
- Leave your draft a day or two, and come back and, if necessary, rework it. Get a friend to review it brutally!
- Once you’re satisfied, practise reading the vows (alone!) in front of a mirror – or practise with your partner.
- At the end of the ceremony, give the vows to somebody to keep for you (or make and file a copy beforehand).
A few tips to follow next time about content, but, you see, it’s not really that hard after all!
Michael Gordon is a celebrant based in London.