What’s the thing that worries many couples when it comes to their wedding ceremony?
It’s the vows – more specifically, getting them right. They are the absolute focus of your ceremony, the crunch moment, the most vital words, and the part when you become legally married (have I scared you enough yet?) and fluffing your lines, tripping over your tongue or mumbling them as you sob your way through is most couple’s nightmare.
Most of us aren’t used to any kind of public speaking and standing in front of an audience feels awkward doesn’t it? But you really don’t need to worry. I’ve spent a significant part of my career as a TV newsreader and I’ve picked up lots of tips to share with you. They will help you feel relaxed and confident as you exchange your vows.
Here are my top tips for stress-free vows:
- Help Yourself – There are no prizes for remembering your lines. This isn’t Broadway! And you’re not up for a Logie either. Unless you do happen to be a professional actor, you won’t be able to memorise your words with absolute confidence. Instantly remove any worry about going totally blank by letting me quietly read your vows to you, and then you can simply repeat them. The audience won’t hear me – I’ll be talking softly off-mic – they’ll only hear you. And vitally it means you can also hold hands with your bride or husband to be, and talk directly to them with lots of eye contact. No looking down at bits of paper!
- Don’t Stand So Close To Me – Well actually I will if you don’t mind! I am up there to help and support you. I’m right behind you – in both senses! Plus I have mastered my encouraging look and I’m going to use it.
- You Are Everything – the only person that matters is your partner. Face them and look into their eyes, and you’ll be in your own little world. You’re speaking to one person only here. You’re not marrying your family and friends so don’t look at them until you’ve finished your vows. Forget they are even there.
- Talking Loud and Clear – Speak up. Everyone wants to hear you pledge your undying love, including Grandad Harry at the back. Yes you’ll have a microphone close by, but be loud and proud of your vows. Take a breath and do it in YOUR OWN time. Don’t feel rushed. Nerves make you gabble and fluff so speak slowwwwwwly. It’ll feel like you’re crawling along, but believe me, it’ll sound absolutely normal to everyone else.
- Big Girls Don’t Cry – Yes they jolly well do! And so do the boys! So what? It’s the happiest day of your lives and the moment you exchange vows is the cue for the hankies to come out among family and friends. And there’s no shame if you well up too (I cried all the way through my vows!). Have a hanky handy or ask me – I always carry fresh tissues for such occasions. Wipe your eyes, take a breath, laugh it off and repeat after me again.
- Get It Right Next Time – So you’re feeling nervous. Of course you are! You’re getting married! But everyone is willing you on. If you get it wrong, just start again. I’ll be there to rescue you and get you back on track. Countless times I’ve fluffed reading the autocue. You just have to stop, smile, and start again. “Let me start that again” is one of my favourite phrases! Honestly, nobody minds if you cock it up.
- Cigarettes and Alcohol – Nobody’s going to mind a quick nip to steady the nerves but anything more and by law I can’t marry you. Stay off the booze. Being drunk is SO not a good look. (Nor is puffing away as you walk up the aisle/say your vows/kiss the bride. Not that you would of course!)
- Loving You – Above all, ENJOY IT! Someone is telling you they love you so much they want to spend the rest of their life with you. These are words right from the heart. And you’re doing the same! You both look gorgeous! There’s a lot of love in the room folks. Lap it up! Feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Now let’s pop the champagne corks!
By the way, bonus points for recognising the song titles in this blog post!
Written by Stephen Lee
Young Marriage Celebrant Sydney | Modern Male Marriage Celebrant Sydney | Weddings, vow renewals, gay commitment ceremonies and naming ceremonies