If you have already started early discussions with a Celebrant then you will have been advised of the Legal Vows required to be spoken by both parties during the ceremony. These are short and formal vows that are repeated and said to each other making your marriage legal by Australian Law. These words express your commitment, but have no room for the personal and loving sentiments that you want to share to one another on your special day surrounded by your loved ones... So, whilst personal vows are not "legally required" they are a choice that most couples want to write and include in your special day.
Now... sitting to write the words that can come so easily when being said can cause some to be staring at a blank piece of paper with writer's block. So, that is why I have put together my top ten tips to help get you started.
My first tip is don't overthink it, it doesn't have to feel daunting, you are writing about the person you are in love with and there is no structure to follow. You can write as much or as little as you want and say what you are comfortable with.
My second tip is to start them early, don't leave them until the last moment so that you feel rushed. It also allows for more time to take a trip down memory lane and remember some of your special earlier memories together that can get lost after years of new memories being made.
My third tip is asking yourself what it is you love about this person, what makes you smile, what makes you proud, why do they stand out, what makes them the one you chose. This could be their personality, whether they are caring or that they're a great support.. Or it could be they make you laugh harder than anyone ever has in the whole world. Whatever it is, this is why you're marrying them and what makes them the one for you.
My fourth tip is to make lists and bullet point everything that comes to your mind. Highlight your top items, memories, sayings, or qualities you definitely want to say so that you can refer to them when you begin to draft. The more content you write down in a list, the easier it will be when it comes to formatting the words in speech. It can help with a timeline for the vows too. I.e. Starting with when you first met them, when you fell in love, and then where you are heading.
My fifth tip is to share stories, or a significant story, you don't want to share everything but adding in your personal stories, quirks, special moments and memories (even something bad you've overcome together) makes them real, unique, personal and your guests will love to hear these beautiful stories about you both.
My sixth tip is to add in a promise. Marrying this person means making a commitment to them and with that brings a promise from you to them. Depending on your type of personality these can be as loving or as funny and light hearted as you choose. Examples are "I promise to love you more each day as we grow into our marriage and start our own family" or "I promise to love you more each day... so long as you promise to pick your washing up more often". Whichever context you write these promises in, it will be a reflection on the two of you, the love you share and will mean the world to the loved one you are saying to them too.
My seventh tip is don't be concerned or worried about what anyone else will think (i.e too lovey dovey) about the words you choose. This day is about your love for the person you are marrying and it is the day to express just what they mean to you. You are marrying this person and committing to them and this is the perfect time to tell them why and what you want to offer them. So go as mushy as you wish.
My eighth tip is to write a rough first draft with everything you want in there, read it multiple times, fine tune it, and re-draft as many times as you need too. It also helps by standing in front of someone you trust and are comfortable with and reading it to them. The content is all you but sometimes bouncing ideas off someone for the delivery helps calm any nerves.
My ninth tip is to practice your final version over and over, out loud, in front of the mirror, so you are very familiar with them. Take note of times in the vows where you may need a moment to catch your breath, a small cry, or even a laugh and take your time reading them. As they say practice makes perfect and it definitely eases some nerves.
My tenth tip is to make sure that you say I Love you. So simple, but it really does mean everything.
So there you have it, my top tips for wedding vow writing. I hope these can help you and enjoy writing them.
Lots of Love