FEATURE: Katelyn Stanis from Wedding Words
I recently connected with Katelyn Stanis. She's based in New York, but works with clients everywhere. She’s the it girl for tongue-tied couples who need help writing their wedding vows. She also writes brides maid speeches and toasts. She was most recently featured in the New York Times for her story and growing business. She’s a small town Michigan girl who moved to New York to pursue her dreams and to help people put their hearts on paper.
Check out my interview with Katelyn to learn more about how you can customize your wedding day speeches and toasts.
Putting heart on paper
The it girl for tongue-tied couples.
Photo by: MONIKA BROZ
Tell us about your business. What do you do and how did you get started?
My name is Katelyn Stanis and I’m the creator of Wedding Words—a wedding vow and toast writing service. I collaborate with engaged couples who need help putting their heart into words for their custom wedding vows.
I’ve always wanted to create a career based on writing but like many creative fields, it’s a challenge to make that happen.
The idea to write custom wedding vows and toasts came to me in a sort of serendipitous way.
My grandfather unexpectedly passed away in the summer of 2017. My dad asked me to review the eulogy that he had spent over seven hours writing.
The eulogy sounded like it could have been written about anyone’s grandfather. The details that made it specific to my grandpa were missing. So I worked with my dad and went through the eulogy line-by-line.
I asked him what sort of feelings he had wanted to express and what characteristics he wanted to show about grandpa. I then reworked sections. In the end, my dad was thrilled. It was exactly what he had wanted to express but didn’t know how to articulate.
The idea to work with other people who struggle to put their heart into words kind of snowballed from there.
How do you feel about couples doing custom wedding vows versus traditional wedding vows?
I’m probably a bit biased but I love when couples read custom wedding vows. It makes the ceremony more special for you as a couple, for your guests, and for your wedding video.
I am actually a pretty traditional person in many aspects so I don’t really have anything against traditional wedding vows. However, I think really important milestones like getting married should be marked with meaningful words that capture exactly how you feel—which you can’t fully express with traditional vows alone.
Why is it important to personalize wedding vows?
Everyone’s journey to finding their love is unique and special in its own way. To me, choosing to get married is the ultimate act of celebrating your love. Those special moments in life are where I feel it’s important to reflect on what it means to you and to express how you feel.
It looks like you write more than just vows. Can you tell us what type of wedding day toasts you write and why people hire you to write them?
In addition to collaborating with couples to write custom wedding vows, I also work with the maid of honor, best man, and parents of the couple to write their toasts.
Most of the wedding party folks I’ve worked with really want to present an impactful toast and honor their best friend but they become filled with anxiety on how to deliver that.
That’s where I step in to help. They get to tell the story with the sentiment they imagined but without any of the stress of having to figure out how to construct the speech.
What is the process of hiring you to write vows and toasts?
When we work one-on-one together, the process starts with a video call. During this call I learn everything about your love story from how you two met to what makes you most excited to get married.
I then write and deliver a first draft. This is when you can provide feedback and edit suggestions. I’ll provide an update draft. Once a finalized version of the wedding vows are approved, I create a custom video that walks you through how to confidently deliver your specific set of wedding vows.
I’m also launching a new service this July. It’s going to be a digital course where brides will be guided through the vow writing process. At the end of the course, the bride can send her finalized vows to me and I’ll provide edits and feedback.
What type of clients do you work with? (personality, personal style, wedding vision, etc)
My clients are passionate people. They love the idea of wowing their guests or their future spouse with a powerful speech or sincere wedding vows but they are frozen with anxiety and stress.
My couples also have a genuine admiration for their partner and are more excited about their marriage than the wedding day alone. Hearing about their genuine love for each other makes the vow writing process even better.
What advice do you give couples on their actual wedding day?
Many of my couples are worried that they’ll become too emotional to deliver their wedding vows. I always tell my clients to embrace their emotions. It’s an emotional time and being vulnerable and open to your feelings will make the moment even more special.
Katelyn Stanis Wedding Words