Writing your own vows can be one of the sweetest ways to give your guests a glimpse into the idiosyncrasies of your love story. On the flipside, writing your own vows almost ensures you’ll need waterproof mascara—hopefully you’re a pretty crier! If you’ve weighed the pros and cons, here’s a helpful little guide to get you started!
Most vows follow a structure of: recounting the moment you met and affirming your love, adding in some personality details of what you love about your partner, and concluding with vows and promises for the future.
To kick off, research, research, research! You’ll want to consider the length of your relationship, and pick out the key moments or favorite aspects to share. After all, a wedding is a public declaration of your love and commitment to each other, so make sure to keep the inside jokes or embarrassing details to a minimum, while still being specific. Here are some helpful questions to think about, and incorporate in your vows:
- What were your first thoughts about the other person when you met?
- How have you, your worldviews, values, or life changed because of being with them?
- What are their most admirable character traits?
- What do you miss about them when they’re gone?
- What are some unforgettable experiences you shared with them, and what did that show you about them?
- What inspires you about the person?
- What shared goals or dreams do you have, and how will you accomplish them?
- Where do you see yourselves in the future?
- How will you work together in your marriage?
These are just a few thought-joggers to get the party started, but recounting chronologically from past to present, and future will give your vows a natural structure. Think: if guests were meeting you as a couple for the first time, what would you want them to know about your relationship, and the other person?
Overall, keep vows to one or two minutes. You’d be surprised at how much punch you can pack into the 120 seconds, and want to keep it concise so the audience doesn’t have to sit through all the ups and downs of falling in love. Most importantly, though words are important, make sure your vows stay true to your relationship, and appropriate given the setting. You want it to be heartfelt, but the tone will help you on delivery (though some playful humor sprinkled in is always a good idea!). Will it be mostly funny and lighthearted? Traditional? Romantic and passionate? Then, decide whether or not you and your partner will write your vows together and refine, or keep them secret for the big day.
It might be hard to avoid following a Mad Libs: Wedding Vows edition, but remind yourself that your love story is unique, and only borrow the “big” framework vows (I vow to always love you, in sickness and in health…). Plagiarism here isn’t a crime! Get your pen to paper, and see what thoughts first come to mind. You’ll likely do a lot of writing, erasing, refining, and reorganizing over time, so don’t put it off until the last minute!
Ultimately, your vows are yours, and should sound like a declaration of your love. If they don’t sound like Shakespeare, or the perfect words you imagined, that is completely okay. As long as they’re genuine, your spouse and guests will be able to feel the love in which they’re written!
If you have any revelations or tips for other brides while writing your vows, please share below!