Without a doubt, the saying of vows by the bride and groom is the salient point of the wedding ceremony. Here, the couple publicly declares for all to witness the love and connection that they feel for one another. They commit to themselves their future together. Brides and grooms usually use one of four ways to share their feelings with us.
With on-location weddings, the bride and groom choose, select and write their own vows. These very personal and strong words express the emotions that they feel for each other. It is the heart of the wedding ceremony. It is the time when we all witness the deep feelings of love they have for each other, their hopes for the future and the happiness they find in their relationship.
Couples spend precious hours crafting their vows. Some will choose to recite the same vows, while others will give individual messages to each other. The bride and groom also need to decide how they will say their vows to each other. They typically choose one of the following four choices.
Memorize Your Vows. This is probably the most difficult way to say your vows. Even with actors who are proficient at memorizing lines of text, this has proven to be a daunting task. The emotions of the day and the feelings expressed in the words overwhelm the best of them. When attempting this way of saying your vows, I always ask for a copy so that I can either prompt you or give it to you to read.
Repeat After Me. This is the most common method used. I prompt the couple with short phrases that they repeat after me. If the bride and groom have rehearsed this previously, this is very smooth. I like to say the vows in my usual theatre voice so that the pressure for the couple to perform is removed. They can say them quietly to each other. The person in the back row will assume they have repeated the words after me.
Read From A Cue Card. This is a nice way to deliver longer vows where the Repeat After Me format would be too tedious. It also lets the full emotion of the bride and groom show through. For an example of this method, take a look at this wedding ceremony.
An Affirmation. Some brides or grooms are so nervous about saying their vows publicly that they choose to just say “I Do” after I’ve stated their vows. I once had a bride who despite having crafted her own vows decided to affirm her vows after the groom said his by saying “Ditto.”
The selection of which way to say your vows often is based on how nervous you feel being in public. Your audience is there because they all love you and know that this is a live event – not a pre-recorded perfect one. As my friend Steve Lowell (author of From Stage Fright to Spotlight) says, “It’s not the words you say that have any lasting impact, it’s the emotions behind them that captivate the imagination, enchant the mind and stir the soul.
Your vows are not a statement of what you think. They create a magnificent portrait of how you feel – painted with your truest emotions. How you feel is what will be remembered. How you feel is the real truth. And how you feel is what everyone yearns to feel with you. The message of your words may last a while, but the message of your heart will last an eternity.”