Sadly, vows are too often overlooked when planning weddings. I’m not familiar with all the different religious ceremonies and their regulations, but for those people who are allowed to personalize their vows, I would strongly recommend it. My hubby and I didn’t write our own when we got married. I think there were several reasons: not knowing what to say (I don’t think my groom was keen on it at the time). Also, we chose an officiant who was very traditional (he was recommended by a friend) and wouldn’t allow us to change the wording. I remember a few minor things I wanted him to say differently- like not announce us as ‘man and wife’ (I wanted husband and wife). I didn’t want to be ‘given away’, and I also didn’t want that whole ‘does anyone object’ line. And I didn’t want to be announced as Mrs. Corey Fiander. Easy changes.
Or so I thought.
Well, apparently this much older gentleman did not attend the same feministic university courses as I did, because he and I did not see eye-to-eye. When we first met with him, he seemed ok with the omissions, but then 2 days before the wedding he (over the phone) told me he didn’t think he could do it the way I had requested. I was very upset. No time to find someone who understood the type of ceremony I really wanted. So, I was stuck with him. He tried to respect some of it, but butchered the rest. He of course announced me wrong, and messed up a few other things. But really, in the overall scheme of things, it was ok. I was too worried that he was going to make it through the ceremony. He was rambling throughout, and it was kind of funny.
If I were doing it again, I would put the focus of my time into personalizing the ceremony itself. I would 1000% insist on writing vows for each other. And yes, I would probably blubber my way through them, but that would be ok. The catch is, you have to have a partner who is also keen on doing the vows this way.
Here are some tips for vows:
· Talk to your officiant first to makes sure you are permitted to write your own vows
· Don’t force your partner to write them. If he or she doesn’t want to, you can’t force them. You aren’t going to get good vows this way.
· Respect the differences of the person writing the vows. If they are not mushy and romantic, don’t expect that they will write you mushy and romantic vows. There are 2 different authors- which is the point. They could be totally different from each other. The bride might write something flowery and sweet, and the groom might write a sports analogy. Respect the fact that it is his view on your union.
· Many people (especially grooms) may not be comfortable sharing personal thoughts in front of a crowd of friends and family. You know how sometimes a boyfriend will act all mushy when alone with you but entirely different when in front of the guys? Well, he might not want to share his most inner-most feelings in front of everyone he knows. So, don’t force it. If you do, he will hold back. You don’t want this. Alternatives? Try writing vows for each other, but read them privately- after the ceremony, or after the entire day (although you might be very tired at this point). Some time when you are alone and have privacy. Or, write the vows and exchange them (on paper) right before the ceremony. That way when the minister is rambling off the standard vows, what you are thinking about is your private, more meaningful ones you just shared.
Would you like to share your thoughts with your spouse, but are totally not fond of sharing in front of a group? Check out these Bride/Groom Relationship journals (and cards):
They can be found at Wedding Relationship Journals. These journals are great for sharing your thoughts in a personal and intimate way. Simply fill out the suggested topics in them (relating to your relationship and your upcoming marriage). Then exchange at the rehearsal dinner, or a private moment before you marry. Couples can even purchase BOTH journals, fill them out and exchange the day of their wedding. Sure to stir up some emotion and make each other cry!
If you would like to write non-traditional vows, and you need help, there is help available! There are resources that will help you and give some suggestions. You might want to look them over for ideas: Ebay Wedding Vows Search
Although these are great places to start, if I were doing my own vows I would also work in aspects of our relationship that were unique. Mention some of my quirks, or the grooms, some things I look forward to with him, memories, etc.
Some people write their vows together as a couple, although personally, I would rather hear his thoughts the first time at the ceremony, if I were the bride.
AND FOR YOUR HOMEWORK: (yes, that's the teacher in me!)
VOWS BRAINSTORMING SESSION: grab a piece of paper and a pen and have a brainstorming session- write down memories, what you love about your spouse, obstacles you’ve overcome (if appropriate) and hopes for the future…
Inspired? Happy writing!