The big day is rapidly approaching, and you’ve got writer’s block. Writing your own vows is a difficult task: you want to express how much your partner means to you as you make promises for your life together.
Many couples opt for the standard, traditional vows because it’s easier than writing your own. If you want to express your own thoughts, feelings, and promises, however, writing your own vows is deeply romantic. It can also be nerve-wracking to share your deepest feelings in front of friends and family, however.
Use our tips and template to learn how to write your wedding vows.
If you’re struggling to put your feelings into words, take these steps to get you started:
Decide whether you want to write your own vows
You may have already taken this step, but consider whether you want to write your own vows or use the standard ones. There’s no shame in sticking to the tried and true vows of your culture or religion. You can even take religious vows, like Christian vows, and tweak them to make them your own.
If you are writing personalized vows, check with your officiant to ensure that personal vows are allowed and so that they’re aware to work them into the ceremony.
Discuss your vows with your partner
Many couples keep their vows a secret until the wedding day, but even if you plan to surprise one another it’s a good idea to go over some general guidelines. How long should the vows be? You don’t want to write much more or much less than your husband or wife-to-be.
Will your vows be seriously romantic, humorous, or both? Discussing what you want your vows to look like with your significant other is a good first step before you start writing.
Research other wedding vows
Get Googling. There’s no shame in looking for inspiration from other vows.
You can check out the traditional vows of your religion or other religious traditions, look at poetry, books, movies, or just Google sample vows to get you started. There’s nothing wrong with stealing ideas from any of these sources, but it’s a good idea to tweak them to truly make them your own.
Reflect on your relationship
You’ve chosen to write your own vows, so you probably want them to be personal and specific to your own relationship. Consider what elements of that relationship you want to use in your vows. Take notes, and then you can pick from your best ideas. Some questions to consider and free write on could be:
- How did you first meet?
- How did you fall in love?
- What do you want your future together to look like?
- How do you want to support one another?
- Why do you want to marry your significant other?
- What do you love most about this person?
- What is your favorite memory together?
Vows typically include promises to your spouse (“I vow to . . ” ). While your vows can be more anecdotal or reflective, most people expect to hear some promises in the vows unless you and your partner decided otherwise. Consider what promises to your significant other you truly want to make and keep throughout your marriage.
Consider your audience
The most important audience is, of course, the person you are marrying and to whom the vows are addressed. It is also important, however, to consider the rest of your audience: the guests at your wedding. Don’t pander to them, but keep in mind that your vows shouldn’t offend anyone or be so private that it confuses the guests (e.g. inside jokes that no one understands).
Write and edit your vows
If you haven’t started yet, get writing. Write a lot, and then it will be easier to scale it down to an average length (most vows speeches only last one or two minutes).
Once you’ve brainstormed and written out your ideas, you can decide what vows are most important, what phrasing you like the best, and what is most on-par with the overall tone and message you’re going for. The more you write, the easier it is to identify what points you most want to include in the real thing.
Practice reading your wedding vows
Practice reading your vows out loud. You don’t have to memorize them, but you’ll want to practice saying the words so that you don’t stumble over them during the real thing. It’s also good to hear how they sound aloud to help figure out what sounds good, great, or only okay during the editing process.
Wedding Vow Template
Perhaps you know what sentiment you want to express through your vows, but you’re not sure how vows typically sound. Where do you start? How long should your wedding vows be?
Use traditional vows as a template for how long your vows will be and how they should sound. You can also follow this general template:
Promise to Stick Around
One of the most important wedding vows is the vow to stay together no matter what. Standard wedding vows include promises about staying together “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health”.
You can say this in your own words if you’re writing your own vows. Vow to stay with your partner through thick and thin, through good times and bad – that’s what a marriage is all about.
The reality of getting married is accepting that not every moment will be perfect. While your wedding day is a peak, there will be valleys and difficulties in any marriage. Don’t forget to promise to stand by your partner through it all in your vows.
