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Fabio e Giuseppe

Here’s your guide for tackling one of the trickiest bits of your wedding ceremony and getting it just right. We promise!

The exchange of vows or statements of commitment arguably constitutes the most important part of your ceremony. It’s really the whole point of it. It’s also the bit that, alas, couples often leave to the last minute, then fall into a panic as they struggle to find the right words. And we LGBTQ+ folk have a few more hurdles than most.

Here are a few useful tips for tackling the task and sending your partner over the moon as you begin your journey over the rainbow.

Remember who it’s for

Yes, you’ll be making your statement of love and intent in front of a crowd, but they’re not an audience. They’re your guests, the witnesses to your union. Your vows are for the person standing in front of you, looking into your eyes as you tell them you love them and begin to count the ways. Your attendees will be best pleased by your sincerity. More importantly, your companion will be most moved by your honesty and openness.

As with so many aspects of your wedding, you will need to decide the extent to which you want to adhere to or depart from tradition. Wedding liturgical texts for various faith traditions are easily accessible. Even if your ceremony is not a religious one, there may be lines from the texts that history has left us as a legacy that you’d like to include, adjusting and editing to reflect your reality and your relationship.

Let in a little levity

You certainly don’t want to turn it into a comedy routine, but people often make the opposite mistake,  becoming moony and maudlin. Of course it’s a serious moment, but it’s also a celebration. If one of the things you like best about your boo is their outrageous sense of humour, don’t hesitate to let them know it, perhaps with a reference to a funny situation or a snappy example of their brilliant wit.

Do your homework

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A bit of research up front will help you identify a style, hash out a structure and lay down some content. Hop online and fish around a bit. Look at lyrics, especially from songs that mean something special to both of you. Pull out a book of poetry, browse through Shakespeare’s sonnets, or turn to the texts of inspiring speeches. Watch a few videos, see what you respond to. There is quite a trend now among LGBTQ+ couples for creating a montage of moments leading up to the exchange of vows. You’ll see some who talk about how they first met, about when they knew that they were hooked. Others will recount amusing anecdotes or ironic observations about their honey’s oddities and eccentricity. And some zoom in on the moment itself, as each person pours their heart out to their partner, with not a dry eye in the house. Make comparisons, take notes. Identify what you like, what moves or inspires you. Then you can better decide what approach will work best and what most authentically reflects you.

This is a great time to check in with your Wedding Planner. As with so many unexpected aspects of your preparations, they will prove to be an inexhaustible resource of ideas and inspiration, energy and encouragement. Tell them what you’ve seen that you like, show them your notes, describe to them the direction you’re thinking of taking.

Pen to paper

Few things are as daunting as a blank sheet of paper that you need to fill with words. But you’ve got a framework to hang things on now, and that’s half the battle behind you. If you still find yourself stumped, try asking yourself some questions to get started:

* How did you meet your partner?

* When did you realise that you couldn’t imagine your life without them?

* How have they changed you, helped you become a better version of yourself?

* What rough seas have you already sailed together, what storms have you weathered, what adversities have you overcome?

* How will you rely on them and how will you continue to lift them up as you face the challenges ahead in your life together?

Just for fun, consider some of these:

* What are some things about you that your partner finds maddeningly annoying that you promise to work on?

* Which irritating habits of theirs do you promise to try and overlook?

* Are there any embarrassing situations your partner has rescued you from? Perhaps that weekend in SoHo that you don’t remember all that well…?

Once you’ve got the juices flowing, you may be surprised by how quickly your pen flies across the page. Cuts and edits are for later. For the moment, it’s all about just getting some ideas down on paper.

Practice, practice, practice

Write it out, scratch it out, pitch it in the bin, and start over. Then do it again. And then again. Once you’ve got something down on paper that you think might work, record yourself on your phone, both audio and video. You’ll see how much time it takes to say it all, how well it hangs together, how smoothly it flows. You’ll realise that there are important things you’ve left out, as well as things that sounded like a great idea when you wrote them but upon hearing make you wonder what you were thinking! After the inevitable edits have been made and you’ve had a few good run-throughs, try reading out your vows to someone close to you both. Then both of you should run things by your Wedding Planner. They will be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls and land mines and coordinate your efforts, all while maintaining complete discretion and keeping your secrets safe.

Planning, preparation and practice are what will you see you through and allow you to relax and enjoy your moment in the sun with your favourite person on the planet.

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