Here’s some truth for you: I love wedding ceremonies, and more than that, I love when a couple exchanges their own vows. It’s heartfelt, personal, usually a little funny, and it makes me cry every dang time.
However, it can be very difficult for some couples to share those raw and deep-felt emotions in front of over 100+ of their closest family and friends. When you stop and think about it, it does seem like a crazy thing to do! There you are, sharing some of the most intimate and emotional words of your life with not just your partner, but with just about everyone you care about. Even for a pro public speaker, this seems like a tough task. Now imagine how an introvert who hates public speaking would feel!
So, what do you do if you or your partner are feeling hesitant about sharing personal vows during your wedding ceremony? Some couples decide to opt out of writing their own vows altogether, and instead simply repeat the standard “Do you take this woman…”
I’m here to make the case to ALWAYS exchange personal vows, but you can do it in a way that feels natural and comfortable to you and your partner. Here are some ideas for unique ways to exchange your wedding vows:
EXCHANGE LOVE LETTERS
In the final weeks leading up (or even the night before if you’re feeling risky!) take the time to hand write each other old fashioned love letters. Include the same things that you would want to include in your vows, but write them down instead. When you’re done, feel free to seal it with a spritz of cologne or perfume and seal it up.
On the wedding day, before the ceremony, have your bridal party help exchange the letters for you. Or, if you want to share a moment, position yourselves around a door or corner, and exchange the letters yourselves, getting to share a brief moment together. Bonus if you have your photographer/videographer capture the moment when you read it!
This option is a good in-between for couples who can’t come to an easy agreement. Before your big “official” ceremony, gather your bridal party and immediate family for a more intimate vow exchange.
Stand together, no sound system required, and tell each other your beautiful vows with just your closest surrounding you with love. You don’t need much for this close-knit ceremony, just a little space and 20 minutes or so in your timeline.
This gives your immediate family and bridal an opportunity to be a part of your vow exchange, but takes some of the pressure off with fewer, and only the closest, people around.
PRIVATE VOW EXCHANGE
A few years ago I would never have suggested this, but now it is my favorite wedding day moment! If you are planning on doing a first look before your ceremony, considering sharing your vows together at that time together, with just the two of you (and your photographer/videographer of course). It gives you both privacy to say exactly how you feel, space to cry or laugh as much as you want, and creates an incredibly special moment for you to share with just your partner. It’s one of my new favorite unique ways to exchange your wedding vows!
This is an excellent idea for someone who is shy or hates speaking in front of a group. It allows that person to feel comfortable and confident and not self-conscious.
I cannot overstate how special this moment is for my clients who have chosen to go this route. It gives them the space to focus just on each other for the most important and special part of the day. It puts them in a little bubble, for 15 minutes, where all they have to think about is their love and the fact that they get to spend the rest of their lives together.
Not only that, but it makes the perfect time for some incredible photo and video opportunities!
However you decide to exchange your vows on your wedding day, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to do it. No matter what anyone says, or if they get upset that they don’t get to hear them, exchanging your vows is about you and your partner, and no one else. Do what makes you both happy and feels right.