It may be a month, a week, or the night before the wedding. Your trashcan is full of crumpled first-attempts, the newest blank page is staring you down and suddenly the phrase “Webster’s Dictionary defines love as…” is starting to look like a pretty strong opening.
Whether you write for a living, aced high school English, or can’t string prose together to save your life, writers block hits all of us. Especially when you’ll be reading it out to a room of expectant people and have no clue what your spouse has up their sleeve. Lucky for you, we’ve put together the best tips for getting past your vow-writing worries!
Sit through enough English classes and you will have encountered this top-notch technique. Sit down at your writing pad, laptop, typewriter or phone, set a timer for 2 minutes (or more if you feel fired up!) and start writing with your partner in mind. Don’t stop for even a second until the timer goes off. You may go on a tangent, cut between thoughts and memories or write absolute nonsense. Often the pressure of writing vows makes our mind freeze, so continuous writing exercises help kick-start us into a creative headspace.
A great way to start writing vows is with some simple questions. Try asking yourself, when did you realise you were in love? Is there a specific moment or memory that comes to mind? What parts of their character do you love the most or admire? What parts of your life together are you looking forward to?
Steal from the greats
Now, this is not an excuse to take an entire monologue from the Notebook. But, if you share a favourite song with your spouse, or know a poem, book or movie that captures how you feel in a creative way, then go ahead and steal a line (or two!). Whether you include it in your vows, or simply use it as a prompt to start writing!
Tap into your emotions
Don’t be scared to pull up some nostalgic photos, reflect on some memories and think about how your relationship makes you feel. Does being with that person make you feel protected? Adventurous? Encouraged? Or, as John Green so eloquently puts it, infinite?
Avoid clichés… at all costs…
Aside from being cringe-worthy, you’ll want to avoid clichés because honestly? They’re a bit of a cheat. Tapping into common expressions like ‘love at first sight’ and ‘swept me off my feet’ may seem fitting and sweet, but lacks any personal touch or imagination. Instead, try putting it into your own words. Trust us, a few raw and honest words are far more meaningful than polished clichés.
Keep it tight
It is your vows, not a thesis on why your spouse is the greatest. It’s also not one or two hasty bullet points you scrawled on a napkin that morning. Usually, one or two minutes is enough time to say your piece, so discuss it with your partner and agree on a similar length.
At the end of the day, vows are about professing how you love this other person, and how you’re going to love them through your life together. It’s not a sonnet out of Shakespeare or a submission for a Booker Prize. So whether you and your spouse are a little nerdy, playful, extroverted or reserved, your vows should be a representation of that. Let your words be genuine and authentic, not impressive or performative.
So put down your screen, stop procrasti-reading articles about wedding vows and start getting creative!