Wedding 101: Writing Your Own Ceremony and Vows

Imagine knowing you’re about to stand up in front of everyone you know and have to talk and not mess up what you say because people will remember it forever and ever and ever and ever. Okay. They won’t remember it forever, unless you mess up and call someone the wrong name. (Lookin’ at you, Ross.)

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For couples choosing to get married in a church, this is never even a thought in their mind. They know that their priest/minister/pastor/clergy will have it covered. They have a specific format in which they follow, and all they really need to think about is which readings and songs they might like to have.

But for those of us that don’t get married in a church, it can be SO STRESSFUL trying to plan your ceremony. First off, who the heck is going to marry you? And once you have that figured out, you have to actually write your ceremony. Who will say what? Will you have readings? Prayers? Are you writing your own vows or taking traditional ones? Are you planning on a sand ceremony? Yikes. Just thinking about all of this again is making my heart beat faster.

For me, while writing my wedding ceremony, I had one saving grace… Pinterest. Let’s all take a moment and thank the Pinterest Gods for sending such beautiful information our way. Without it, I don’t think I’d have even known where to begin. There was SO MUCH information out there, that it was really hard to weed through. So today, I thought I’d put it into one post, so that you don’t have to spend hours scrolling through people’s wedding boards. You’re Welcome.

First things first, get yourselves someone to marry you. It can literally be anyone. If you want a professional, ask your venue who they might recommend. I know that ours gave us a list of people in Northern Michigan that were ordained. However, we wanted our wedding to be more personal. Meet Amy!

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Trev’s big cousin, and someone we love so very much! But, we didn’t just choose Amy because we love her. She has a presence about her that draws everyone in when she starts to talk. She has an absolute heart of gold, and she’s super easy going. We knew that these qualities would come through during our ceremony, and we wanted someone who would make us smile and keep us calm all at the same time. When it comes to choosing your officiant…

  • Figure out what kind of ceremony you want, and pick someone that matches it. Do you want to keep people laughing and smiling through it? Maybe you want something really traditional. Find an officiant who’s personality matches the feel you’re looking for.
  • Make sure you are comfortable around them. If you’re choosing a family member or close friends, chances are this won’t be an issue. However, if you’re choosing someone from a list of people, make sure you’ve met them at least once before your big day.
  • Know the rules in the state you’re getting married. Make sure that if you’ve asked your brother to marry you, your state recognizes online ministers, so that your wedding is legal.

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Once you’ve chosen your officiant, it’s time to write you ceremony. If you’ve chosen a pro, chances are, they will already have their ceremony ready to go, and will be able to easily guide your through the process. But for people like us, we had to write the entire thing. The best thing about writing your own ceremony narrative is that you get to make it 100% you. Do you love The Princess Bride? Is your thing watching Star Wars Movies together? Whatever defines the two of you as a couple can be put into your ceremony. It can be customized to fit you. It can be super long, or less than 5 minutes. Whatever you want, you can have. But writing your ceremony is tough. How are you supposed to put your love into words? First thing you have to do?

Start with the “big picture” for your ceremony. What do you want it to include? How do you want it to flow? Think about your ceremony as a whole. You can fill in the details later. Make a list of everything you want, and then arrange it to structure the ceremony. Don’t worry about details. Just decide on the “can’t miss” things. Our outline looked like this:

  • String Trio begins before guests are seated.
  • Usher’s seat guests.
  • Parents are ushered in.
  • Amy and Trevor walk in.
  • Processional Begins.
    • Garland Girls
    • Maid of Honor and Best Man
    • Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
    • Savannah and her Dad
  • Welcome
  • Readings
  • Vows
  • Declaration of Marriage
  • Recessional, guests to “Closest to the Pin” contest.

See what I mean? Super general. Just things we know we wanted, that we would fill in later.

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Now, get your butt to Pinterest. Pinterest is FILLED with example wedding scripts. We found one that we loved, and then made it our own. Don’t worry about copying word for word, it’s totally okay. This is the one time you’re not going to get in trouble for being a copy cat. We fell in love with this one as our base, and then switched things up to make it our own. Print out your favorites, highlight the pieces from each that you like best. I can’t stress this enough! Later, when you begin writing your script, your job will be SO MUCH EASIER when you can look down and have it right in front of you. And while you’re at it, find examples of vows, readings and music too!

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Armed with examples in hand it’s time to start organizing. Okay, I know trying to write this out might confuse you, so look at this picture first! Below, you will see how we started organizing our ceremony.

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I crossed out things I didn’t want, highlighted things I did, and started numbering in the order I wanted it.

Next comes the hard part… your vows. Many people choose to write them from scratch. But for us, this wasn’t really an option. Trev isn’t the best with words, and he felt that he couldn’t express his feelings right. Have you see that ABC Family movie, Lovestruck the Musical? It would have been like that. This was one reason we loved the ceremony we found SO MUCH. They read passages to each other, then wrote vows that fit them that they repeated. We loved what they wrote, so that is what we used. If you don’t know what to say in handwritten vows, I suggest finding some that you both love, and just repeating them to each other.

Now that you’re organized, type it up. I highly recommend doing this in Google Docs, so you can share it with your officiant and they can make changes as they see fit. Don’t let any details go unnoticed! You should write it so it looks like a play script, this way, everyone will know what to say, and when to say it.

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And that’s it! See… not as bad as you thought 🙂

Now, if I were you reading this, I’d be totally curious what my wedding script was, so if you are too, I’ve attached it below! And if not…

I hope you’re having a fantastic Wednesday! I’m exhausted and ready to curl up and take a nice long nap. I’ll be back tomorrow linking up my all time favorite appetizer recipes for your Super Bowl Weekend!

Xx.
Savannah

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One thought on “Wedding 101: Writing Your Own Ceremony and Vows

  1. I’m dying right now because for the first step “get yourself someone to marry you. It can be anyone,” I thought you were talking about a fiance!!

    Like

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