How to Write the Perfect Wedding Vows and Speeches
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Writing your own wedding vows and speeches is no small feat. But if you know how to handle it right, all your efforts will be totally worth it in the end. Sure, you can always follow the traditional wedding vows that your officiant has already prepared, but nothing leaves a deeper impression more than personalized wedding vows. The same goes with wedding speeches, which are a chance for you to show your heartfelt appreciation for your beloved spouse and wedding guests. Do you want to start writing but don't know where to start? Don't worry, we've got some great tips to help you get started. Just read our guide below, try to spend some time alone, and write it one at a time.
Wedding vows are the most important and meaningful part of every wedding ceremony, so we understand if you're a bit nervous about writing your own vows. Before you give up, just think about it. In ten years, your vows will be the things you'll cherish even more than your five-tier cake and color-coordinated table settings. Just take a deep breath, go through our guide slowly, and you'll be just fine.
Step-by-step guide for writing your own wedding vows
1. Start doing some research
You can find many templates for traditional, by-the-book wedding vows online, but don't just copy them blindly without any adjustments. Use the vows as guidance to give you a bigger picture about wedding vows. Remember to always bookmark or save vows that you love to make your work a lot easier.
2. Agree on some rules with your fiancé
Do you want your future spouse to know about your special vows or do you prefer keeping them as a secret? Have you both decided on a specific style, like poetic or funny wedding vows? These days many couples tend to do away with the rules and limitations, but setting expectations is never a bad idea
3. Read dozens of wedding vow samples
Read up on as many wedding vow examples as you like, but try to limit them to the kinds of vows you are planning to say. Most brides prefer romantic vows, but if you have a fun personality, you can always incorporate some light jokes. Just remember, you'll only have around two minutes to finish your vows.
4. Write down all the ideas you can think of
Whenever you have new ideas, jot them down right away. Keep a notebook or binder at hand or use a text app on your smart phone. It's fine to have messy jumbles of text at first, as this is only the first step of writing your personalized wedding vows. Later on, you can create an outline and organize all your ideas.
5. Sort through your notes and cast out clichéd phrases
Clichéd words can sound insincere, so always try to rephrase overused phrases and tailor them to your own relationship. For instance, instead of saying "love surpasses all", you can say something like, "I promise to always be your partner in crime in creating an adventurous life free of boredom."
6. Keep it short, simple, and to the point
For wedding vows, the suggested time span is around 1 to 2 minutes for each person. Stop yourself from rambling and just keep your private inside jokes for you and your partner. It's good to have a personal touch, but don't confuse your guests and risk losing the heartfelt moment of the sacred ceremony.
7. Save a few copies of your finished vows
Feel free to write your vows on a paper napkin, post-its, or anything you can find whenever you get a sudden bout of inspiration, but don't forget to take additional notes. Type it up on your phone, send it to your own email, or save it in a document on a cloud-based service like Google Drive.
Questions to ask yourself before writing your wedding vows
To get you started, refresh the fond memories of your relationship by asking yourself the following questions. Aside from giving a smile on your face, these questions will also help you decide on what you should add to your vows.
The dos and don'ts of writing your own wedding vows
1. Do: Be personal and sincere
The whole point of writing your own vows is being yourself, so you should add your own personal touch. If you're fine with traditional vows, you can slip in romantic quotes from your favorite movie as the intro.
2. Don't: Make it too lengthy
What is touching at first can turn lackluster if it drags on. Keep your vows simple yet meaningful without taking too much time. Remember that your guests won't have the time or attention span for overly long vows.
3. Do: Try to memorize your vows
Saying your vows without reading them leaves a better impression. Imagine looking at your partner's eyes while declaring your vows, how romantic is that? Just keep practicing and you'll have them memorized in no time.
4.Don't: Add overly private inside jokes
Avoid things that only you and your partner can understand. It's good to add a personal touch, but having only the two of you laughing while all the guests are scratching their heads will make the whole situation awkward.
5. Do: Surprise your partner
State your intentions of having personal wedding vows up front, but keep the exact words under wraps before the wedding. This way, your partner will get a pleasant surprise when hearing your vows for the first time.
6. Don't: Underestimate your vows
Your vows may be short, but they're not exactly a piece of cake. Your nerves can get the better of you on your wedding day, so you should always take time to practice out loud without a cheat sheet.
7. Do: Keep calm and stay confident
This is your show, and there is no right or wrong. To deal with stage fright, try to breathe slowly, smile, and focus your eyes and thoughts on the most important person standing in front of you.
8. Don't: Forget to take notes
Any good idea that pops up in your head can be easily replaced by other thoughts about work, wedding planning, or other problems. Write notes anywhere you can; on your phone, post-its at the office, or your notebook.
9. Do: Remember to have fun
There's no better way to enjoy your own wedding than to relax and just let it flow. Even a slip of the tongue can be remembered by everyone as a lighthearted, memorable moment instead of an embarrassment.
10. Don't: Drink too much or even at all before saying your vows
Sure, a drink or two can calm you down and make you feel confident, but it's better to find more sober ways so you can stay focused. If you really must, limit your alcohol consumption to only 2 glasses.
