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Everything you need to know to make your vows the highlight of your special day

Of all the elements of your wedding, the vow exchange during your ceremony is arguably the most important. Sure, the maid of honor speech may be heartfelt (and the best man speech is sure to bring the house down). The flowers will be gorgeous and the menu you meticulously crafted will be delicious. But your wedding is really about your love—and your promises to each other for marriage. 

These days, as couples personalize so many aspects of their weddings, many people choose to write wedding vows themselves. Personal wedding vows give you the chance to say exactly what’s in your heart to your spouse-to-be and make your ceremony truly your own. 

If you’re considering writing your own vows, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to make your vows truly memorable. 

Why should you write your own wedding vows?

While in the past most people opted for traditional wedding vows for their ceremonies, personalized wedding vows are becoming more and more popular. You’ve worked hard to make so many aspects of your wedding day feel uniquely yours so why shouldn’t your vows be just as personal? Since your wedding ceremony is the point of your wedding celebration anyway it makes sense to spend some time really tailoring your vows to fit you and the special couple that you are. 

Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Own Personal Vows 

wedding
(Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)

Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), talk with your fiance so you can get on the same page about writing your own vows. While your respective vows will be your own (and you may opt to surprise each other on the actual wedding day with what you’re going to say) you should lay down a few parameters so that your vows complement each other.

Here are some key questions you should answer together: 

How long should our wedding vows be?

It’s important to agree on the ideal length for your vows so that one person isn’t talking for 30 seconds and the other person is talking for 15 minutes. While your vows don’t have to be exactly the same length, they should be in the same ballpark. Anywhere from two to five minutes is a good amount of time. 

How personal should our wedding vows get?

Talk with each other about your level of comfort with personal stories and anecdotes. One of you may be more private than the other when it comes to what you want to share about your relationship—and what you’re okay with sharing in front of your families. Personal wedding vows are just that, personal, so definitely discuss this aspect so that you’re both comfortable. 

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Do we want funny wedding vows or more romantic wedding vows?

It’s always a good call to discuss the vibe you want for your wedding ceremony in general and your wedding vows are a big part of that. While you don’t have to both write the same kind of vows, it’s worth discussing your wants and expectations. One of you might want to write more funny wedding vows, while the other might want to write more romantic wedding vows. Ideally, your vows would have a mix of both but if one of you is more serious and sentimental and the other is more goofy, you can use your vows as a fun way to reflect your different personalities. 

Are we incorporating religious wedding vows?

Writing religious wedding vows or non denominational wedding vows can be a big decision, especially if your families have input in your ceremony. If you are of the same faith, you can consider incorporating elements of religious wedding vows into your personalized ones. Or, if you have different religious backgrounds, one of you could include, for instance, some catholic wedding vows in your promises to your spouse to reflect your background, while your partner could weave buddhist wedding vows into theirs.  

Are we incorporating traditional wedding vows?

wedding
(Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash)

Talk about whether you’ll be incorporating traditional wedding vows into your own. The content of traditional vows can vary, with some focusing on the “in sickness and in health” component or language like “from this day forward,” with others highlighting an “obedient and faithful wife,” which may or may not jive with your partner’s wishes. Many traditional wedding vows focus on traditional gender roles while more modern wedding vows highlight a more egalitarian partnership. 

Key Elements That Your Wedding Vows Should Have

Whatever the content of your personal vows end up being, they should have these four key elements: 

A meaningful quote or saying

Choose a special love quote that reminds you of your relationship or your fiance to help anchor your words and provide a more universal sentiment.

Personal touches or anecdotes

Make your personal vows uniquely yours with a short story that exemplifies your love and gives your loved ones an inside view into your relationship. 

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Clear promises to each other

This is the meat of your vows where you make specific pledges to each other to seal your lifetime bond. 

A declaration of love 

Finally, don’t forget to say “I love you” to your partner during your vows. That’s pretty important but not always obvious as something you should include.

wedding
(Photo by In Lieu & In View Photography on Unsplash)

Foolproof Wedding Vow Tips

If you don’t consider yourself a writer (and even if you do) sitting down and writing your vows can feel a little daunting. The following wedding vow tips will help make the process a little easier. 

Give yourself plenty of time

Wedding planning can be overwhelming and time consuming but you don’t want the task of writing your own vows to get overlooked until just before the big day. Once you decide to write your own vows, try working on them early so you have time to revise. 

Get inspiration

Feel free to borrow from other wedding vow examples to help you figure out what you want to say. Think about weddings you’ve been to and which vows you really connected with, then try to determine why those worked so well. If you haven’t been to a lot of weddings, you can look up sample wedding vows online to read through what other couples have written for each other. 

Do a free write for your first draft

Sit down and just write. Don’t censor yourself or worry about length, just get ideas down. Once you finish this first draft, which is really the hardest part, you can edit it down to just the really good stuff. 

Ask for input

Your vows don’t need to be shrouded in secrecy. You can read them to your partner before your wedding day without the sentiment being any less during the actual ceremony. Or you can ask a trusted friend for their input. At the very least, reading your vows to someone will help with your nerves and give you some help with the editing process. 

Don’t Overthink Your Own Vows

Finally, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to write perfect vows. Your vows will be special and meaningful because of the context you say them in. Write (and speak) from the heart and you’ll be just fine. Promise.

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