If you're not familiar with my "When You'd Rather Not…" series, I encourage you to read the backstory and see which other wedding resources I've covered.
Writing your wedding vows inspires a special form of writer's block.
How exactly do you capture the beautiful muddle of emotions that you feel for this person with whom you plan to spend the rest of your life? And even if you can get words down, how do you possibly say them in front of a crowd? Without sobbing the whole time?
I can't answer the last question, but I can help with the first two.
I don't recommend this lightly but seriously, Pinterest can help here. One of the best sets of vows I ever heard came from the infamously overstimulating website. How'd the couple find the right words? A little Googling of "Pinterest wedding vows."
The results involve a lot of fancy fonts and beautiful backdrops but if you can get past the schmaltz, there's inspiration afoot.
Take it. Play with it. Blend a few options together. The point is to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it's helpful to realize what you don't want to say. Writing from a place of "avoid all music lyrics" can significantly expedite your writing process and even make it a little fun.
Hire a professional
Lots of services will write your vows for you (or toasts for your guests).
"Farm out my feelings?" you say. Hardly.
These are professionals who, like any good speechwriter, take what you say and distill it to its clearest and, importantly, most coherent form.
I know of two such vow writing services: XO Juliet and Vow Muse. I've only worked with the later. (Full disclosure: They've published my work on their blog.) Here's what I can tell you about working with the founders, Alicia Ostarello and Angie Sommer: They get it.
The aim of Vow Muse, they say, is to help people think more holistically about their weddings. The company offers different customizable packages that range from $35 toolkits to $1,800 for "the whole enchilada" — a refreshing menu in an industry that's often bound by a single way of doing things.
Vow Muse also gives a lot away for free including downloadable PDFs that cover speech coaching tips and recommended readings. (In exchange for the download, you give Vow Muse your email address.)
Not into it?
Nobody says you have to write your own vows. In fact, there are plenty of built-in options you can use without being any less romantic.
Having been to more than a few weddings, let me tell you: The exact words don't matter. What matters is how you feel. That feeling will last much longer than any memory of who said what.
Have something to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org