Don’t be like Ross from Friends, or Charles and Diana who messed up on the big day!
We’ll never forget THAT cringeworthy moment when Ross from Friends mistakenly namedropped Rachel during his wedding vows to Emily – and ended up seeing his new marriage doomed from the outset.
And not one but both participants in the ill-fated Royal Wedding between Charles and Diana in 1981 fluffed their vows.
Instead of saying ‘Charles Philip’, Diana called her husband-tobe ‘Philip Charles’ during the ceremony, while Charles referred to “thy goods” instead of “my worldly goods” during his own vows.
You won’t have as big an audience when you are delivering your own wedding vows, but you still don’t want to make a mess of them, so it’s worth figuring out what can go wrong and preparing for the worst!
- Winging It
Don’t wait until moments before the wedding to scribble your vows down on a scrap of paper – the results will NOT be pretty! If you’re struggling to come up with something good in the weeks before the wedding, don’t procrastinate – maybe brainstorm with a friend who’s good at these things. And don’t feel guilty about plagiarising – there are plenty of great ideas on the internet!
- Too Long and Complicated
That said, we’ve seen too many wedding vows getting over-complicated and incomprehensible and sometimes it’s because couples are trying to replicate something they’ve seen on a wedding template. The key thing is that everyone must be able to understand what you’re saying, so take the time to make it personal and special – you don’t want eyes glazing over!
- Stumbling Over The Words
Trust me, very few of us are great orators who can hold the room spellbound and it’s easy to mess up the words. Don’t be afraid to have the words written down in front of you – you could always add to the pomp and ceremony by propping them inside a fancy looking book. And practise, practise, practise. That way you’ll get to know which are the trickiest bits and know to slow down when you’re coming up to them.
You might love the idea of the informal but this is a wedding ceremony after all – so don’t be THAT wedding couple that delivers Too Much Information in their vows. Nobody really wants to hear ad libs about what you get up to in bed or personal stories that will make no sense to anyone but you two.
- Racing Through It
You know what you’re going to say and you’ve got it on paper in front of you, so make sure you deliver it so that everyone can make you out. Speak loudly, clearly and slowly – a bit slower than feels comfortable. What you think is your normal speaking speed is probably way too fast, thanks to nerves.
- Lost Vows
Do NOT lose that all important bit of paper! Really, DO NOT. Print it out five times and hand a copy to every member of the bridal party for safekeeping. Hell, if it was me I’d hand a copy to everyone in the entire audience just to be on the safe side. Can you hide a copy somewhere on the altar?
RELATED TO: How To Write The Ultimate Groom’s Speech
- Keep Calm And Carry On
Yes, you might be feeling very emotional when you launch into your vows. But you’ve only got one go at it, so it needs to be audible and comprehensible. Don’t let your emotions prevent you from saying what you want to say. Ahead of the ceremony, do whatever calms you down – maybe a breathing exercise or a herbal remedy that can keep you cool. If it all becomes too much, take a few breaths, compose yourself, consult your bit of paper and go slowly.
Some couples are so terrified they go absolutely inaudible – others over-compensate and yell. Yes, we know you’re really excited but you don’t have to actually shout. Rehearse beforehand in front of a friend and make sure you’re pitching it just right.
- Destroying Your Make-Up
Yes, there’s a good chance you might cry. There definitely is. Just stock up on the tissues and try to stay calm – you can get away with a tear or two but great streaming blubs are going to make a horrible mess of your mascara. Have your chief bridesmaid on hand with a make-up repair kit in case she has to do a quick repair job on you before the next stage of the ceremony.
- Look At Your Partner
Some people get so overwhelmed with it all that they forget to connect with their partner. Not everyone will notice if you forget to make eye contact, but your other half will. Grab their hand, look at them and don’t forget to give a little smile to reassure them!
Sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest from The Wedding Journal!