Examples of religious and non-religious wedding vows
Giving a wedding speech is a good way to show just how much you appreciate your new spouse, your parents, your trustworthy bridal party, and all your beloved guests who especially came to celebrate your union. To create heartfelt moments and avoid embarrassing ones, just follow this guide we've prepared for you and anyone who is planning a speech on your wedding day.
The who's who of wedding speeches
Traditionally, the ones giving out speeches are the father of the bride as the host, the groom, and the best man, but these days you don't really need to follow these often outdated rules. To help you schedule and prepare your speech, here is a simple guideline for each responsible party.
Father of the bride's speech: Welcomes the guests and thanks them for coming, compliments his daughter and welcomes her new husband into the family, and ends with a toast for the happy couple.
Groom's speech or bride's speech: Traditionally, the groom responds to the father of the bride's toast. These days, sometimes both the bride and groom thank the guests, their parents, and the bridesmaids, before offering a toast together.
Best man's speech or maid of honor's speech: The best man and maid and honor thanks the groom and bride, compliments them, reads out messages from absent friends and relatives, and proposes a toast.
The steps involved in writing a wedding speech are actually not much different from the ones used for wedding vows. The main difference is how the speech is delivered, as it is usually more informal and jovial. Below, we've compiled a comprehensive guide for writing a wedding speech. Be sure to learn from it and pass it along to your partner, father, and everyone else who will be giving a speech on your wedding.
Step-by-step guide for giving a wedding speech
1. Study up on wedding speeches
Find as many examples of wedding speeches as you can and save the ones you like the most. As with the wedding vow examples, you should save or bookmark every speech for future reference.
2. Dig up some memorable anecdotes
Take some time to ask for amusing or touching insights and anecdotes from the bride and groom's family members. Remember, this doesn't mean you can snoop around for family secrets.
3. Stay organized
Take notes whenever you get ideas from books, movies, or other sources. Though they can be messy at first, try slowly organizing them once you have enough ideas.
4. Practice with the right time frame
The ideal time frame for a wedding speech is 5 to 7 minutes. As this isn't a formal speech, you can speak casually and make changes on the spot when they feel right. When practicing, try to speak out loud in front of a mirror and keep your eye contact locked to yourself. This way, you will feel less stressed out when you need to look at the guests. Record it if you need, so you can see how you performed and easily fix any awkward gestures.
5. Scout the location
Take some time to see where you are going to give your speech before the reception takes place. Check out the scenery and imagine the guests looking at you. If you have time, try to rehearse there.
6. Be confident with your speech
Start the speech by letting your guests know just how nervous you are in a humorous way. This trick acts as a simple ice breaker than can make you feel relaxed instantly. Keep your talking points on a small card or phone and maintain eye contact with the guests.
7. Use visual props
For someone who is not fully comfortable with public speaking, props can work wonders. Just prepare a slideshow filled with funny and nostalgic photos of the groom or bride to keep you company and entertain all the guests.
Questions you should ask yourself before writing a wedding speech
Whether you're the bride or groom, a family member, or part of the bridal party, asking these questions to yourself will help you get ideas for your wedding speech.
If you want to spice it up with amusing stories and anecdotes, make sure to explain them so all the guests can laugh together with you. Otherwise, you can leave them confused and stuck in an awkward situation.
2. Don't: Embarrass the couple with inappropriate stories
You might know him or her longer than they know each other, but that doesn't mean you can say anything you want. Stories of exes, bad break ups, or any below the belt digs should not be included.
3. Do: Share memorable moments
There is no better speech than one that includes poignant memories. Try to end your wedding speech on a high note by sharing a touching experience you had with the groom or bride.
4. Don't: Give cryptic messages that only you and the couple understand
It's great that you have inside jokes or secret codes that only you and the groom or bride understand. But unless you're willing to share with everyone else, just exclude them from your speech.
5. Do: Invite other family members to participate
If you're the only one giving a speech, try asking someone else, like the father of the bride and groom, to add their own stories. Make sure to limit the number of people you're asking to join in on the speech.
6. Don't: Comment on the other guests
Maybe your high school rival or that ex you hate is sitting among the guests, but your wedding speech shouldn't be used to insult them publicly. Remember that it's about the bride and groom, not about you.
How to structure your wedding speech
Now that you've figured out all the basics of creating a wedding speech, it's time to start putting your thoughts into writing. To keep your words organized and easy to understand, just follow the basic wedding speech structure below.
Still can't get those creative juices flowing? Don't worry, you still have plenty of time. Even if your wedding is less than 6 months away, we're sure you'll make it in time. As with any case of writer's block, all you need to do is relax, have a notebook ready at all times, and get inspired. A fun way is to read plenty of books, watch a lot of movies, and look through famous quotes. If you're wondering about the best sentence to start with, you can quote the romantic quotes we've collected for you below.
There you have it, all you need to know about writing your own wedding vows and speeches. Do you have any other romantic quotes you'd like to add to your vows? Any funny or touching anecdotes for your wedding speech? Share your stories on the comments section below.