Are you considering composing your wedding vows? It’s a huge task to sit down and try to condense all of your love, dreams, and promises to your lover into a few minutes. It’s well worth it, as overwhelming as it can be: It’s an opportunity to tell your story, let guests in on what makes your relationship tick, and exchange meaningful, beautiful words with the person you care about.
It’s also personal—you’re truly opening your heart to the love of your life in front of your family and closest friends. We’re here to assist you if you’re up for the challenge. Here’s everything you need to know about writing your own wedding vows, from examples and advice to sources of inspiration.
Wedding vows are pledges made by a couple at their wedding ceremony to each other. Wedding vows are frequently indicative of diverse religious practices, however they are not legally required for a marriage service, and they are not included in all religious or traditional wedding ceremonies.
Wedding vows are a typical component in wedding ceremonies in modern Western civilization, and are generally regarded as the most beautiful, intimate, and uplifting part of the ceremony. Wedding vows are spoken aloud from one spouse to the other and express the couple’s intentions for how they will think, feel, and act toward each other during their marriage in front of a room full of witnesses.
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What factors do you consider when making your wedding vows?
There are a wide variety of wedding vows to pick from, including options for many religions and denominations. When considering how to approach their wedding vows, couples should consider the following three levels of authorship:
According to their religion, they used traditional wedding vows exactly as written (or whichever set of traditional vows speaks to them).
Parts of traditional vows are used, but they are personalized with their own words or revisions.
They wrote their own wedding vows that were completely unique and individualized.
The style of wedding ceremony you have will determine the types of wedding vows you can pick from for some couples. You may be compelled to use the customary marriage vows of that faith if you are getting married in a house of worship by a priest, minister, rabbi, or other religious leaders. If you opt for a civil ceremony, conducted by a justice of the peace or another person ordained to perform marriages, you will have more latitude in selecting wedding vows that are meaningful to you.
If you have your heart set on a specific set of vows or want to exercise your creative muscles by writing your own, but plan to marry in a place of religion (such as a church, synagogue, or mosque), speak with your officiant. Wedding vows regulations may not be rigid, or he or she may be prepared to work with you to come up with a solution that feels appropriate for you.
When it’s time to pick your wedding vows, sit down with your partner and talk about the kinds of vows you’re most comfortable with. Examine the examples below, consider the vows you’ve heard at other weddings, and decide whether to use (or change) a set of traditional vows or write your own. If you’re changing traditional vows, make a draft of the vows you want to use and share it with your officiant.
Read our post on How To Write Your Wedding Vows if you feel that writing unique wedding vows is for you.
Writing Your Own Wedding Vows is a great way to personalize your wedding vows.
Yes, composing your own vows might be intimidating. Yes, having a case of writer’s block is common. And, certainly, there are a slew of pointers for crafting the ideal wedding vows for your special day.
The following are our top ten suggestions for drafting your own wedding vows:
Decide on the tone and length of your message
After all, you’re writing your own vows, so you want them to represent your distinct personality. But, because this is essentially a celebration of who you are as a couple, you’ll want to make sure your vows reflect that. You can be lighthearted, serious, romantic, or religious, depending on what seems appropriate to you both. You should also decide on a basic length (one to two minutes each) so that your vows are consistent for your guests.
What’s the best approach to get started drafting your vows? Look for inspiration and direction in other vows you enjoy. Don’t be hesitant to borrow a sentence or two from your favorite poetry, phrases, religious texts, or other vows that have struck a chord with you (we don’t encourage a full copy-and-paste job, but taking a line or two is perfectly acceptable). You’ll begin to notice patterns in the expressions you’re drawn to, which will aid in the creation of your own vows. Check out some of our favorite wedding vow samples to get you started.
Begin by taking some notes
Take a minute to reflect on your relationship, favorite memories, moments, and milestones before putting pen to paper. Consider how you felt after your first date or when you first met your future husband or wife. Consider travels you’ve gone together, occasions when you took extra care of each other, any problems you’ve faced, what makes you both laugh, times when you’ve been very joyful, what you appreciate about your fiancé, and your future expectations. When you’re ready to create your vows, you’ll be able to refer back to your notes for those crucial specifics.
Make some commitments
The pledge you’re making to each other, the “to have and to hold” part, is at the heart of wedding vows. You can use the standard “I do” recitations directly, incorporate them after you’ve spoken your own vows, or completely reinvent these promises. However, it is these promises that will cement your relationship, so choose one, two, or several to deliver and commit to. These can be general (“I pledge to love you every day of our lives together.”) or specific to your relationship (“I promise to always give you the last blueberry pancake.”).
