Getting married means more than just exchanging rings, It’s a promise to spend the rest of your lives together. Your wedding vows are the perfect opportunity to declare these promises and make sure your partner knows exactly what they mean to you. That’s why writing your own vows will be worth it, even if you find it challenging.
We're here to help because we know the thought of writing your own wedding vows might be intimidating, like the words you write have to be incredibly insightful, profound declarations of love; especially since it’s probably the only time in your life where you will publicly proclaim your feelings for your partner. That makes it really tempting to just skip the stress altogether and go with the traditional script, but writing your own has the potential to create a unique and intimate moment that gives your guests an insight into the love that you and your partner share, and it’ll most likely end up being one of your favorite parts of the wedding.
Are we officially writing them together?
There are a few different ways to approach writing your vows. First, you and your partner should decide whether you want to write them together and share the same vows, or write different ones. If you choose to write them separately, you should also discuss whether or not you want to keep them a secret for the big day or share them with each other beforehand.
Writing your vows together gives you the chance to talk about what you both love about your relationship, and might take some of the pressure off, especially if you choose to express the same vows. However, sharing the same vows gives you less of an opportunity to personalize them and make specific promises to each other.
If you write your vows separately, you can either read them to each other beforehand to make sure they’re similar in terms of length and tone or keep them as a surprise for the day. You also have the option of reading them to a close friend to ensure that you’ve both followed a similar format. Reading them for the first time at the wedding will be a moving experience that you get to share with all your friends and family, but can feel like a lot of pressure.
If you try to start writing your vows and get stuck, think about what’s making you feel blocked. If you’re worried that your words won’t sound impressive enough, remember that no matter what you say, it will be special and important because it’s your wedding day. Your guests will be happy for you no matter what, and your partner knows that these words could never fully sum up your feelings for them.
You could try to spark inspiration by looking through photos or keepsakes, using poems, books or movies to gather ideas, or using questions as prompts. Some questions that you could respond to in your vows include:
- How has he/she changed your view of the world?
- How did you know when you were in love?
- What did you think of them when you first met?
- What are your favorite things about them?
- What do you want to do together in the future?
- What have you experienced together that you never would have on your own?
It can also help to focus on one memory and start by writing about it. Your guests will appreciate that kind of insight into your relationship and it gives you the opportunity to share your feelings through a story.
Format me, format me not
If you’re writing your vows separately, it can be a good idea to agree on a rough format beforehand so that one person’s vows are not drastically different from the other’s. You might agree to make the same amount of promises to each other, or you might want to decide on something more specific, like a word count (maybe 400-600 words?) or how long they take to say (between two and four minutes?)
If you want to follow the same structure, you could choose a template to follow. A template might look something like this:
Begin with a declaration of love
You might want to start by saying who your partner is to you - your best friend, your lover, or your everything - and letting them know how much you love them. You might want to mention some specific things that you love about them and how they make you feel.
It's customary to make promises and state your intentions for the rest of your lives together. You may want to include a few traditional vows here, such as promising to love your partner in sickness and in health, through good times and bad. It’s important to acknowledge the seriousness of this commitment and let your partner know that you will be there for them, but you can also include some lighthearted promises that are specific to your relationship. You might want to let them know that you will try not to leave a wet towel on the floor again, or that you will let them steal the blankets at night. You might want to think about including particular goals that you share or things that you want to accomplish or experience together.
Share personal stories
You could use this opportunity to tell the story of how you first met or when you knew you were in love. Anecdotes like this give your audience a unique understanding of your relationship and can help you individualize your vows. Keep in mind that your goal is probably not to make the audience laugh, so don’t let humor overtake the seriousness of the occasion. You should also be careful not to embarrass your partner or include anything too intimate.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Giving yourself time to write your vows will give you the chance to think about them and revise them, rather than being stressed and feeling rushed. Inspiration may strike you at an unexpected time, and if you’ve already made a start it’ll be easier to build on what you’ve got. Planning a wedding can quickly make you busy, so it can be nice to steal a few minutes to remember why you’re doing it.
Don’t promise perfection
You should try to avoid using words like ‘always’ and ‘never' because it’s difficult to live up to absolutes over the course of an entire lifetime. Acknowledge that there will be ups and downs in your relationship and that you’re prepared to work through them.
Read them out loud
On the day, you’ll want to be able to speak passionately and freely, but it’s a good idea to practice your vows at least once before the big event. This can also help to point out anything that is too personal to be revealed, or that doesn’t quite sound right. You might want to read them aloud to a trusted friend to see how they sound beforehand.
Make a list of all your thoughts
It can be helpful to write things down as bullet points before trying to word full sentences. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect on the first go -- or ever! You can make multiple drafts if you like. You also shouldn’t be afraid to use quotes from poems, movies, or even other people’s vows. It doesn’t have to be all your own words - if you feel it, then it’ll resonate.
Don’t worry about including everything
You don’t need to feel pressure to include every thought you’ve ever had about your relationship. Wedding vows are usually only a few minutes long, and there’s no way this could ever really summarise the love you feel or the time you’ve spent together. No matter what you say or how nervous you are, your partner will love you and your guests will be happy for you.
Keep the ceremony moving
While you could probably spend forever writing your vows, there's plenty more to do, like exchanging rings, the first kiss, and walking down the aisle as newlyweds! This is to say, while your vows are an important element of the ceremony, they are not the be all and end all so keep a little perspective and we're sure your beloved will welcome everything you choose to say!
You're now ready for 'happily ever after!'