Writing Vows the Easy Way
23 JAN 2018 – Tips and Articles – by Jennifer Cram – Brisbane Marriage Celebrant
Right up there with the fear of speaking in public/making a speech, the thought of writing their own vows seems to make brides and groom quake in their boots.
Yet, approached in the right frame of mind, writing your personal promises can be remarkably easy. It is all about the partnership between you and your celebrant, about working together to craft the immeasurably magic moment in which your focus is totally on one another as you speak your commitment. The moment that your guests look forward to. The moment your photographer and videographer depend on for emotional reactions.
In a civil ceremony your love story is an integral part of the ceremony. This frees you up to concentrate on your promises. The model of personal vows that movies, TV programs, and US based websites present, however, is predicated on the assumption that your personal vows will be the only opportunity to share your story, and the only place in your ceremony where promises will be made.
Let’s digress for a moment to talk about what vows are. Put simply they are your performance targets for your marriage. Your commitment to what sort of person you are going to be within the marriage, and how you are going to behave towards one another.
Once you get your heads around that, you’re ready to write your vows the easy way. The magic word is dotpoints.
Sit down with paper and pen. And set the timer on your smart phone to five minutes. Yes, that’s all you’ll need for this first, and most important, phase.
Ask yourself – what behaviours am I committing to? You’ll find that they will spring to mind very easily, if you challenge yourself to fill in the blank in this sentence –
I will be ________
Write them down as dotpoints.
Read the list over. You’ll most likely notice one thing – all the words will relate to the big things, the serious promises. The behaviours that, no matter what life throws at you, will be easy to maintain because they spring from love and respect.
At this point you and your partner can compare lists and amalgamate them, so that the vows you make speak not only to your commitment, but to equality and mutuality in your marriage. At that point you can either work together to put your commitment into sentences that flow, or you can hand over to your celebrant to do that for you.
But what about funny personal quirky promises? The ones which, ironically enough, are harder to keep when life takes over, and therefore easier to break than promises about faithfulness, respect, trust, kindness and the other behaviours within your marriage?
Now is the time to pour the wine, grab a beer, or fill up the coffee mug, and settle down for a longer stint. Let your imagination run away with you. Think about the quirky things you do as a couple. Something that makes your partner perfect for you. What you appreciate about your partner. Unexpected promises that might raise a laugh. Write more dotpoints. It is quite all right to keep these secret because what you are going to do with them is hand them over to your celebrant with the request that they be woven into the Affirmation of Intention (The I Do questions sometimes referred to as the Asking).
And there you have it. The easy way to write powerful personal vows that just happens to be the easiest way to speak them as well!
PS: If you would like assistance with writing your vows or are looking for a Marriage Celebrant in Brisbane then I would love to hear from you!
Jennifer Cram, Authorised Marriage Celebrant
Author of How to Write Vows that WOW; The Gay Groom’s Guide to Writing Your Vows; The Lesbian Bride’s Guide to Writing Your Vows
Photo by Scott Lawler Photography
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