When you stand next to your significant other on your wedding day, the time will come to look into their eyes and speak from the heart. These days, writing your own vows is pretty much a standard part of the ceremony. If you’re unaccustomed to public speaking and not into sharing your emotions, the very idea might fill you with dread. But these tips can help you write something that will capture how you feel without being too awkward.
Start With a Memory
Whether it’s the first day you met, or the day you know you were in love, grab a favorite memory of your partner to start off with. It can be unabashedly romantic, or even a little bit funny–was it when she was holding your hair back while you threw up at the end of a party? Did he pick up Nyquil for you when you had a bad flu? Whatever small thing made you know this was the one, share it briefly.
Don’t Be Afraid of Cliché
Sure, it may seem sappy to say “I have always loved you,” or “I will love you until the day I die,” but if you can’t be sappy on your wedding day, when can you? If you’re feeling something that can only be expressed in those clichés, don’t shy away from them. As long as you mean what you’re saying, it doesn’t matter if it’s been said before.
Add Poetry or a Song Lyric
If you find yourself at a loss for words, throw in a few lines from your favorite poem or song. If it’s a piece that has specific meaning from your relationship history, so much the better.
Don’t Forget the Actual Vows
Think of some of the things you can do to make sure your marriage stays strong. Very specific vows are heartwarming and funny; things like, “I vow to keep making you bacon every Saturday morning.” You can also vow to follow some of the best advice you’ve been given prior to the ceremony, like “I vow that we will never go to bed angry,” or “I vow to tell you I love you every day.” Keep them sincere and specific and there won’t be any doubt you’re ready to get married.
End With a Call to Action
The call to action is a staple in public speaking and it’ll put a good cap on your vows. It can be as simple as, “let’s go have fun!” or “let’s spend the next 50 years as much in love as we’ve been for the last two years.” Then cap it off with a simple, “I love you” and get on to the kissing part.
Your wedding vows are intensely personal, but don’t let that be a source of stress. Feel free to write them down and bring them with you, but you’ll want to rehearse a few times so you don’t sound like you’re reading. With that in mind, as long as you’re sincere and speak from the heart, you’re sure to have the desired effect.