I don’t know about you, but I LOVE when couples write their own wedding vows. Each pair tells a different tale – they speak about the things that are meaningful to them while allowing their personalities to shine. You get a little glimpse into the relationship that perhaps you haven’t seen before, as they promise to love one another until ‘death parts them’. It’s not easy to write your own vows though! It takes time, a little courage, and a lot of thought.
[Photo: Williams & Klein]
Everyone seems to agree that before doing anything else, talk about it with your future spouse. The Knot asks all the right questions: “Decide how you want your vows to come across. Do you envision them as humorous? Poetic and romantic? Go over the logistics too. Will you write them separately or together? Will they be completely different or will you make the same promises to each other as you would with traditional vows? Some couples do a little of each. Finally, will you share them with each other or keep them a secret until the wedding day?” So important! You wouldn’t want to have a situation like Monica and Chandler did in Friends.
Take Your Time With Your Wedding Vows
Don’t expect to write your vows the night before the wedding. That’s a recipe for disaster. Give yourself plenty of time in case you experience writer’s block, or you need time to edit or have a family member or friend look them over. These should be something you put time and heart into, not something you procrastinate over then rush through writing at the very last minute. Give your vows the time and thought they deserve.
As you’re reflecting and preparing to write, think back to the beginning of your relationship. Did you know from the beginning that you’d found ‘the one’? Did you have obstacles to overcome, which proved you were meant for one another? Does you partner have qualities you thought you’d never find in a significant other? Is your fiancé your teammate, your cheerleader, your support system, your rock? Does your fiancé balance or complement your personality, together becoming the perfect puzzle? How does your partner show you they care? It’s often the little things that mean the most. Think about your goals for the future – the things you know you want to accomplish together. Do you want children, do you want to travel the world, do you want to give back to your community? What do you vow to do for your partner to ensure a lasting and love-filled marriage? When things get tough, how will you re-center and find the foundation you’ve built?
Both sources have a couple of key reminders:
Make promises to each other – “they’re called vows for a reason”.
Don’t forget to say I love you!
I also like this advice from Brides – “Acknowledge you’ll need help and support of others”.
Don’t feel like you have to sit down and write composed sentences the first time around. As you reflect on your relationship and your hopes for your future life together, just start with a list of bullet points. This will give you some initial material to work with, which you can use as a tool when you begin writing.
[Photo: John Bosley Photography]
Write The Wedding Vows!
You’ve spent time thinking about all the reasons you can’t wait to marry your partner, and you’ve jotted them down in list form. Now you’re ready to put it together. Start writing, and know that it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start. You can go back and edit your vows as many times as you’d like.
- Be authentic. Use a voice that’s true to you. Write in a style that reflects how you would normally speak, not how you think vows ‘should’ sound. (Are you catching on that I don’t like the word ‘should’?)
- Personalize! The point of writing your own vows is to make unique and memorable promises to each other, while sharing insight into your relationship. While you don’t want to go off the deep end here, do include personal tidbits where you can that make these vows YOURS.
- If you’re having trouble structuring your vows, feel free to look at examples to give you an idea of how you’d like to format yours.
- Edit! Read and reread them (with breaks in between). Make sure you’re conveying the sentiments you want to convey, that you’re comfortable with how they sound, and that they’re not too long or too short. The Knot suggests a minute, two tops.
You’ve finalized your vows, and you have it legibly written out or printed. After all that work, don’t forget them on the big day! Give them to your officiant or coordinator before heading down the aisle. You don’t want to carry them down the aisle … or worse, forget to carry them down the aisle.
[Photo: Earl James Photography]
If you love the idea of writing your own vows, but aren’t fully comfortable with the process, there are other things you can do to personalize your ceremony. Work with your officiant to settle on your choice of vows, then find a reading you’d like to incorporate that is meaningful to you or symbolic of your relationship. You can either have a special wedding guest perform the reading, or you can have your officiant read it as part of your ceremony. Get inspired with this list of non-traditional readings from Brides!
Also, if you love the idea of writing your own vows but just aren’t comfortable reading them in front of your wedding guests, that’s okay too! Do a first look with your partner before the ceremony and read your personalized vows to one other in privacy. Then, read your traditional vows during your wedding ceremony. It’s the best of both worlds.
Did you write your own vows, or opt to do something more traditional? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!