The MANual: Wedding Speeches
How to Write Vows
Well look at you – settling down and getting married like the adult that you suddenly are. Congratulations! Don’t freak out, there’s nothing to fear. You found the love of your life, created incredible memories together, and more recently you planned and pulled off an epic proposal. For most people that’s a success in and of itself.
But just when you thought the tough part was over – it’s time to plan the wedding. Let’s be honest, most of the planning is going to be left in the hands of your future wife, but there are still crucial parts you must take part in, and writing your vows is at the top of that list.
But where to begin? We put together this helpful guide to help you and keep you organized as you put together what will surely be an incredible speech. I mean, we are the experts after all.
Write down absolutely anything and everything you can think of.
Starting any project from scratch can feel intimidating and overwhelming and writing your vows will probably make you feel the same way. To alleviate some of that pressure, just start writing – yes it’s as simple as that. Just start putting down anything and everything that pops into your head when you think about what ‘vows’ should include.
If you really don’t know where the hell you’re going with this, Angie from Vow Muse suggests having a conversation with your partner to set some ground rules:
“To make sure you both have some idea of what you’re targeting as you craft your vows, have a chat about it first. You don’t need to share specifics, but talk through things like tone (Is humor ok? Should we use different tones to fit our different personalities?), length (Are we aiming for one minute each or four minutes each?), and basic structure (Are we just doing a list of promises or more of a narrative that talks about what we love about each other?), Do we want promises as part of that narrative at all?”
Once you have ideas to pull from, writing your vows in its entirety will get simpler as the process goes on. You both are taking a huge step together so don’t think the nerves are just one sided.
Start putting those thoughts in order.
Once you’ve collected your thoughts, start lining them up in chronological order. From there you can start to weave your thoughts in and out to create one cohesive timeline. This will ensure that the cadence of the speech will be delivered in a smooth and engaging way. Maybe you want to add a little humor to what is an already emotional moment or consider opening with a funny or significant story. Or if you want to continue the wave of emotion, get a little deeper and share how you knew your significant other was the one.
It’s time to start writing.
Now that you have a basic outline of what you’re going to say, “make sure your words are coming from the true you,” explains Angie. “If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re emotional, let the tears flow. If you’re shy, focus on the truth: why you love your partner and how they’ve made your life better. This is a serious occasion, so some heartfelt items are probably in order, but stay true to your style and your feelings as much as you can. Everything will sound and feel much more natural if you do, and that will show through to everyone listening.”
Time to put your best man to work.
Your best man is your best man for a reason – he’s going to tell it to you straight, making him the ideal person to read your draft to. Maybe those jokes you thought were funny are better saved for another time or maybe it just wasn’t cohesive enough. Your best man is going to be your best audience.
You’ve written, you’ve re-written, you’ve written some more and you finally have the best damn speech anyone’s going to hear. This is your Gettysburg Address, but better. But it doesn’t stop there – “One pitfall we see that can make vows fall short of a person’s own expectations is not leaving enough time to write and practice them. Some people like to wing it, others like to scratch a few words down minutes before the wedding, and sometimes these can lead to a person feeling like they really could have done better,” explains Angie.
The last thing you want on your wedding day is for it to seem like you made half the effort your bride made – and trust us those are not the tears you want to happen on your wedding day. Take the time to do it well so you can start this new chapter of on the right note. And then maybe try and go first, so you don’t have to follow a better act, just in case.
You’ve finally made it to the end. Your final touches have been made and you’ve put together a speech to bring a (happy) tear to anyone’s eye, including your own. According to our experts at Vow Muse, practicing is probably the most vital part of the process.
“Don’t practice your vows to memorize them, practice them to be comfortable with the words so there’s a better chance you can speak them without large interruption (i.e. you start tearing up, IT HAPPENS) on the big day. Get just a tiny bit immune to the immensely lovely sentiments so that you can manage to speak the words on the big day.”
You need to feel comfortable in what you’re saying since emotions will be heightened and you’ll be in front of an audience. Knowing what you’re going to say before you say it will help you get in front of those feelings so that you can deliver an impactful, loving, and heartfelt speech.
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