Words are something we use without thinking. They allow us to communicate with others through conversation, but also to reflect within ourselves thanks to diaries.
Given that our use of language is so constant, so absolute, it’s easy to forget the power that words can have. We all have that one favorite book that inspired wonder in us; the memory of a powerful conversation; favorite quotes we lean on for comfort. But in general, our use of words is about function, not beauty. That’s a necessity of course – no one is expecting purple prose as you dash off an email about your latest expenses claim – but when it comes to your wedding, the words you choose matter.
A wedding is generally full of imagery. It’s two hands clasped together, a loving kiss, the bride smiling up at the groom as they dance for the first time as man and wife.
But for a wedding to really stand out, it’s the words that bind all of this together that really count.
“You are cordially invited to the wedding of…”
We can all agree the above is a classic, but the wording you choose for your invitations might want to strike out and be a little more original.
In times past, invitations would be addressed from the parents of the bride. If you’re going for a vintage feel, then that’s worth considering – but for most, it’s a little outdated. The words on an invitation need to balance practicality (time, place, mention of a registry, need for RSVP) with something a little special.
Consider choosing a card that allows two sections. The important details go in one section, then pick a poem (or song lyrics) for another. This brings everything together, while still letting the two stand separate from one another.
Whether or not you should write your own vows is a sticking point that many couples find themselves debating.
Using traditional vows works well for religious weddings. It’s also a good idea if you like the notion of repeating the same words that couples have been using for centuries – a nice nod to the history of the institution of marriage.
If you’d like to write your own, keep them personal. Stay away from cliches like “knew you were the one” or “you are my better half” – go for something that has a true meaning to you as a couple. You can make them funny if you want a few smiles through the happy tears, or stick to promises you know you’re going to be able to keep.
Finally, it’s impossible to address how words and weddings link together without a nod to the speeches.
The best man’s speech is usually a highlight of the evening – but it’s worth thinking about other guests in attendance. Does your 90-year-old grandma need to hear all the excruciating details of past sins of your now-husband? Think of your guests and what might be appropriate for them; you can have a word with the best man if you have your doubts!