It can be really intimidating to have the deepest conversation of your life with everyone watching, but when its written from the heart, it will melt your audience. My 'how to personalize your ceremony page' has three videos to help you with creating the content, but here are a few logistics to help you with the process.
1. Don't Google Anything! At least not right away: I have a whole blog on this, but the actual words should come from within you and not sound like you've stolen words from poetry or songs. Be 'engaged' with your thoughts and make a laundry list of words and phrases that capture your feelings. Only once you have a good base, consider the internet for fillers.
2. Start Now: There are a lot of last minute details and distractions that arise in the weeks before your big day. You don't want to feel rushed, and you'll gleam more key points if you add them slowly over your period of engagement. Think of it like a living document that you can keep adding to as new thoughts and feelings come up for you.
3. Are you going to share? Decide between the two of you if you will share your vows ahead of time. If you are not, determine the number of the words you'll each have, so have a similar balance. Try 266 words (or not!)
4. Go down memory lane: This is a great excuse to go out for a romantic dinner out and spend the whole night asking each other about your favourite things about each other. What do you value about having them in your life. What strengths do they bring to your weaknesses? What are your favourite memories? What obstacles have you overcome as a team because you work well with each other in times of stress or chaos.
5. Book a finalizing night: Book off a night off to pull all of your phrases together and pick out the most important points. An outline can get you started by helping to establish a structure. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiancé is and then about how you work together as a couple; pause to quote your favourite writer and then go into your promises to them.
6. Consider your vibe: What overall tone you want to achieve. Funny, touching, poetic, romantic? Do you want to tell your love story?
7. Humour (and an important key point!): Limit inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words. If you opt for anything funny, its best to make fun of yourself rather than your future spouse (for example: “I promise to love you, and cherish you, but I cannot promise to remember to return my wine glasses to the dishwasher at the end of the night.") If you do make fun of your spouse, only do it when you are stating how you will help them with that flaw. (for example: “I promise to love you, and cherish you, and I will always collect your wine glasses and take them to the dishwasher at the end of the night.")
8. Know when to breath: Read your vows out loud to make sure they flow, but also recognize when you might get emotional. Insert a moment to remind yourself to breath!
Finally, if you don't choose me as your Officiant, make sure your Officiant will actually allow personalized vows during the ceremony!