Make Other Promises
Aside from the promise to stay with one another ‘til death, your vows should include other promises to your partner. These can range from super serious to silly – it’s okay to include some funnier vows if that matches the style of your relationship.
Your vows, and your marriage, is meant to be a serious commitment. While silly vows are perfectly okay to include, you should believe in the promises you are making on your wedding day.
Include vows that fit your day-to-day life together, that correspond with your long term relationship goals, or that are specific to your relationship.
Some wedding vow examples include the promise to never go to bed angry, to always be honest and open with one another, or to make all big life decisions as a team. Consider your relationship and make vows that fit your goals and your personal love for one another.
Tell a Story
While your vows shouldn’t be too long, you can still choose to tell a short story or anecdote that best represents your relationship and your commitment to one another. You can tell the story of how your relationship survived long-distance, the moment you knew you wanted to marry your partner, or even the story of how you met.
A short, meaningful story can help to emphasize your love for each other, and it can tie in with your vows. For example, if you met while traveling and share a love of exploring, you could tell that story and vow to always go on adventures together.
Don’t be afraid to be specific in your vows. Since you’re writing your own wedding vows, the point is that they should be more personal. While promising to support each other is lovely, try to be more specific to your relationship.
Instead of simply promising to support your partner, promise to support them in more specific ways. This could mean offering to walk the dogs or take care of the kids when they worked a late shift, or holding their hand when they get one of their regular migraines.
You can also include funny vows – like promising to always kill bugs for your partner, or promising to let them choose the movie without complaints.
More specific, personal vows show your loved ones how well you know each other and how you really will treat one another in your daily lives. Lofty promises are fine to include as well, but don’t be afraid to get into the details.
Say “I Love You”
Don’t forget to tell your partner that you love them in your vows, and promise to keep loving them. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to mention!
Wedding Vow Tips
If you’re struggling with how to write wedding vows, use these tips.
- Start writing early. Wedding planning is difficult and time consuming, but don’t procrastinate your vows until the last minute. Writing wedding vows at the last minute will only make you feel more stressed about finding the right words to say. Get your vows written early so that you have time to edit them and so that you aren’t scrambling right before the big day.
- Make a list. If you’re not sure where to start, make a list of anything and everything you might want to mention. It doesn’t have to include fully fleshed out thoughts and sentences – just brainstorm what you want to mention in your vows. Try a list or another organizational chart to get your ideas down before you start writing your vows.
- Make realistic promises. While it’s great to promise to always love your partner for the rest of your life, more specific vows should be realistic. You may want to promise to sleep next to each other every night, but realistically a work trip may make that impossible. Try to be realistic so that you can actually keep your vows.
- Don’t be shy. Some of us have a hard time expressing sentimental feelings, especially in front of a crowd. Your wedding is a celebration of your love, however, so don’t be afraid to sound cheesy. Speak from the heart and don’t worry about feeling embarrassed by your true feelings in front of friends and family.
- Don’t be afraid to be funny. If you and your significant other are always laughing together, why not share a laugh at the altar? Don’t be afraid to include lighthearted vows or shared jokes. Not all vows have to be 100% serious and solemn.
- Write out pauses. Even if you’re an accomplished public speaker, it can be easy to rush through your vows on the wedding day. Write out where you want to pause, where you need to take a breath, or where to change your tone. This way, you’ll be fully prepared to share your vows as you want them to sound on the big day.
- Practice with a friend. Reading your vows out loud is good practice for the real thing. Ask your best friend (perhaps the maid of honor or best man) to listen as you practice your vows and offer constructive criticism. The more your practice, the more confident you’ll feel when it’s time to make your vows to your partner.
- Keep your vows a secret. It can be tempting to share your vows with your fiance before your wedding day. Try to keep them a secret! It will be more special to hear your partner make their vows to you on your wedding day if they’re a total surprise.
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