Writing your own vows is the ultimate way to customize the ceremony. Make every word count by steering clear of these common wedding vow mistakes brides and grooms make.

1. Using Clichés or Trite Terms

“I will love you to the end of time” may be how you feel, but the words can come across more cheesy than charming. If it sounds like a greeting card, try to mix up the words and make them more unique to you and your relationship. Get inspired by song lyrics, poems, and books. Read through any love letters, texts or emails you’ve sent over your courtship for some vow-worthy lines or memories.

2. Getting WAY Too Personal

Don’t be that bride who over shares. Banish any mentions of the following: your sex life, fights you’ve had, exes, specific references to sad events in your lives or inside jokes that only the two of you will get. Humor is good but don’t say silly things like ‘I promise to let you go out every Thursday night with the boys.’ Focus instead on how much he means to you, his best traits, how happy he makes you, and your future together.

3. Writing Never Ending Vows

When it comes to vows, shorter is better. You’re declaring your love and commitment to your partner, not giving a TED talk.

4. Not Writing it Down

Even if you plan to memorize your vows, be sure to write it all down on paper (not in your phone), just in case. Even acting pros use cue cards for speeches, so follow their lead and have your script on hand during your big moment! Give copies to the maid of honor, best man and officiant to hold onto as well.

5. Forgetting to Look at Each Other

Nerves and excitement may keep your head transfixed to the paper in your hands. Look up! Speak the words to the person who inspired them.

6. Not Saying it Out Loud First

Sometimes what we write on paper sounds awkward when spoken out loud. You may have to tinker with the words but you won’t know that if you don’t try them out beforehand.

7. Not Practicing With a Mic

Avoid any fumbling by learning how to use a hand-held microphone. Know things like where the on/off switch is, how to control your volume (speak at your normal level—no shouting!) and how to hold the mic without muffling the sound. Ideally you shouldn’t have to hold the mic at all. A great sound person will only mic the officiant and maybe the groom and then the bride’s voice will get picked up on their mics.

8. Mumbling or Rushing

If you’re not using a mic, it’s up to you to speak loud enough so your guests can hear you. If you get nervous, take a deep breath (it really works) and continue saying your vows. The extra oxygen will calm you down and keep you from speeding through too.

9. Procrastinating Until the Last Minute

This usually happens when the bride and/or groom don’t know how to express themselves and worry they’ll come across foolish. Relax! If whatever you say is truthful and heartfelt, your vows will be perfect.

©CTW Features