1. I love the books, but I’m not a fan of my handwriting. Any suggestions?
Our vow and milestone books are meant to celebrate beautifully imperfect love stories — and that extends to imperfect penmanship. Your handwriting is one more thing that makes you unique. We truly believe that having the words written down by your own hand is what will make an impression today and in years to come.
If you still have some “first jot” anxiety, we suggest you practice writing the vows in their entirety on another page, then on one of the included practice pages and then, finally, in the book. Think of any mistakes or errors as part of the process. And, truly, don’t worry: In this case, you have our permission to judge the book by its cover, not by the handwriting within.
2. We are having a traditional ceremony that doesn’t allow for personalized vows. Can we still use the vow books?
Absolutely! Although we’ll leave the ceremony specifics to you and the officiant, we encourage you and your partner to find meaningful moments of connection throughout the wedding day. By incorporating the vow books during a private moment outside of the ceremony, you can keep the focus on what really matters: your love for each other. Past couples have used vow books from The Art of Etiquette during first look meetings or to exchange love letters while getting ready for the ceremony.
Each book also features an envelope for a first anniversary love note, which allows you to tuck away some special sentiments from the eve of your wedding day to look back upon after your first year of marriage.
3. We want to write our own vows, but I get nervous speaking in public. Any tips for overcoming this fear?
It is our intention that your Art of Etiquette vow book will put your mind at ease, not add to the stress. By taking the time to write your words in the vow book, they will become more familiar and natural to speak aloud. You can also select a beautifully bound, unique book that matches the aesthetic of your wedding — which means you shouldn’t feel any pressure to memorize your vows.
If you still feel nervous, you are not alone! Studies show that most people are afraid of speaking in public. Give yourself the grace to embrace the emotions that flow while reading your vows. It may help to give your officiant a copy of your vows for some gentle back-up if you get lost.
Finally, there are no rules about when the words from your vow book must be exchanged. If the thought of speaking during the ceremony is still too much, we recommend sharing the special words from your vow book during your first look or after the ceremony.
4. How long should my vows be?
We suggest capping your vows at three minutes per person, which translates to roughly 400 words. If you want to say more in front of your guests, consider saving your words for a toast at the reception or rehearsal dinner. If you want to say more privately, incorporate a reading during your first look or while getting ready for the ceremony.
5. How do I get started? The whole idea of writing my vows feels overwhelming.
Messy first drafts are part of the process — and they are well worth it on the journey to that special moment when you share your heart before an audience of friends, family and, most importantly, your true love. That is why our vow books come with practice sheets. Find a good pen, a quiet place and commit to getting those words on paper. Perfectionism can wait!
Because starting is often the hardest part, we advise resisting the urge to procrastinate. About one to two months before the big day, begin considering the tone you want the vows to take as well as whether you want any structural consistency with your partner’s vows. From there, follow our 10-day writing challenge (hyperlink to page), which helps break down the process and guide you as you get those thoughts on paper. Each vow book also includes a booklet full of prompts, tips and questions that will help get your words flowing. Further suggestions are available on our Resources and Blog pages.