10 Steps to Write Your Own Vows

Step 1. Read vow examples for inspiration.
Start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows to see what strikes a chord with you. You can incorporate these into the original words you write, or just use them as a jumping-off point for your personalized vows. Once you've found a few you love, consider what it is about the style that draws you to those vows in particular.

Step 2. Agree on format and tone with your future spouse.
Decide how you want your vows to come across. Will they be humorous? Poetic and romantic? Go over the logistics too. Will you write them separately or together? Will they be completely different or will you make the same promises to each other, as you would with traditional vows? Some couples do a little of each. Finally, will you share them with each other or keep them a secret until the wedding day?

Step 3. Jot down notes about your relationship.
Take some time to reflect on your fiancé. Think about how you felt when you first met, what made you fall in love and when you knew you wanted to get married. Write it all out. Here are some questions to get you started:

Why did you decide to get married?
What hard times have you gone through together?
What have you supported each other through?
What challenges do you envision in your future?
What do you want to accomplish together?
What makes your relationship tick?
What did you think when you first saw your fiance?
When did you realize you were in love?
What do you most respect about your partner?
How has your life gotten better since meeting your mate?
What about them inspires you?
What do you miss most about them when you're apart?
What qualities do you most admire in each other?

Step 4. Come up with one or two, or many, promises.
They're called vows for a reason, so the promises are the most important part! A tip: "Include promises that are broad in scope, such as 'I promise to always support you,' as well as very specific to the two of you, like 'I promise to say "I love you" every night before bed."

Step 5. Write it all out.
Now that you have notes, it's time to establish a structure and write your first draft.  Use a four-part outline:  1) Affirm your love, 2) praise your partner, 3) offer promises and 4) close with a final vow.  Another way to organize it is to start with a short story and then come back to it at the end.

Step 6. Stay clear of clichés.
Now it's time to make edits. Borrow from poetry, books, religious and spiritual texts, even from romantic movies, but don't let someone else's words overpower your own. You want your vows to sound like you and relate to your relationship, and that won't happen if every word is borrowed from other sources. And if you find yourself relying on cliché phrases (you know, those sayings that have been used over and over so many times they no longer sound genuine) to get your point across,  Come up with a specific example from your relationship that has a similar message. For example, instead of saying, "Love is blind," you might say, "I think you're just as beautiful today as you are in a T-shirt and jeans."

Step 7. Take out anything too cryptic or embarrassing.
You've invited your family and friends to witness your vows in order to make your bond public, so be sure everyone feels included in the moment. That means putting a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words. You may have a friend or family member read it over ahead of time for feedback, if you're okay with sharing your vows beforehand.

Step 8. Shorten your vows to one to two minutes, max.
Your vows are important, but that doesn't mean they should drag on. When someone says something in a very meaningful way, you don't have to say it over and over. Pick the most important points and make them. If yours are running longer than two minutes, do an edit. Put some of the more personal thoughts in a letter or gift to your fiance on the morning of your wedding and save any guest-related topics for your toasts.

Step 9. Practice out loud (seriously!).
It might sound weird, but this really is the best way to prep. Your vows should be easy to say and sound conversational. As you recite them, listen for any tongue twisters and super-long sentences, then cut them.

Step 10. Make a clean copy for yourself.
The paper you read from should be legible, so even if you're working on it right up until a few moments before your ceremony, use a fresh piece of paper free of cross-outs, arrows and notes. And give some thought to the presentation too, because  it will end up in the photos. You can hand write it or print the vows. Have a backup plan too. Some couples find themselves too emotional to speak. You may have to paraphrase. A good officiant will help you find your place if you lose it.

Resource: TheKnot

Six Things to Plan at the Reception

You’ve said, "I do", and now it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends. The reception goes by in the blink of an eye, so it’s normal there might be a few things you just might forget to do during the party. A Wedding Coordinator can keep you on track with these six things you should try to remember to do for a truly memorable reception.

1. Spend time alone with each other. Yes, couples have to pay attention to your guests, but don’t forget to have some one-on-one time with each other. Take time during the cocktail hour to enjoy a cocktail and some food - just the two of you – it might be the only time the two of you get to be alone for the rest of the night!

Spend Time Alone As A Couple Before the Reception
2. Take a look at the reception space. Before your guests file into the reception space, you want to get a view of the room all decked out in your wedding day décor. It’s a moment where you can really enjoy all of the hard work you put into planning all of the little details (flowers, place settings, etc.) and see how it paid off.

View the Reception Room Before Your Guests Come In
3. Eat the main entry. This is one of the biggest complaints from couples - you spend all that time (and money) choosing the perfect wedding day menu, and then you don’t even get to enjoy it. Be sure to take a break during the reception to enjoy your food–even if you have to do it when everyone else is on the dance floor.

4. Dance with your guests. Speaking of dancing, don’t forget to hit the floor during the reception. One way to make sure you have time is to greet all of your guests during the cocktail hour so you can really enjoy the rest of the reception without feeling guilty.

Dance With Your Guests During the Wedding Reception
5.  Change into comfy shoes.  Women in their high-heel shoes and men in the rented stiff shoes - OUCH!! You don’t have to stay in them the entire day. Bring a comfy pair of fashionable flats or work shoes if your feet really start to hurt you during the party. And hey, it’s better than going barefoot.

6. Thank your parents and wedding party. Whether you do it privately or make a toast during the reception, don’t forget to thank the people who really helped make this dream day a reality.

Adapted from SheFinds.com