Bride Giving a Speech Photo by Ralph Heinze
Looking for some unique wedding ceremony traditions? Why not write your own wedding vows.

By writing your own vows you can truly customize your ceremony to reflect the individuality of you and your partner.

Several of the couples I interviewed for Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style wrote their own vows, and were very pleased with the outcome.

For Xan and Keely, the exchange of their self-written vows was the most powerful part of their intimate wedding.

“They were the most meaningful words I have ever uttered. I could hear myself say them, and wow, it was amazing,” says Keely. “In those few minutes that we swore to share our lives, my life took on new meaning.”

Charles and Lynette also wrote their own vows. This not only added intimacy to the ceremony, it made it more meaningful and emotional.

“We did not share them with one another beforehand. He read his first and he was on the verge of tears … Then, when it was time for me to read mine, I had to take what seemed like an eternity to compose myself because I was about to start bawling,” says Lynette. “I am one that rarely shows emotion like that, but I was so moved I almost could not contain myself.”

If you feel this is one of the unique ceremony traditions you’d like to incorporate into your wedding, there are some things to keep in mind.

It can be time consuming – If you’re a perfectionist, and you feel as though you REALLY need to nail down precisely how you feel about your partner, the writing process could take a while. The solution: Keep it simple.

It can be difficult, especially if you don’t enjoy writing. Love is a hard thing to put down on paper – even for those who make careers out of putting words together. If you’re the type that has difficulty expressing yourself in words, writing your own vows could be a horribly laborious process. The solution: Instead of starting off by writing the vows, simply write down how you feel about your partner, and your upcoming marriage. What does it mean to you? You could also start out by writing a love letter to your beloved, then take the essence of it, and apply it to your vows. An even simpler route is to find some samples of vows that you like, either through books or on the Internet, and improvise.

It can rattle your nerves – Do you have stage fright? Does the thought of speaking in front of a group of people give you the jitters? If you’ve written your own vows, you might feel extra nervous about delivering them, especially since they will be so emotionally charged. The solution: Keep it short. Also, if you don’t want the added pressure of memorizing your vows, use note cards.

If you are looking for ideas to get you started there are various websites that offer sample vows.

Also, check with your clergy first. Some of the more traditional clergy might discourage you from writing your own vows, as ours did. Make sure you mention it early on in the planning .

Photo: Ralph Heinze Photography