Groomsmen's Blog

How to Write Great Wedding Vows (Without Using Mad Libs)

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If your bride-to-be is anything like the multitudes of women who demand nothing less than the dream wedding, the wedding she has kept meticulously journaled in her Polly Pocket diary since elementary school, chances are she has taken care of everything. Location? Check. Invitations? Check. Caterers, seating arrangements, DJ playlist? Check, check, check. You may have at one time been responsible for procuring the ring, but chances are she took over that too, slipping subtle hints of cut and color, maybe even sketching out a diagram and putting it in your wallet (if not, check out some helpful suggestions for buying engagement rings from the groomsman gift experts).

Uh oh.

If she is marrying you for any other reasons than your wily wit with words or your ability to wax poetic at a moment's notice, this may seem a daunting task. Fear not! Following a few helpful guidelines might make the difference between snores from the guests and the future Mrs. You's tears of sentimental joy.

 

Four Steps To Tear-jerking Wedding Vows

 

Start now. Right now, if not yesterday. Or the day before. Putting off the vows may be the point of conflict in many a sitcom, but don't count on inspiration striking as you walk down the aisle and then winging it.

This is not a suggestion to start crafting draft upon draft of prose, but start jotting down some points you would like to make. Having a bank of phrases, moments, and memories to drawn from will be crucial as you start constructing your final draft. Hint: "I love you so much" is a good place to start.

Your vows should be unique, personal, and customized to your relationship. It doesn't matter how nice it sounds, if the climax of the speech is the romantic sunset you two shared on a beach, there is nothing stopping her from removing you from the memory and inserting Rick or James or Paolo from two summers ago into the same idyllic setting. Idyllic is not the basis of your marriage. Share the points that you love about her and your relationship that are specifically yours. Beaches are not yours. They belong to every new couple ever. Maybe you can make a promise that in married life you won't come to bed angry. Share an anecdote about the first time you noticed how she held a pencil or cut up her cucumber and then fell in love. By all means avoid When Harry Met Sally as your muse, but ask yourself: "What defines our love?" When you have your answer, you have your vows.

 

Keep your audience in mind, especially if the wedding consists of any guests beyond two witnesses and a priest dressed as Elvis. Filling your vows with quirky inside jokes might mean a lot to your lady, but this wedding isn't only about the two of you (no matter what anyone may say). You have your whole future to spend just the two of you. Right now you have Grandma Sue in the front row, and you need to make sure that she, as well as your bride, is clear on what is being said. Sprinkle your vows with anecdotes and memories, but make sure they are the types of things Grandma Sue can at least imagine being a part of. There is nothing more alienating (and therefore boring) than not knowing what is going on.

Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Do it once more for good measure. You don't need to memorize what you want to say, but it is worth it that you don't stumble over the words you so painstakingly put together. Better yet, practice in front of one person who is a better writer and public speaker than you - perhaps a poetic groomsman. He will be able to help you think of ways to really wow, be it with comprehensibility, language, or a tricky section of alliteration. Treat him to a fabulous groomsman gift as your way of saying "thanks!"

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