weddings

A celebrant shares her tips for how to write perfect wedding vows.

After marrying couples for almost a decade, Sydney-based wedding celebrant Melissa Soncini still loves wedding vows. Whether they’re modern or traditional, funny or romantic, it’s often the most touching part of the entire ceremony.

Which is precisely why some people find them so daunting to write. How do you capture your love for someone in a few sentences?

Video by Mamamia

Well, if you’re curious how to write your own wedding vows, Soncini says the secret is simple: it’s all about authenticity.

How to write wedding vows: an expert’s tips.

1. Use your own words.

“Where people fail is where they use other people’s words it doesn’t show their personality,” Soncini told Mamamia.

A good wedding celebrant should give couples a variety of examples and Google has a few too, but if the words don’t fit the couple, it just won’t work.

“Keep it real and speak from the heart, because not only will your partner know you’re faking it – so will all your family and friends,” Soncini added.

2. Be true to who you are.

Soncini wants couples to know that there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all vows.

“The way that you show your love and your love identity can be done in so many different ways.  So if expressing your love means [promising] you ‘will kill the spiders’ then that, to me, is love,” she said.

“Some celebrants are quite funny and won’t let people have jovial vows, they think it’s disrespectful, but I don’t think that.”

3. Don’t pad them out.

Soncini says she is constantly asked how long wedding vows should be.  Her answer is always the same: “The vows should be three kisses long,” she says.

But how long is that?

“How long is a kiss? I don’t know. You just have to say what you need to say from the heart. If it’s three lines or three pages just say what you have to say.

“Don’t pad it out for the sake of padding it out. Don’t make it shorter because you want the ceremony to be short, because the vows are the highlight of the whole ceremony. People want to hear you speak.  If you’re shy people, don’t go on with syrupy stories or examples about how your love is the best thing in the whole world.”

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4. Get on the same page as your fiancé/e.

Even if you’re planning on keeping your wedding vows secret until the day, it’s worth checking in with your partner to ensure they’re similar in length and tone.

Soncini may have saved a few marriages before they began when couples failed to do this. In one example, a bride had written brief wedding vows while the groom had three pages of rhyming couplets.

“Make sure there in tune with each other so one’s not haha-funny ‘I’ll kill all the cockroaches’ or ‘I’ll promise to love you more than my shoe collection’ or ‘I’ll promise to bring you a beer if the Shark’s lose their grand final’, then the other one says ‘In sickness and in health, I’ll support you and stand beside you’.”

5. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your vows.

Send your vows to your celebrant early, so they can compare them and give you feedback ahead of the day.

In the case of the misaligned vows mentioned above, the couple was able to revisit them and rearrange the order of the ceremony, so that the bride read her shorter vows first.

Is it appropriate to outsource the writing of your wedding vows? Mamamia Out Loud discuss.

Is there anything you have to include when writing wedding vows?

Wedding vows traditionally contain promises, but they don’t have to and you don’t even have to say “I do”.

“You must say: ‘I call upon the people here present to witness that I, (bride or groom), take you, (bride or groom), to be my wedded wife or husband.’  The rest can be up to you, Soncini says.

“People don’t realise that sometimes people think that when you answer ‘I do’ that’s your vows, but that’s because of cheesy American movies – it’s not a legal requirement. Neither are wedding rings. People don’t know that,” Soncini says.

The celebrant could get a wedding done in about 60 seconds, legally.

What are examples of the best wedding vows?

Soncini has seen countless weddings, but is often still moved by the vows.

She conducts weddings for same-sex couples and ceremonies that include a variety of religious and cultural beliefs. She loves it when people are true to themselves.

Just recently, she says she saw one of the most beautiful exchanges at a same-sex ceremony. One of the groom’s parents refused to be at the wedding and didn’t support the union.

“He said: ‘I’m just so sorry my family’s not here to celebrate our union with us, because they can’t see what a beautiful man you are and what you mean to me and how happy you make me. They will never get to see…’ and he went on to describe the beautiful qualities of his partner and it was just so beautiful the way that he did it.”

Again, ultimately it’s about being who you truly are as individuals and as a couple.

“Make it authentic,” she said. “Bring your ribbon sticks, bring your maracas, let’s have a party and celebrate what your love is made of.”

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