Writing your own wedding vows isn’t for everyone. I get that. But personally, I love all-things custom when it comes to weddings and so it was a no-brainer for me when the time came to discuss our wedding vows.
Now that I look back, I don’t think I gave Andy much of a choice – I was adamant that we would write our own vows. Traditional vows just weren’t for me – I wanted something personal, something custom to us and our one-of-a-kind relationship [and therefore, one-of-a-kind wedding].
So for this morning’s post, we have a two-parter. First I thought it would be fun to share mine & Andy’s vows and some pictures from our ceremony that truly show why I wanted personalized vows so bad. The emotional roller coaster of reading our vows in front of our wedding party, parents, closest friends & family just wouldn’t have been the same if we went the traditional route.
And then, we have Heather from Digby By Rose, a Washington, DC luxury wedding invitation design & print shop, sharing some helpful guidelines and advice for couples that are considering writing their own wedding vows ~ if you are planning on going the “custom” vows route too!
Writing Your Own Wedding Vows ~ Why & How
Andy went first:
[insert my reaction to Andy coming clean about when he wrote his vows ... ]
“I’d like to start by coming clean. Yesterday when you asked if my vows were finished and I replied, “just about”, I may not have been truthful. The reason I’m telling you this now is because we are standing in front of our family & friends in the process of getting married and there is no way you can get mad at me at this moment.
So as I sit here writing these vows at my hotel room, at 12:17am,the night before our wedding …
…I am attempting to find a new way to say what I’ve been saying to you for the past 7 years – I love you.
I love that you’re obsessed with Harry Potter and that I’m afraid to admit that I kinda am too. I love that I can look past the fact that you enjoy Twilight and I love that you can look past the beard hairs in the sink. I love that we can endlessly quote from Arrested Development and still laugh. I love that we’re both content with spending our Sundays watching the Giants and I love that you think Tony Romo is an over-rated quarterback too.
[*insert copious amounts of tears here*]
I love that we have spent the past 7 years together and that we will continue to spent the rest of our lives together. Last, and most importantly, I love being in love with you.
I vow to honor, protect, support and cherish every second of every day that we are together. I vow to never stop doing what I have continually done since we first began dating – I vow to always love you.”
And then it was mine turn. Which of course I started off with announcing that I had naturally prepared my vows WEEKS ago and not the night before :)
“When I look into your eyes I see over 7 years of memories and milestones.
I see the day I drove you to Six Flags, where everything all began. I see your birthdays and prom and Good Charlotte shows. I see your ever-changing hairstyles and the night in your room where you asked me to be your girlfriend and I said, “No.” [and then I said "yes"] I see handwritten notes and the daily emails, and the time I made you get out of bed to talk to me on Instant Messenger.
I can see high school graduation and the summer in Maine. I see the countless miles you drove to Penn State all those weekends for 4 years. [**ok, even typing this, this part ALWAYS gets me for some reason ... I mean ... he drove A LOT to see me**].
I see Penn State football, and weekends at Kutztown, and our senior year and college graduation. I see anniversary celebrations, holidays together, family vacations at the jersey shore and at lake houses in Vermont. I see Penn State Bowl Games & road trips to Florida.
I see our first real jobs and first apartments in DC, kickball, and Obama’s Inauguration. I see the night at the Washington Monument where you proposed and made me the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
When I look into your eyes, I see selflessness, patience, and the absolute love you have for me. I see the love of my life, my best friend, and the only eyes I want to look into for the rest of my life.
I see our future together and many more years of memories and milestones.
I love you and promise to love you for the rest of my life. Always & forever.
And then this happened [notice the laughter on our wedding party's faces]:
I was SO swept up in the emotion of reading my vows that I naturally went in to kiss Andy – and Andy leaned away, with a look of shock on his face, as we “weren’t supposed to kiss yes”.
Everyone laughed at Andy’s reaction – and then we got the “a-ok” to kiss anyway from our officiant:
PHEW! Even just reading the vows as I typed them up here got me misty-eyed! And that, right there, is why I wanted custom vows, written by us!
So now for Part 2 ~ click inside to read advice on HOW to write your own wedding vows from Digby Rose!
Create a Plan
Planning a wedding can be a challenge for many couples. Along with the demands of creating one of the most special days two people can share, your time can also be clouded with other routine commitments and daily obligations. Taking a moment to create an action plan for writing your wedding vows will reduce stress and ensure that you will have sufficient time to complete them. Come to an agreement about your vows and decide on the structure and tone before you begin. Your wedding officiate can also be a great source of information and helpful advice.
Do it Together or Go it Alone
An important decision to make before beginning work on your vows is whether you will work together or make this project a solo effort. Writing your vows can be an emotional and intimate expression or your deepest love and commitment. Many couples find that writing vows together brings unity to their message of commitment. Other couples choose to wait until they meet at the altar to share their precious words of commitment.
Check with the Masters
There is nothing like getting advice and guidance from the masters of love and commitment. Seeking input from other married couples can provide great inspiration. Couples who have successfully navigated the sometimes bumpy path to matrimonial happiness are the perfect counselor for those seeking help with writing their marriage vows. Their wisdom can provide enlightenment on how to compose memorable wedding vows.
What Defines You?
Does whimsy and independence define your relationship as a couple? Is a common set of traditional values the cornerstone of your relationship? Personal values and philosophies about life are strong threads that clearly define a couple and help to build lasting lives together. Weaving these philosophies into words and your vows can properly set the tone for your wedding.
Focus on the Unique
Your love is truly unique. No one else in the world understands the incomparable bond of love that you share. What makes you a couple is worthy of celebration and should be highlighted in your vows. How you met and what drew you together is a magical story worth telling. From the funny moments, where you both found common ground in your sense of humor, to the serious moments when you felt love blossom for the very first time, translating these feelings into words will underscore your deep commitment to each other.
Enjoy the Day
Don’t be constrained by the carefully constructed words that you have committed to paper. Utilize the words brought forth by the feelings and emotions of the day. Let the foundations of your relationship come out. The hallmarks of your love and commitment are most eloquently stated when the emotions of this momentous occasion overtake you. Letting your feelings, hopes, dreams and passion show through your words is most honest and loving gift you can give.
Thoughtful reflection of the friendship, trust, honesty and love you both share will assist you in illustrating on your wedding day, with words, these most powerful thoughts and emotions.
So what do you think ~ for the ones planning their weddings, will you write your own vows? And for those that are already married – what did you do?