How To: Write Your Own Vows

Depending on the comfort levels of you and your partner, personalized vows can be a beautiful addition to your wedding ceremony. People often have an overwhelming feeling when beginning to write vows because there is so much emotion attached to them. Whether it be because you don’t know where to begin, or because you have so much to say, these tips should help you get out of your writing rut.

Start the process as soon as possible

Having as much time as you can is super helpful because it allows you to have more time to explore your feelings in writing as well as create and edit multiple drafts.

Drafts, drafts, drafts

Once you get writing, try to write down everything that comes to your mind. It doesn’t have to be cohesive at this point, but getting as many thoughts on paper as possible helps you to have more material to choose from when you create your final draft.

Take pieces from other writing

There are many sources of writing that contain perfect material for your vows, and writing your own vows doesn’t mean that you can’t throw in pieces from other places as well. You can find vow books, poetry, lyrics, or even just quotes online that resonate with you and your relationship and make perfect additions to your vows.

Make it personal, but not too personal

Be sure to share stories and moments of your relationship that reflect who you are as a couple, but be careful not to share stories or anecdotes that are too personal. You want your partner to be comfortable with what you are sharing, and you also want your guests to not feel like they are left out of an inside joke.

Include actual vows

Vows are just another way to make promises to your spouse. These promises are a big part of writing your vows, and whether you make silly or sweet promises, make sure you include some form of written vows to your partner.

Have a third party read both you and your partner’s vows

Having someone outside of the relationship read both sets of vows can be incredibly helpful in making sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Since personalized vows can be done in so many ways, it is always a good idea to make sure that one partner isn’t overly funny while the other partner is pretty serious, as an example. Having a quick conversation before either of you begin writing can also be helpful to avoid that problem.

Keep it between 2-4 minutes

Especially if you aren’t particularly comfortable with public speaking, keep in mind that your vows do not have to be lengthy. You want to say enough to capture the moment and show your partner how you feel about your relationship in it’s past, present, and future, but you want to do this in a short enough time that people don’t begin to lose interest in the story you are trying to tell.

Practice

Make sure you take the time to practice saying your vows out loud. It may feel silly, but this is a key step in making sure that you don’t stumble over your words during the wedding. If you still do, don’t worry about it! People will remember your stories more than they will remember how you spoke them.

That’s the end of the tips, so now it is time for you to get writing!

For a more personal and detailed example, here are the vows my husband and I wrote for each other:

My dear, sweet Jacob,

I love you so much. Before you, I’m not sure I loved anything more than pie (just kidding mom). But actually, before you, I didn’t believe real gentlemen even existed anymore. You are the sweetest, most gentle, and most selfless man I know. I could never have asked for someone like you, but now that I have you, I have everything I could have wanted in a husband. Somehow you always find a way to make me feel better even on my lowest days, and I hope that I can do the same for you throughout our life together. I can’t wait to have endless days with you watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, exploring thrift stores and eating more than the suggested amount of ice cream that two people should have in a lifetime. I am excited to be able to say that I will do life with you, through all of the highs and lows it will throw at us. I know that we are going to have good and bad days, but I hope in all our days, whether they be days where we love fiercely or argue frequently, that we will always demonstrate through our love for each other that we have a fervent love for God. I vow that in all our years together, I will never make you play Jenga, though I can’t promise that I won’t still ask. I promise to give you all the kisses on our good and bad days because I know that sometimes that is all you need. The last two years together we have had some of the best days of my life, and I know we will continue to share adventures and explore the world together as we change and grow closer as a couple. I am certain that my future with you will be even better than the past that we have already shared, and I can’t wait to begin this new chapter with you as your wife. I love you a coffee.

Jenna Marie,

I love you with the force of a thousand lightyears. The love I have for you is second only to the love I have for Christ my savior. You are a gift. You’re a gift I never dreamed I could want or need and everyday I will show you that you’re a gift I deserve. You make me the best person I could ever want and hope to be and I want to spend, learn and love the rest of my life with you. I pinky promise todo my best to make God the steadfast pillar of our marriage so we may lean on and hold to Him everyday. I vow to do my best to lead, support, and strengthen you through times of plenty and in times of less so. I vow to hold your hand, kiss your cheek and massage your back until I no longer can. I vow to be honest, caring, patient. To be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Our marriage will be testing, humbling, gratifying and God-glorifying and a million things we could never prepare for. But I want to be by your side and face with you every victory, failure, smile and tear. You make me so proud to be myself and to stand by you yesterday, today and every day hereafter. I love you a lottle. For forever and a week, my love. God has blessed me immeasurably more than I ever thought possible and today I can’t wait to start a new chapter with you.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Tips

It’s not something most people think about, but events, especially weddings, tend to create a huge excess of waste. Obviously, your events are special and not an everyday occurrence, so for some people, knowing that is enough to justify the extra waste. That being said, every little bit counts, so if you are looking for ways to reduce waste or have a more environmentally friendly event, here a few good places to start:

Avoid disposables where you can

  1. rent or buy dishes and cutlery
  2. rent or buy linens
  3. use fresh flowers unless you will reuse or resell

