Six Secrets to Writing the Perfect Wedding Vows

A couple’s wedding vows can be the emotional high point of their wedding day. But perfect vows take work. Here’s how to get them just right.

  1. Set the mood. Find a special place where you’re relaxed and where you won’t be interrupted. Try to write your vows at least a couple weeks before the wedding, because relaxing moments will be harder to find as you hit that whirlwind week of last-minute crises.
  2.  Agree upon length and spirit. You and your fiancée should be on the same page when it comes to the tone of your vows — funny or serious, long or short, and so forth. If they both have the same general feel, the whole ceremony will flow better.
  3.  The vows are not for your guests. You’re writing a very personal and intimate message to your lifetime partner. Don’t play to the crowd. This isn’t the time to craft a speech to bring your guests to tears, or make them laugh. They are there to share your joy, not to be entertained. Whatever you have to say to one another will be well received if it comes from the heart.
  4.  Write more than you need to write. Give yourself weeks, even months, to distill your deepest feelings into a concise speech. But when you begin, write down everything that comes into your mind. You won’t use most of it, but you’ll be able to draw upon a lot of material as you decide what’s most important for you to say.
  5.  Read other people’s vows. There’s nothing wrong with getting ideas from couples who have come before you. Every good writer researches his or her subject material. You can bet your Maid of Honor and Best Man are going to Google ideas for their reception toasts. So why shouldn’t you gather ideas the same way? Trust your feelings, and you’ll eventually come up with vows that are very personal to you, even if they were inspired by someone else’s words.
  6.  Rehearse. When you actually read your vows out loud, you may discover that the words don’t flow as smoothly as they appeared on paper. Wrapping your mouth around the words isn’t the same as wrapping your brain around some text on a page. Rewrite as necessary to make your vows more conversational and natural. And if you can get through the speech several times without stumbling, and you like what you’ve just said, you’re ready.

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© Fourth Estate Audio, 2015 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.  

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