Planning for your wedding day becomes an endless list of to do items. Within the frenzy, there is one item that is the hardest to accomplish. I've witnessed few couples who can do it. Those who have are amazing.
What is the amazing feat? It is writing and saying your vows from memory for your ceremony.
The writing of your vows to each other can be fairly easily done. You can start from the standard vows, search the internet for ideas or as in one recent wedding, find just the right Hallmark card. You find inspiration for expressing the feelings you have for your partner from many sources. There was one bride who after listening to her groom pouring his devotion to her was so overwhelmed she said, "Ditto". Whatever works.
However, when it comes the day of the ceremony, the moment of truth is being able to recite them from memory. You've been rushing all day, overseeing all the final details. Thousands of things are going through your head and through your heart. And then, you need to focus and calm yourself enough to say them. Most couples opt for a repeat-after-me format so that they can avoid memorizing. Alternatively, you can choose to read from a cue card. Either way, both these methods will work.
But to say your vows from memory is an Olympian feat. I've had professional actors, masters at memorizing scripts, resort to the repeat-after-me format. Vows can be even more amazing when a couple create a dialog as Lily and Jean-Francois did. We were truly moved because the vows were really authentic to who they are. Here are their vows:
Both: I promise…
LF: To be there when you need me
JF: To be there when you need me
LF: To teach our kids to speak Cantonese
JF: To teach our kids French
LF: To try my best and guess your Creative Cats during Cranium
JF: To not steal your longest road in Settlers of Catan
LF: To grow old and become a curmudgeon with you
JF: To help you find your glasses when you can't see
LF: To let you have the big piece of chicken
JF: To help satisfy your cravings
LF: To not blame you for things you did in my dreams
JF: To acknowledge that you’re always right, even when you’re wrong
LF: To support you in the things you’re passionate about
JF: To support you in whatever you choose to do
LF: To try to be patient with you
JF: To (try to) be on time
LF: To try to see the big picture
JF: To try to focus on the details
LF: I promise to love you
JF: I promise to love you
Both: And if you break any of those promises, I promise to forgive and move on with our life together.