Writing your own wedding vows can seem like a daunting task, but once you’re standing at the altar all the effort will be worth it. They offer you an opportunity to speak from the heart on arguably the most important day of your life, while also giving your guests unique glimpses into your relationship and all the heartwarming reasons that make it so special. Here are some helpful tips when you’re ready to put pen to paper.
So how do you write amazing wedding vows?
- Talk with your partner about expectations
- Decide the tone of the vows
- Reflect on the history of the relationship
- Make promises to your partner
- Make it short and genuine
- Have a clean copy
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
Everyone Is on the Same Page
Communication is key in any relationship, which is why our number one tip is to talk with your partner about writing original vows and your individual expectations for this critical portion of the ceremony. Do you prefer to write the vows separately or together? Do you want to read your vows for the first time at the altar or do you prefer to coordinate things like length and tone? Put in a more emotional way, is it more important to feel surprised and delighted or aligned and confident?
It’s also very important to let the officiant know of your plans, as some religions require that more traditional, prescribed language be spoken between the couple.
Tone of Vows
As mentioned above, the tone of your vows should be considered seriously. Do you prefer a humorous approach that includes inside jokes, subtle jabs and more? Or, is the romantic approach more appropriate in which you share all the things you love about each other? Perhaps it’s a tasteful touch of both? There is no wrong answer. Whatever you and your significant other decide, it should simply be an accurate reflection of your relationship.
Write About Your Relationship
Take time to reflect on the full history of your relationship — old photos are great way to conjure up past memories. Write about the first time you saw each other, your first impressions, all the qualities that made you fall in love and when you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. More often than not, there is a mix of both humorous and touching moments in all of these milestones.
Asking yourself questions can also help get the creative juices flowing. What difficult times have you both been through? How have you supported each other through the good times and bad? What do you respect most about each other? How has your life changed since meeting? What habits does your partner possess that you’ve grown to adore?
Whether you choose to go the quirky and humorous or more thoughtful and poetic route, personalized wedding vows can help make the ceremony unforgettable.
They’re called wedding vows for a reason, which is why making a few declarations to your partner is highly advisable. To that end, consider including something similar to the following:
- I promise to always be there for you
- I promise to always find the good even in the bad
- I promise to laugh with you and to comfort you when you’re sad
- I promise to always be supportive of you even in the worst of times
You can also make more humorous declarations that pertain specifically to you and your partner. Something along the lines of the following:
- I promise to always turn the volume up when your favorite song comes on
- I promise I’ll always let you watch football with minimal interruptions
- I promise I’ll always let you watch your favorite movie or favorite show
Make It Yours, Make It Genuine & Keep It Short and Sweet
Writing wedding vows is no simple task, but it certainly adds a layer of personalization to the ceremony. It’s a great opportunity to tie moments from your relationship into promises that you both keep for the rest of your lives together.
Don’t stress about sounding eloquent. It’s more important that your vows are genuine and an accurate reflection of your relationship. A good rule of thumb is to avoid using phrases that sound borrowed from other sources like a famous poem or popular movie. If any phrasing reads like a tongue twister, cut it! Ditch the cliché phrases, too, and write from your heart instead.
While vows are a centerpiece of the ceremony, they don’t need to be longer than three minutes. Remaining short and sweet starts with writing down all of your ideas and then editing yourself. Avoid repetition as much as possible, reworking the narrative to cover more aspects of your relationship. If some of what you want to say is better shared in private, away from friends, family and guests, write them down in a card and give it to him or her on the day of your wedding. In most cases, this gesture can be as special and memorable as the vows themselves.
Make a Clean Copy
Even if you memorize your vows for the big day, don’t underestimate how both nervousness and excitement can cause you to stumble and forget some of the things you want to say. You’re only human, after all. We suggest making a clean copy of your vows, about notecard size, to help. “Clean” means the notecards are free of scribbles, crossed out words or any other marks that make them difficult to read. You can ask the best man, maid of honor or officiant to carry them if need be.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s an old saying, but that doesn’t make it less true! Your vows should be easy to recite and if you’re able, easy to memorize. By practicing beforehand you’ll avoid staring down at your notecards while reciting them and instead be able to reference them quickly while looking into your partner’s eyes.
Ask a friend or family member to join you in a few trial runs. It’s a bonus if you can also find someone who’s a great writer. They’ll be able to help with any struggles you’re having with awkward phrasing, pacing, and more.
Practicing your vows also includes practicing your posture while delivering them. Stand up straight, shoulders back in a comfortable stance and look straight ahead. It’s a high-pressure moment no doubt, but with a little preparation you’ll be ready.
Examples of How to Write Wedding Vows
The examples below first appeared on The Knot and were collected from real couples. They range from humorous to sentimental to shared.
“Mike vowed to change me from ‘the lady friend’ in his cell phone to ‘wifey.’”
“Jenna vowed to only purchase one more dog.”
“I promise if there’s only one avocado left, I’ll let you have it.”
“I promise to put you first and love you even when you get real sassy.”
“Eric, you and I both know how indecisive I can be at times. I simply don’t like to make decisions. But if there is one decision in my life that I know is the right one, it’s to spend the rest of my life with you. There is an infinite number of things I love about you. I love your thoughtfulness and your ability to keep me grounded. I love your loyalty to me and our relationship. I love the way you weirdly get excited about Chipotle water and I love how when you laugh really hard, your one eye starts to crinkle up. I promise to be patient with you, even if it means that I have to listen to how you should have started that one player on your Fantasy Football bench every single Sunday during football season.”
"Chelsey, when we first met, I never imagined this day would come, but now that we are here, I couldn't have imagined choosing anyone else but you to go through life's journey with. I love your laugh, your smile, your caring nature and that face you make when something is so cute, you just have to squeeze it. I promise to support you, to honor you and to love you unconditionally, even when we may disagree on something. Like whether The Bachelor or Monday Night Football is more important to watch. I can't imagine where I would be without you, and I cannot wait to continue this crazy journey with you by my side, I love you.”
"You are my lover and my teacher,
You are my model and my accomplice,
And you are my true counterpart.
I will love you, hold you and honor you,
I will respect you, encourage you and cherish you,
In health and sickness,
Through sorrow and success,
For all the days of my life."
There is no wrong or right way on how to write your wedding vows. Just do your best to make it as genuine as possible, and it will be a moment you both remember for the rest of your lives together.