Almost every wedding I’ve been to in the past five years has included some form of original wedding vow… or did they? Apparently, one of the newer ways for wordsmiths to make a little dough is by writing original wedding vows for tongue-tied couples. To me, the idea sounds preposterous, but I also make my living writing. Perhaps services that compose custom vows are a godsend for those brides and grooms for whom words don’t come easily?
For some time now, there have been web sites that provide pre-written wedding vows for a small fee. Elegant Wedding Vows is one. Wedding Vows Den is another. The content at those sites can be used as inspiration or as one’s actual wedding vows, but do require a degree of personalization. Outsourced wedding vows, on the other hand, are written for you and only you, using details about your life and relationship that you and your intended provide.
The Wall Street Journal recruited a couple to test drive some of the sites that provide this, um, interesting service.
Enchantment Online, a service run by a Florida-based wedding coordinator, provided forms with extensive check boxes, pull-down menus and open-ended questions about their story. But in some cases, the form didn’t allow the couple to specify which information pertained to which partner, making it difficult to complete. Special Occasion Poetry, a service that provides poems for events ranging from weddings to funerals, uses a form that asks about each partner’s traits, hobbies and talents. Ghostwriters Central, run by a speechwriter, asked the couple to answer questions about their history, describe their partner’s traits, and indicate whether specific memories, thoughts, quotes or sentiments should appear in vows; our couple found this service’s questions the most thought-provoking.
The wedding vows from the various vow writers were finished in 6 to 11 days and cost anywhere from $58 (which seems fairly reasonable) to $165 (which seems a tad steep). Would I use a vow writing service? Nope, but like I said, I’m a writer. The Beard isn’t a professional writer — in fact, he pretty much winged his vows on the spot — and still wouldn’t have paid money to have someone else write his vows. As he just said, “If you have to think about all the answers to the vow writer questionnaires anyway, why not just take your answers and write your vows yourself?”
The whole thing feels a little impersonal. After all, there are already standardized vows you can use or even riff off of if you really want semi-personalized wedding vows. How meaningful are your own personal vows going to be if the words you are saying were basically written by a script writer?