Perfect vows, not Post-it vows
If you're Meredith and Derek, Post-it vows may seem like a good idea, but it should take a little more effort than that.
Have you seen the episode? (Season 5, Episode 24) Mer and Der are planning to go to the courthouse to get married, "quick and dirty," she tells Christina. Chaos ensues (as it does at the then-called Seattle Grace Hospital).
They don't have time to go to the courthouse for their ceremony, so they write their vows on a Post-it note, they both sign it, and continue with their day.
This particular episode of Grey's Anatomy speaks to the importance of taking the time to tell people how much you love them while they can hear you. Not only is this great advice for all of us in our everyday lives, but it can also be great advice to keep in mind while thinking about writing your wedding vows.
When I'm meeting with couples, I always ask if they're interested in writing their own vows. Some are excited by the prospect, while some couples get a look of sheer terror on their faces.
I will tell you that it's not easy to sit down and write your wedding vows, the blank piece of paper staring up at you. Not to worry - here are some tips to help you write the perfect vows for your partner.
What exactly are vows, anyway? They're a commitment, a contract, a promise.
Communicate your intent to be there for it all - good times/bad times, better/worse, thick and thin (all relationships have their ups and downs!)
Share a personal story and your emotional attachment to it - how you felt on your first date or when you met, how you felt before you proposed, how you know your partner was the one, how you felt when your partner said "yes".
Make some promises: I promise to always kill spiders for you; I promise to not complain about watching sports with you; I promise to always say "I love you" before going to sleep.
Keep your vows to a reading time of 1 minute or less (believe it or not, this will be a lot of words). Read them aloud and time them.
Google it! Do a search on writing wedding vows and read some of them - it can get your creative juices flowing.
Wait until the last minute!
Try to include everything. It's impossible to fit every thought, emotion, and memory into your vows. If you have more to say, put it in a personal letter and give it to your partner the morning of the wedding.
Make your vows cryptic or embarassing. Everyone should be able to understand your references and feel included.
Make your vows one big joke. A little humor is endearing - too much is not cool.
Forget to say "I love you" in your vows.
Don't even think about memorizing your wedding vows. Emotions are heightened, and the last thing you need is to be worrying about remembering them. If my couples choose to write their own vows, I ask them to email them to me separately, and I create vow books. When the time comes for them to read their vows in the ceremony, I hand them the vow book, they read it, and hand it back to me. I then give them the vow books as a keepsake. If your officiant isn't handing you the vows to read, they should be.
At the end of the Grey's Anatomy episode I spoke about above, Meredith's disembodied voice speaks...."Did you say it? I love you, I don't ever want to live without you, you changed my life, did you say it? Make a plan, set a goal, work towards it. But every now and then, look around, drink it in, because this is it...it might be all gone tomorrow."