You’ve planned the cake, the dress, the invites. You’ve even got your head round the seating plan. But have you thought about the promise itself? Getting married centres round a mutual vow that you’ll want to put your heart and soul behind. Many couples choose to tie the knot at Tower Hill Barns because of the flexibility and creativity we offer for them to make the day their own. So why not consider making the declaration itself a unique thing of beauty that you came up with yourselves. That way when you make your commitment, you, and all your guests, will know you’re turning a brand new page together that’s never been turned before.
Talk about wedding vows before you write them
Don’t start scribbling until you’ve had a chat with your partner. Find out how they feel about writing personal wedding vows. Some people find it too stressful to think about composing their heartfelt thoughts for strangers to hear, especially on a day when there will be so much else to think about. Don’t let it become a big thing if there’s a strong difference of opinion between you. Just find a way to personalise your promises that fits your relationship.
Find out any obligations that will apply to your wedding vows
Whoever is officiating, you’ll need to double check first of all that you’re allowed to use your own words. Some wedding traditions and ceremonies have rules or expectations that could limit your creative scope; it’s part of what you’ll have weighed up when you made your booking. There will probably be at least some official phrase that needs to be incorporated, although you could choose to leave that aspect entirely to the minister or official who is marrying you, leaving you free to compose an entirely creative paragraph that says only what you want it to say. But check first.
Make your wedding vows appropriate for the occasion
Remember your wedding promises will be spoken in the hearing of witnesses as well as your future spouse. There’s a bit of a difference between declaring your love in a card or a whisper, and making a public statement that could be videoed and replayed in the future. So find the right balance between sharing your innermost thoughts, and just writing something that feels true that you won’t mind being quoted on. On the other hand, it’s really up to you. If a true romantic can’t pour their feelings out in public on their wedding day, then when can they?!
Promises are promises. Future-proof your vows
Wedding vows are different to speeches. You probably won’t want to include a joke, although a gently amusing reference could be exactly what makes it your own. Remember though that wedding day vows are serious promises. Some couples feel strongly about including the word ‘obey’ in the traditional wording. Others raise a giggle by promising always to wash up or put the bins out. Just think carefully before you include a throwaway comment for the sake of a laugh or tradition. You don’t want to say something frivolous that becomes unhelpful in the future when you remember you made it part of your wedding vow!
Quote a line that means something special
Take inspiration from the world of poetry or song. Including an aptly chosen poetic line or verse could set off your homemade words beautifully. Poet Carol Ann Duffy published a few suggestions in the Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/23/wedding-carol-ann-duffy-poetry] but spend some time on the internet or looking through your favourite mp3 playlist and the chances are you’ll stumble over a line or two that hits the spot.
Grab a good friend and a clock for a trial run
Vows mustn’t be too long – especially if you’re intending to memorise them. Time your reading. Go at a reasonable speed, leave pauses as appropriate, and don’t rush. You’ll probably be surprised how much longer it takes to speak those few sentences aloud than it took silently in your head. Remember there’s always the reception if you come up with masses more you’d like to say. If you can bear it, ask a good friend to listen and tell you what they think. Better to edit while you can than keep your vows private until the ceremony.
At Tower Hill Barns we welcome couples who insist on the personal touch. We’ll be proud to offer our ambient surroundings for your beautifully crafted wedding vows to be exchanged.