Buy preowned

  1. décor
  2. dress
  3. flowers (faux or fresh from a wedding near your date)

Choose ethically made products

  1. rings (find a Canadian or lab-made diamond)
  2. attire
  3. any gifts or products being purchased

Support local

  1. vendors (photographer, rentals, etc)
  2. choose a caterer that also sources locally
  3. find gifts and supplies locally to reduce shipping

Have a daytime wedding

  1. less lighting needed
  2. less music and overall energy use
  3. generally less formal event-requires less supplies

Save the stationery

  1. use a large menu sign instead of menu cards
  2. use a seating chart and ditch place cards
  3. use compostable or electronic invites

Ditch aspects you don’t need

  1. save-the-dates
  2. send-off supplies (sparklers, rice)
  3. favors

Use in season supplies

  1. florals
  2. catering

Opt for less

  1. guests
  2. stationery
  3. linens (don’t have tablecloths, just choose nicer tables!)

Think about gifts

  1. ask for charity donations if you don’t need anything
  2. ask for experiences
  3. ask for good quality products that won’t need to be replaced as often

Choose and reuse (ceremony to reception, wedding to home decor)

  1. decor can be transfered froom your ceremony to reception to use less
  2. choose decor that can be reused as household decor for yourself or family afterwards

Reduce travel

  1. less guests
  2. local vendors
  3. have a shuttle from ceremony to reception or have a venue that offers both
  4. have a staycation honeymoon

Boho Elopement

Part of being an event planner is working with other vendors on styled shoots to get to know them outside of real events! We had a wonderful time shooting this styled boho elopement at Cellar 52 in St. Jacobs, ON, and I can’t get over how beautiful it turned out!

Here are some of the beautiful shots we took:

Grateful for vendors that are so talented and flexible! If you are looking for vendors for your upcoming event in the Waterloo or surrounding area, check out the following!

Photographer: Honey Photography

Venue: Cellar 52

Catering: Little Mushroom Catering

Stationery: Sam Culham Creative

Bouquet: Heart and Sola Canada

Decor Rentals: Awe Event Rentals

Hair+ Makeup: BeautiMarkPro

Women’s Attire: David’s Bridal

Models: Adecia & Francois- Vogue Models and Talent

How To: Incorporate Your Event Theme

If you’ve seen my last post (Your Event Theme: Where to Begin), you know a bit already about developing and creating a cohesive theme that reflects your vision for your event. After developing an idea for your theme, the next step is to think of how you can tie it in to various areas of your event. You may have already come up with some ideas of how to do this while deciding on your theme- think of any inspiration photos that helped you decide on your theme, there could be aspects of your event right there!

It is important to find ways that you can involve your theme in most or all parts of your event to create a cohesive experience for you and your guests. Here are some areas you might want to consider, with some examples to help you along:

Venue: Certain venues can play a large role in dictating theme, while others offer more of a blank slate to build your theme upon. You will want to choose a venue while keeping your theme in mind, or the opposite if you come across your venue before deciding on a theme.

An example: An old castle can go a long way when trying to portray a fairy tale theme.

Stationery: One of the easiest ways to incorporate theme is through your stationery, whether that involves invitations, escort cards, menus, etc. Stationery can be widely customized with different textures, fonts, images, wording, and so much more.

An example: You are hosting a garden party themed shower, so you print the invitations on biodegradable seed paper.

Florals: While many types and colours of floral arrangements are not exclusive to certain themes, there are certainly ways to have your florals point to your theme specifically. It also helps to think of the vessels that will be holding any florals being used as décor, as these containers come in varying types that can be applied to your theme.

An example: Wildflowers are a great addition to a laid back, rustic theme.

Attire: Your attire as well as guest attire can contribute to the theme and formality of your event, especially in the case of parties that call for costume wear.

An example: If you are hosting a formal masquerade party, what guests wear to your event will have a big impact on how the theme comes across.

Food: Food is often left not reflecting the theme, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By incorporating foods that relate to your theme, guests will feel truly involved in the theme of your event. Your cake is a great way to incorporate your theme as well.

An example: Having a picnic family reunion where each household brings a favourite dish (and the story behind it!) is a great way to get conversation going and remind guests the reason behind the event.

Music: Music, similarly to floral elements, is not something that is exclusive to one theme. Most events with dancing will play some current hits to get people on the dance floor, though these songs may not relate directly to the event theme. That being said, having music that reflects your theme is definitely possible, and can add to the overall flow of your event.

An example: A 70s themed anniversary party may play some music from the decade, while playing other current songs that reflect the sounds and style of that decades music.

Entertainment: Your theme can easily be translated into the types of entertainment you may have at your event. Whether your entertainment involves party games, live performances, or anything else you can imagine, it will likely naturally reflect the theme of your event. It is also good to keep in mind that entertainment does not always have to be costly, as there are many simple ways to entertain guests that don’t involve spending a big portion of your budget.

An example: A weekend camping themed retreat may involve outdoor games such as cornhole and ultimate frisbee.

Lighting: Lighting can be one of the easiest ways to make or break an event. It is important to consider the atmosphere you want to create for your event when choosing the lighting style that will best go along with your theme.

