Today we’re happy to feature Katelyn Stanis, professional vow writer and owner of Wedding Words. I came across her beautiful work awhile back and, ever since, I’ve recommended her services to my couples who need a little extra help putting together their wedding vows. I also highly recommend getting in touch with Katelyn if you’re a maid of honor, best man, or father of the bride and you’re looking to add a little something special to your speech!
In today’s blog, Katelyn provides some of her best tips to write your wedding vows. Oh, and if you’re already a poet-and-you-know-it and you won’t be needing the help of a professional like Katelyn, I think you’ll still find this post very helpful!
Lastly, I want to wish each one of you and your loved ones health and safety during these incredibly challenging times. Be sure to check out our holistic wedding planning services page and see how could we make your wedding journey extra special.
Photo Credit: Molly Lichten
Wedding vows can really be any length but they should never be longer than 5 to 6 minutes. After that, you will likely start to lose focus and the words will become less impactful.
Many couples write words of affirmation in their vows. While this is great, your vows should include more. Specifically, they should include promises. After all, this is a vow which essentially is just a promise.
I recommend including three to six specific promises. If you want some of the promises to be funny or more playful, aim for 80% of the promises to be on the serious side to ensure they stand the test of time and will represent your marriage long term.
Photo Credit: Molly Lichten
While my expertise is in custom vow writing, I do work with couples to edit vows they have already written.
I never recommend that couples or their wedding party memorize their vows or speeches.
The problem with memorization is this: if you mess up or forget one word, you are completely thrown off. This can prevent you from moving forward or from really being present for this special moment.
Instead, read your vows from a vow book or a printed piece of paper. Do not read your vows from your phone. It looks impersonal and like you’re disconnected from the moment. Plus, the back-light from your device can discolor your face in photos and videos.
Instead of trying to memorize your vows, practice reciting them out loud three to six times. This will allow you to feel comfortable and the words will sound more polished.
Photo Credit: Feeling Wedding Films
It’s ultimately up to you but keeping your vows a secret from your partner until you recite them for the first time during the ceremony is definitely my preference. It adds to the specialness of the ceremony. You should align on a few things though before you begin writing: length, tone, and structure.
Whether it’s for a maid of honor speech or a best man speech, be sure to include specific and short stories that demonstrate positive qualities about the bride or groom. For example, when you went on that camping trip with the groom, you saw how resourceful he was and you know he’ll bring that same level of creative problem solving to his marriage.
Aim to talk for less than five to six minutes and be sure to balance humor with some serious aspects too.
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