Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Up For Discussion: How To Do “I Do”? Writing Your Own Vows

November 25th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Writer’s block?  Trust me, as a and freelance writer, I know what a pain that can be.  But what if you have writer’s block on the most important day of your life?  This morning, Brides Up North’s resident guest blogger Alison Staples shares her own experience.

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My advice?  Step away from your record collection people. 

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At our civil ceremony at Chester Zoo, we had the opportunity to say some words of our own to each other. In my mind’s eye I could see myself standing in front of my nearest and dearest saying something which was personal, touching and sincere while not too mushy, to my new husband.

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I wanted something that hit exactly the right note. A perfect paragraph which said everything I wanted to say and laid the foundations for a long and happy marriage.

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“Ahhh, wasn’t that lovely,” I heard an imaginary aunt whisper.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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The problem was that although I could see my mouth saying the words, I couldn’t hear what they were.

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The weight of getting my vows right was enormous. Whatever I promised in the height of matrimonial bliss, I was going to have to deliver on in 40 years time when we were old and grey. They needed to last a lifetime. Now was not the time to get carried away.

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So where to start?

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Like Dawn and Pete from the TV series Gavin and Stacy, I thought about taking inspiration from our favourite songs. Who could forget Dawn reciting the words of Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ (replace Ben with Pete), while Pete chose Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ to help express his love for Dawn.

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But Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’ and ‘Street Tuff’ by the Rebel MC weren’t giving me what I needed so I had to look elsewhere.

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Google … surprisingly drew a blank.

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Damnation – there was no one to copy, I was going to have to think of something all by myself.

It took me a really long time to come up with something I felt happy with. I practiced reading them out loud many, many times. I never managed to get beyond the first line without blubbing.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Wedding Vows – Alison

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Tristan, in our marriage I promise to always be patient, honest, and kind.

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You are my best friend, my one love, my partner throughout life, always putting my needs first above your own.

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I promise to live a life that will honour the vows we have spoken, and make you glad and proud to have me as your wife.

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We have so much to look forward to. In the good times and the bad, I shall love and cherish you – always.

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My vows were written a good three months before the big day (as per my wedding planning spreadsheet). Tris’ however were still ‘outstanding’ the week before.

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“Have you written your vows yet?” I asked him for the umpteenth time. I knew how difficult I’d found writing mine. This was not a five minute job. But he simply reassured me that he’d been thinking about them and told me to trust him.

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When he finally did the big reveal, what he’d written was beautiful – not a line of early ‘90’s rap in sight.

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Wedding Vows – Tristan

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Alison, I promise always to be there when you need me, to provide the shoulders you can rest your head on, to fill your days with sunshine, to make you smile and laugh.

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To comfort you and encourage you, to help you reach your goals, to be your best friend ever and to love you all my life with all my heart.

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FourT4 Photography

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It’s a very strange feeling when your wedding day does finally arrive and you are quite literally living in your dream. I surprised myself by actually managing to get to the last line of my vows before surrendering to the need for tissues, which were there (courtesy of our best man) as soon as I started to falter.

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Not so my three pregnant friends, who had all decided to sit together, creating a hormonal vortex which kicked off before I’d even entered the room. Our vows just about finished them off!

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As a footnote, we had our six month wedding anniversary recently, which seemed like a good time to dust off the old wedding vows to see how I was doing.

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  1. Patient – Very poor start. 5/10. I shouted at him for not putting his trainers away. They’d only been off his feet for five minutes.
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  3. Honest – Better. 7/10. I told him his butt looked nice in his cycling shorts yesterday.
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  5. Kind – Very good effort. 9/10.  Last week I stood on the side lines in torrential rain, cheering him on in a triathlon, running along the home straight with him in a cagoule.
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I’d say I’ve had mixed success. But this time Coldplay can help. ‘Nobody said it was easy’, but I’m trying hard to get better.

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Do you plan to write or have you written your own vows?  Where did you draw inspiration from?  This is officially up for discussion.  Leave us a comment and start the debate. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 John Roach at FourT4 Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

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comments

  • November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    We also decided to write our own vows after our first meeting with our registrar-I didn’t even realise you could!!?? It’s funny you mention songs…I remember this like it was yesterday. I had spent forever thinking of what I could say, finding the right tone and avoiding the cheesy clichés. We sat down in our living room and I read mine out, nervous as ever, and was so pleased to see Lee’s face light up as I read the heartfelt words. Now it was his turn…’and I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky…’, stop messing about, I said. He laughed and said he was still working on them. More nerves! The day arrived and I had my notes tucked down my dress (I was never one for public speaking) I said my vows and got a few tears from my lovely Husband to be standing before me. Now it was his turn…’and I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky’…I think I said ‘stop it and turned to roll my eyes at the family sitting to my left but he continued ‘…I’ll be there.’ and then the chorus came from his best men standing next to him ‘I’LL BE THERRREEEEE’!! Just brilliant, and only something Lee could think up! He did continue with some beautiful words after that but the singing was definitely a talking point! You can see my film by following this link http://vimeo.com/10200727. I edited it myself and added the ‘best bits’ from the ceremony. If you skip to 4 minutes you will see the moment right there. Oh dear, I’m crying now just thinking about it!! It’s all about making your service personal and Lee got the tone for our day just right :)

    • November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

      Top Trumps! That is a wicked story. Big smiles sat here in ‘Blog Central’ in Manchester x

      • November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Alison! I loved your story too, it made me want to add my own personal tale so hopefully we inspire a few couples to write their own vows! :)

    • November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

      Wow – thanks Ana. Trying to shift a chest infection at the moment. Your comment just made me snort Benylin over my key board (but in a good way) x

  • Ana
    November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Alison, so beautiful as always. I have however made a note to myself to stop reading your blog entries whilst in work, as, I cry every time without fail!!
    Wonderful, thanks for the inspiration! x

  • November 25, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Funnily enough I was just looking at my vows this morning as tomorrow is our first anniversary and I thought I should check back that I’m keeping my promises!!! They made me cry yet again as they did the first time we wrote them and then when we stated them in front of our dearly beloved. My poor husband it was like he had homework every time I came home and saw him trying to write them.

    I have two tips,

    1) keep them personal and make them fun too if you want too. We had one line in that our registrar tried to have us change as he thought it not wholly appropriate but once we explained our thinking he relented. Within reason you can have whatever you want take the time to work with your registrar and explain.

    2) Nice as it is to hear them for the first time on the day, it’s was actually better for us to work together on them so we were slightly desensitised as I honestly don’t think we’d have got through the tears to finish the ceremony on the day if we’d heard them for the first time.

    Anyway, a year on I mean them even more than I did when I first said them and still feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have married my wonderful rock of a husband David. We’ll be back at the venue tomorrow and I can’t wait to stand in the same spot and relive!!

    So here they are , short but sweet :

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150111637377392&set=a.10150111632937392.316805.561832391&type=3&theater

    xxxx

    xx

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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