The right words, in the right place at the right time.
The vows are important, as a legal component is called the monitum, or in other words the promises for brides and grooms to each other on that special day.
The right words, in the right place at the right time.
How do you write the all-important, once-in-a lifetime words and make sure you fill your vows with significance and meaning?
When it comes to the most important words you will ever need to write in your life, writer’s block is understandable. Take heart. This happens to the most experienced wordsmith … frequently. Blank-page syndrome is the scourge of every writer. We find the best way to start is to start. As long as you have some words on the page, you’re off and racing.
Often you’ll find you have a jumble of thoughts and emotions. You jot down a few thoughts but they don’t sound right. So you need to think about the tone. Then there’s the question of humour, or simply too many ideas – from the kooky and quirky to romantic tear-jerkers.
Add to that the pressure of knowing there is only one take and that this is a declaration in front of your nearest and dearest – and you are in the spotlight.
When you’re putting pen to paper, or tapping something into your phone or tablet, accept that nerves are part of the writing process. We like to say that good writing is about editing. Writing a piece is a process and the ten stages of writing look something like this:
1. Blank mind: You have no idea of what to write or where to start.
2. Midnight genius: You’re wide awake, when great ideas, brilliant snippets and creative turns of phrase whirl around your midnight brain.
3. Forgotten wisdom: The new ideas that half formed at midnight are lost and your scribbles, diagrams and jottings on the bedside notepad make no sense.
4. Frustration exasperation: This is where you berate yourself that the words in your head don’t translate to the page and despair of ever finding the right things to say.
5. Wonder doubt: You’ll wonder how can 700, or so words be so difficult to write and start thinking about alternatives such as outsourcing or using what’s already on the internet. But remember; yours should be unique to you and your partner.
6. Mass overload: You write down every thought, every idea and end up with a torrent of words and phrases – this is a good starting point.
7. Quiet zone: You’re in the zone, the mood is right, pen or keyboard is poised with real words flowing and you’re actually getting them onto the page.
8. Bullet bite: There’s a bullet list that has a beginning, middle and end and words are forming around each point.
9. Matching sentences: You find the sentiment that reflects your true feelings. The words flow easily and the sentences start to come together and match the mood.
10. Honed polish: You work on a few more drafts, find just the right words and tone and it reads just as you had intended. Pat yourself on the back.
Practice, practice and more practice…with your celebrant
It’s a good idea to ensure your vows and those of your intended are of a similar length and tone. Ideally, keep your vows to about two minutes each so you don’t have one of you orating some beautifully succinct sentiments and the other with a much longer recital.
Memorise your vows. They will be more meaningful and in the moment. Plus, when you don’t have to read them from a card, you’ll feel more confident and can inject more sentiment to the words you’re speaking. We recommend that you record yourself saying your vows and practise, practise, practise. Professional speakers practise in front of a mirror. You might not feel comfortable doing this but it’s a great method to help the words go into your ‘muscle memory’.
The Joker in the pack
Handle humour with care. If comedy is your shtick, fine; if it’s not, this is not the time to try being a stand-up comedian. Save that for the speeches when your guests will be more receptive and more likely to see the funny side. Humour rarely travels well. What is amusing to you may not be to your guests and critically, may not be well received by your new spouse. If you use humour in your vows, ensure your partner is on board and your partner’s vows show a similar vein of humour.
Personality on show
This is the time for individuality. That can mean being incredibly intimate and romantic or using words that signify a lot to your partner and relate to elements of your life, your love and your future hopes and dreams. Vows can be quirky and cute and reflect the nature of your personalities. It’s time for originality and personality, so try not to Google Best Vows Ever Written, the night before your wedding day.
Made to remember
Look into your partner’s eyes as you say the vows just as you would hope your partner’s attention is wholly on you too.
The vows are to your partner. They will be remembered for ever. It’s the promise, the big idea. It’s what you mean to each other – keep your partner top of mind when it comes to writing as well as reading the vows and it’s a guarantee of success.
A wedding without vows is just a celebration
For the marriage to be legal in Australia, both of you must say the words which are known as the vows or the monitum as it is legally known.
The Monitum (Latin for 'warning') informs the wedding couple of the legal and binding obligations of marriage within Australia. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
The legal words will need to be said before your own at that all important time in the ceremony.
Rely on your celebrant
Your celebrant has heard, and probably written, more vows than anyone you know. What’s more, they know all the do’s and don’ts, tips and tricks. It’s all part of our celebrant’s kit bag and we’ll be happy to help with suggestions and even write them for you.
No matter where you are in the writing process, from point 1. Blank page to 10. Honed and polished, we guarantee that our celebrants will be able to give you invaluable feedback. Use your celebrant as a sounding board. We’re impartial and professional and want the day to be the best for you both.