An example: If you are hosting a romantic, industrial themed wedding, hanging Edison bulbs or other warm, visible lighting will help communicate your theme.

Linens: Linens can be great for introducing colours and textures that go along with your theme.

An example: If you are hosting a mermaid themed birthday party, having cream sequined tablecloths with purple and teal napkins and other accents will go a long way.

Decorative Objects: Décor that will be placed around your event can make a great addition to the overall theme and feeling that is in your event space. These kinds of decorative objects can be great on a guest book table, cake table, or anywhere else that needs a little something to look perfect for your event.

An example: Having a stack of old books with a vintage trinket on top on a guest book table is a great addition at a vintage themed wedding.

Creating an event theme can be a difficult process, so once you have developed a theme that you love, you want to be sure that it is well translated throughout your event. There are so many areas and ways to incorporate your theme, and I hope this post got you thinking of a few areas you may not have previously thought of doing so!

Your Event Theme: Where to Begin

As an event designer and planner, I have the privilege of creating and seeing so many types of beautiful events. Bringing out people’s personalities within their event is something that I strive for in many creative ways to create the unique effect the client wants for theirevent.

Choosing an event theme comes naturally for some events. Think of hosting a backyard barbeque, for example. Though there are many ways to create a unique theme for this, a pretty common theme would involve red and white checkered linens, picnic tables, lawn games, etc. With certain events, like weddings and birthday parties, themes can be a bit more difficult to decide on. There are key elements that can contribute to the theme of these events, however they can typically be personalized to any theme that you decide on. This makes deciding on a theme for these events a tad more difficult, as there is such a wide variety of options that include anything you could dream of.

These days, there is a vast array of resources available to browse event trends and ideas, and these can give you ideas for what you want your event to look and feel like. Sometimes having these platforms available to you can be a great help in identifying your likes and dislikes when it comes to event themes, décor, colours, attire, etc. On the other hand, it can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming to have so many ideas available to you.

A planner can help develop your interests and ideas into a cohesive theme. Often times, these themes will fall into a few categories, such as rustic, modern, bohemian, and so on, but these themes can also overlap and this is what creates a unique event personalized to you.

There are a few main things to think about when pondering ideas for your theme:

Colour Palette- What colours would you love to incorporate into your event? What colours do you absolutely not want to incorporate?

Venue- Is there a specific style of venue you want? Maybe a barn, rooftop, café?

Season- What season do you want to hold your event in? Is there a season or date that holds meaning to you and your event?

Age group: Who is your event for? Is it adults only or family oriented?

Event purpose: What are you hosting the event for? Is it a wedding, birthday party, family reunion?

Having a few images or ideas ironed out when you first meet with your event planner is key to helping us be able to iron out what you want the style and theme of your event to be. Even if you have no idea when you first meet your planner, we are trained to be able to pull from your personality, likes and dislikes, and any images you show us to create a theme tailored to your event.

Should you hire a planner?

There are many ways that event planners can assist you in creating your dream event. However, if you aren’t confident that you want to hire a planner, here are some key things to think about to help you decide.

Budget: Often times, hiring a planner can actually save you money because of the connections they have with vendors. However, if your budget is tight, you may just not reasonably be able to hire a planner and still have room in your budget for the other things you want at your event.

Organization: Maybe you love organization and planning, and the idea of planning a large event excites you! In this case, you can probably manage a simple wedding or event with the help of friends and family. If your event has a lot of vendors and a lot of details to pay attention to, you might want a planner to ensure you don’t miss out on anything you know you want for your event. If you aren’t the most efficient when it comes to being organized and keeping a schedule, or if you want an extra pair of eyes to make sure you haven’t missed a step, a planner is going to save you a lot of time and effort.

Clerical Work: Planning a wedding involves a lot of communication with a lot of people. If you like clerical work, you might not find it daunting to communicate with many vendors at the same time. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy checking emails, reading contracts, and keeping up with other forms of communication, it might be nice to have a planner who can take care of the majority of these tasks for you.

Vision: If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your event to look like, having a planner especially in the beginning stages of planning can be key. Planners are trained to know how to creatively involve your interests and create a unique event that reflects your personality. You may already have a Pinterest board full of ideas, and in that case, you might be okay tackling those DIYs yourself to create your vision.

Other Responsibilities: Life gets busy, and if you have full time work or anything else that takes up the majority of your time, it might just not be practical to set aside a few hours a day to plan your event. Hiring a planner who has the time and knows how to work efficiently will be key to hosting the event you have been dreaming of.

Day-Of: As a general rule, it is always a good idea to have someone other than yourself that vendors or guests can come to with any questions on the day of the event. Maybe you have someone responsible close to you that could handle this task, but if you can’t think of anyone, or if you want your close friends and family to be able to relax and enjoy your event, it would be a good idea to hire a planner or coordinator, at least for the day of the event.

Hiring a planner is never a bad idea, as there are always ways that a planner can assist you and things that a planner may know that you might not think of. Hopefully, if you have been unsure of whether or not to hire a planner, this list gave you a little bit of clarity and you are closer to making your decision!