Self-written wedding vows don't have to be poetic, just honest
I am getting married in two months, and my fiance and I have decided to write our own vows.
He wants them to be a surprise. I am no poet. Are there any good ways to ensure the vows are compatible, without ruining his emotional moment?
If the surprise element is stressing the poetry out of you, then tell him that, and ask to make it a joint project. You can still love and appreciate his preference for surprise while respecting your own limits.
If you're game to try, though, then you might want to start by getting inspiration. Favorite songs, poems, novels, all can offer passages that work as starting points. Get online and read through other people's vows, and keep an eye out for one you can use as a skeleton -- it's OK to put your own words into an existing framework.
Also consider working from a list of the things you love about him. I know you don't feel like a poet, but often the best words are right there, in the plainest truth.
So, scribble out your thoughts, then go back and take out the cliches by asking yourself, is this really the best word? English is such a vast language, you can have 10 words that express the same concept with 10 subtle shadings, and finding just the right variation is often what gives writing its emotional power. Just be careful to write from your experience, not your thesaurus.
My wife and I were going to write our own surprise vows. I did mine. She got writer's block. She was also working full time, planning the wedding (I can barely plan lunch ... ), planning her family's travel. Two days before the wedding she told me she just couldn't do it.
I told her no problem, we could just use some of the suggested options given to us by the priest. After the rehearsal dinner, she asked to see what I had written. We ended up both using mine.
Talk to your future husband. His surprise is not as important as your sanity. But you have to let him know that it is causing you grief for him to act.
-- Anonymous So much better when it's firsthand. Thanks.
Oh wow, this reminds me of a truly wonderful set of surprise vows I witnessed several years ago. The couple agreed to list the things they love about each other. I will never, ever forget the joy in my heart and HUGE lump in my throat that came as I watched the groom fall to PIECES reading his list. It started off with, "I love you because you've worn the same beat-up T-shirt to bed for as long as I've known you," and it went on from there. Not poetry, just intensely sweet, genuine honesty. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.
-- Anonymous 2 ... which can either inspire her, or terrify her. But it is a wonderful story, thanks. Many readers also suggested having a trusted third party read both sets to catch any mismatches in tone.