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To Write or Not to Write…
A reflection about the perilous task of writing one's marital vows

In today's era of modern weddings that are anything but passe, the newest tradition has been that of reverting back to your roots. That's right, everywhere you look traditional black and white are back in style and bigger than ever. But that doesn't mean the rest of your ceremony needs to follow the impetuous monotony of verbatim vows, stiff collared attendants, and ridiculously slow music that all aid to lull people to sleep. That's not to say either that tradition is boring and forgettable. In fact, a swift clean traditional ceremony can often be refreshing after a myriad of ultra-modern grand ceremonies. Nevertheless when it comes to the actual ceremonial part, i.e. the part where the priest/pastor/cantor/judge starts to speak, it's not wrong to admit that most people begin to nod off and dream of better things to come; like the reception. So spice things up a bit by twisting the traditional just a tad via writing your own vows. Who knows you just might keep a few people's attention throughout the entire ceremony! Tout chez!

Often enough the thought of writing one's own vows sends a person into a flurry of panic. Which, frankly, shouldn't have to be the case. Instead of fearing to fail at the attempt, embrace the possibility of saying something to your partner they have never heard before. Quite often, especially on the male's half, they feel pressured, inartistic, clumsy, and emotionally concealed. "I can't think, therefore I can't write". Moreover, this fear of disappointing their partner usually transcends into many other facets of their relationship, including the repeated discussions about how the female counterpart wishes their partner could just tell them how they truly feel. What better opportunity to do so than in your vows?

(Note, every once in a while the problem is reversed when you get an emotionally guarded female in the relationship. That being the case, however, the suggestion of writing one's own vows usually isn't brought up as purely defensive on her behalf. But if you as a male feel it would be beneficial for your ceremony, politely suggest the option and discuss the possibility anyways. Personal growth is important on both halves of the relationship.)

It's true you love your partner, but just how much exactly? What metaphors come to mind? What extremes do you conjure when trying to express how far you would go for that person? What part of him/her gives you the inspiration to continue each day and makes you smile when you wake up? What's the first thing about your partner you either recognize or think about consistently, their defining characteristic if you will? Try to keep some of these questions in mind to help you start tailoring your vows exactly to your partner.

In addition, a few conversations may need to take place where the two of you bounce ideas back and forth until you come up with a clear cut idea of not only how you feel, but why you feel the way you do, what made you feel that way, and when you started to feel that way. These are all pivotal inclusions for the vows.

If you are still lost here are a few questions to keep in mind when tackling this project. But always try to remember that the glass if half full. Simply by agreeing to go through with the vow writing process already puts you a step ahead of most in the creative department. There's hope for you yet. Use the following suggestions as helpful guidelines and you should be on your way to moving your bride/groom-to-be and the whole audience...

Questions to keep in mind:

- What dreams do you/they have?

- What goals do the two of you share?

- How has your life perspective changed since meeting your partner?

- How was your life perspective before?

- How have you grown in the relationship?

- What makes your relationship unique, to you?

- What special moments helped confirm your feelings about your partner?

- What do you look forward to in the future with your new partner to join your side?

- What is inspirational about your partner?

- How did you know you were in love, where, when, why?

- When did you two first meet?

- What made you two begin and continue a relationship?

- Why can't you live without this person?