Make sure you have plenty of time to write your initial draft
You’ve got your notes and your pledges, and now it’s time to start putting them all together. You may find various wedding vow templates online (available here) to help you put your thoughts into words, but you’ll want to include the following: what brought you together, what you love about your partner, your commitments, and a look ahead. And start writing this draft as soon as possible—you don’t want to add to your stress by composing vows at the last minute. To allow yourself enough time to rehearse, write your vows at least three weeks before your wedding.
Remove any inside jokes or humiliating anecdotes
Do you wish to be amusing? Great. Loving? Yes, of course. Silly? After all, why not? While you’re reading your vows to your soon-to-be husband first and foremost, you’re also reading them in front of your family and friends. Filling your speech with allusions only your fiancé will understand isn’t the greatest way to go if you want them to enjoy this occasion as well. Embarrassing them in front of your visitors is even worse (no references to exes or messy college days, please).
Keep an eye out for clichés. Clichés are a little more difficult to spot (and remove)
After all, they’re clichés for a reason: they’re fantastic but overused phrases. If you see a few of these in your document, try rephrasing the sentiment to include details about your connection (e.g., “It was love at first sight” may be rephrased as “I’ll never forget the feeling I got when I first saw you walk into that restaurant in downtown San Francisco…”). You can’t think of a suitable replacement? Don’t worry, a cliché won’t detract from the significance of your vows.
Make a habit of reading them aloud
This. Is. Extremely. Important. Reading your vows aloud is beneficial not just for polishing your pronunciation and boosting your confidence, but it also serves as a useful editing tool. What sounds good in your thoughts may sound clumsy when spoken aloud, and you’ll be able to find additional places to edit and adapt. Record yourself reading them for extra points. We understand, but being able to hear and see yourself read your own vows is a terrific way to fine-tune your performance.
Make a few copies of the document
If you don’t have a printed copy of your vows on the big day, you won’t be able to access them unless you’re getting married in your own garden (and reading off your phone is not ideal). A simple printed piece of paper, a charming note card that complements your wedding colors or stationery, or a handwritten message can all be used. Whatever you choose, be sure it complements your partner’s. (Tip: Turn your vows into an art print to place in your home as a meaningful keepsake after the wedding.)
Allow yourself time when the time comes
The time has finally come! Give yourself a moment to compose yourself when it’s your turn to speak: take a deep breath, make sure you’re standing comfortably (no locked knees! ), and look your partner in the eyes—they’re your person, and their supporting look will provide you with comfort. Make sure the microphone is close to your mouth if one is available, and then proceed! The first few words will be the most difficult, so don’t worry if you stumble. No one, not even your beloved, will remember that.
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Writing Wedding Vows Suggestions
Don’t worry if you’re having problems with steps 1-10. While going through the steps above, keep the following guidelines in mind for drafting your wedding vows:
Begin as soon as possible. Begin writing your vows as soon as possible so you have enough of time to discover inspiration, procrastinate, and enjoy coming up with all the reasons you’re saying, “I, Do!”
Talk about your wedding vows with your fiancé. For your wedding day, you’ll want to keep the final outcome a surprise. However, if you and your partner agree on a specific style, format, or tone for your vows, it may make you feel more at ease. Will you include some of the same commitments that typical wedding vows include? Are you going to stick to romantic promises or try something a little more lighthearted? Some couples even choose to exchange their wedding vows before the big day. The best thing is that you and your partner get to choose!
Make sure you’re surrounded with memories. Whether it’s old photographs, your first love letter, or treasured souvenirs, these mementos will remember you of all the memorable experiences you and your partner have enjoyed. One moment may remind you of another, which may lead to that one time, and before you realize it, you’ve accumulated an excessive number of ideas.
Make a list of everything you want to do. Don’t worry about crafting whole sentences when you first sit down to write your vows. Begin jotting down anything comes to mind.
Answer a few questions about your relationship if you feel stuck.
Why did you decide to tie the knot?
When you first saw him/her, what did you think?
When did you realize you were in love for the first time?
What do you now have that you didn’t have before meeting?
What has she/he done to alter your perspective of the world?
What do you miss about each other when you’re not together?
What challenges have you faced as a couple?
What makes you and your partner tick?
Get motivated. You might look at several wedding vow samples, such as the ones listed below. You’ll be able to get a lot of ideas here. You can even get ideas from your favorite poets, novelists, or love films, as long as you don’t let their words overshadow your own. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas you like, attempt to figure out what it is about those vows that appeals to you and incorporate it into your own.
Anything too personal or humiliating should be avoided. You’ll want your guests to be able to understand what you’re saying and participate in this wonderful occasion. As you re-read what you’ve written, keep the inside jokes and any words you second-guess to a minimum. You might also have a buddy go through your vows with you to make sure you didn’t leave anything out.
Pause for a moment. When you come back to your writing the next day, it may be at its best. Take a break if you’re in need of one. This is why you began so early in the process in the first place.