Writing wedding vows is one of the most intimidating tasks you need to complete before your Big Day. How can you capture years of a relationship in only a couple of minutes? What if you aren’t a good writer? Don’t worry; no one expects Shakespearean prose or a detailed retelling of how you fell in love.
Firstly, you do not have to write your own wedding vows. If you are having a very traditional or religious ceremony, there are pre-set scripts your officiants can ask you to repeat instead. Many couples choose to write their vows to inject more personality and intimacy into their ceremony, but it’s not for everyone. So, don’t feel pressured to do this if you don’t want to.
Our best tip is to take the time to craft your vows early on and not leave them to the end of your wedding checklist. Writing vows helps remind you of the qualities you love in your partner and the amazing memories you’ve shared. To help make this process less overwhelming, here are some helpful tips, writing prompts, and a simple template to guide you.
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Tackle These Steps First
1. Discuss Vows with Your Officiant
If you are getting married in a house of worship, you should check with your officiant to make sure you are able to write your own vows and see if anything is off-limits. Even if you’re having a secular marriage, some officiants might have input or ask to read your vows in advance. So, it always helps to consult with them before taking pen to paper.
2. Get on the Same Page with Your Partner
Typically, partners will be on the same page when it comes to wedding vows, but it never hurts to check in with them. You’ll want to make sure you both agree to write your vows and get a rough idea of the tone you both have in mind. This avoids situations where one partner is overly romantic, and the other is joking around a lot more which gets awkward sometimes.
3. Talk to Your Planner about Ceremony Logistics
Being prepared and knowing what to expect will ease any anxiety when you say your vows in front of wedding guests. Go over ceremony logistics with your wedding planner or day-of coordinator and officiant. Find out exactly when you will each say your vows, when music processionals will play, and who will handle the sound and microphone during the ceremony. Having this information laid out early will ensure everything goes smoothly and that everyone can hear your wedding vows.
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4. Write Down Your Favorite Love Quotes
Vow writing experts recommend quoting a line from a book, poem, lyric, or something meaningful to you as a couple. Spend time researching and writing down some of your favorites that capture your unique love story. If nothing speaks to you and your partner, do not worry. It’s certainly not a requirement, and speaking from the heart in your own words will always be beautiful.
5. Don’t Leave This for the Night Before
The earlier you start preparing your vows, the more confident you will feel saying them. Aim to have them completed at least three weeks before the wedding. This will also leave you plenty of time to edit and get feedback from trusted friends and family. Use our writing prompts below to start thinking about what you want to say and practice your speech before the Big Day.
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Writing Prompts to Get the Words Flowing
Before you can figure out how to eloquently say what you want to, you must decide what to focus on in your vows. The best way to do this is by thinking about your relationship and the experiences you’ve shared. You probably have tons of great stories but try your best to limit them to one or two short ones. Overall, your vows should be under two minutes and less than 350 words. Here are some prompts that will help you figure out what to write in your vows:
1. Choose 5 Words to Describe Your Relationship
Start thinking about your relationship and the great reasons why you’ve decided to make this a lifetime commitment. Is your relationship spontaneous, optimistic, playful, supportive, honest, or persevering? There are no wrong answers. Just jot down the first five words that come to mind.
2. How Did You Feel When You First Met?
Visualize the first time you both met; think about where you were, what you were doing, and how your partner made you feel in the moment. Was it an instant attraction, or did your love grow over time? Write down what stuck out to you about your partner and any thoughts you remember from that first encounter.
3. Name 3 Qualities You Love about Your Fiancé
Deciding to spend your life with someone is a major decision, and clearly, you chose each other for a reason. Think about what made you fall in love with your fiancé. Are they caring, kind, generous, bold, funny, or adventurous? Scribble down three things you enjoy most about them.
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4. How Have They Changed You for the Better?
Part of being in a healthy relationship is bringing out the best in one another. Think about before you met and the positive change your partner has brought into your life since then. Share a story that shows this evolution rather than just summarizing how you’ve grown as an individual.
5. When Did You Know They Were “The One”?
Was there a particular moment when you knew you would marry your partner? Share those intimate feelings and try to recall what led you to realize they were the one for you. Small details like this can turn mediocre vows into a magical moment on your wedding day.
6. What Are Some Things You Love Doing Together?
Most couples have their own routines or activities they do regularly together, like going for daily walks or taking road trips on the weekend. Whatever your “thing” is, don’t be shy about highlighting it in your vows. It’s a beautiful way to show the special bond that you two share.
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7. How Do You Envision Your Future Together?
After you’ve written about your relationship and past experiences, your vows should focus on your future together. What does a happy marriage look like for you and your partner? Speak about what you look forward to the most in the exciting married years to come.
8. List 5 Ways You’ll Help Make that Vision a Reality
Now comes the meat of the vows: actual commitments to your partner. Do you know that saying about relationships needing to be watered and cared for like plants? There is a lot of truth to this. Having a successful marriage means putting in the effort to care for each other’s needs. List out some concrete ways you promise to contribute to a beautiful future together. Keep your promises as realistic as possible and skip the “nevers” and “always” that can be difficult to attain.
Now that you’ve completed these prompts, you should have some great content to work with. From here, you just have to tailor it to express your love more concisely. Here are other tips to help you as you progress in writing and editing your vows:
Vow Writing Tips to Guide You Along
- If visual cues get your creative juices flowing, gather some tangible mementos from your relationship to inspire your writing. Hold them in your hands and remember the experiences or emotions associated with them.
- Ask yourself what main points you want to touch on in your vows. When reading your draft vows, keep these in mind, and cut out any phrases that stray too far from your intended meaning.
- Be mindful that while your vows are an intimate expression of love, you’ll be reciting them in front of aunts, uncles, and family friends who you might not have seen in a while. For this reason, keep it PG and free of anything that would embarrass your soon-to-be spouse.
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- Practice reading your vows aloud with a friend or family member. Have them time you and aim to keep it under two minutes. Pause if you are feeling emotional, and don’t rush through it.
- Buy cute vow booklets like these to keep your perfected words close by on your wedding day, and handwrite them at least a week beforehand. Doing so will also help you commit them to memory.
- Consider your vows a surprise for your partner, and wait until after the ceremony to share them with each other. It will make the ceremony more romantic and emotional when you both are standing at the altar.
A Template You Can Steal
If you’re feeling a little stuck or overwhelmed at picking the right words, don’t worry, we have some helpful suggestions to get the ball rolling. There are several basic formats to help tell your love story. The most commonly used are chronological vows that share how you fell in love in the order it happened. Another popular method is to share specific experiences and anecdotes that show why this love is special.
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You can also try drafting your vows in a listicle style that will put Buzzfeed to shame. However you go about it, be sure to look your partner in the eye, say “I love you,” and connect up at the altar. Infuse your personality into what you say, and don’t be afraid to make some light jokes and laugh together. Most importantly, express your love in a way that is true to your relationship!
To help you along, here’s a simple template to get you started. Tweak it to fit your own love story and the sentiment you want to convey in your vows:
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