Thinking about writing your own vows?
One of the hardest things to do, is to sit down and attempt to sum up all your love, dreams, and promises to your partner in a few short minutes. As overwhelming as it can seem, I promise, it's definitely worth every nail-biting, second-guessing minute.
Writing your own vows gives you a unique chance to tell your story, give your guests a peek into what makes your relationship yours, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love.
It's also intimate. As you stand there, declaring your love and baring your soul in front of your family and closest friends.
I know that sounds daunting, but if you're up for the challenge, I'm here to help.
One of the hardest parts about exchanging vows is worrying over how people will react to your words, especially your partner. A good place to start is to get on the same page about your expectations and come to an agreement about the following.
- How long should the vows be?
- Will you share inside jokes or would you rather keep things more generic?
- Will they lean more humorous or sentimental, or a mixture of both?
- Do you want to incorporate elements of traditional or religious vows into your own?
Wedding Vow Tips
Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
1. Don't wait until the last minute. Try and have your vows written at least three weeks before your wedding. And don't be afraid to reach out to your Celebrant for help if you need it.
2. Make a list of all your thoughts. You don't have to try to put everything into sentences right away. Start with a few dot points about your soon to be spouse, what you're looking forward to most in your marriage, and what promises you want to make to them. Once you have a bunch of dot points, all you have to do is re-order them and expand into sentences. Or, you could just use them as a starting point.
3. Take a time out. Take a few days—even a week—to give you and your vows some space. After you've taken time apart, go back and reread what you wrote. If needed, do this one or two more times. But try not to go any further than that—continuously rewriting will drive you crazy.
4. Don't try to include everything. It's understandable to want to fit everything you're feeling into your vows—but in reality, you just can't include everything.
5. Embrace sentimentality and don't worry about being cheesy. Writing your vows isn't the time to worry about being corny or cheesy. If you read your vows and think to yourself "wow, that's really cheesy and embarrassing", chances are, you're on the right track. Embrace it.
6. Get inspired with books, songs, movies, and poems. If you have a favorite line from a movie or song that expresses your feelings, use it as a starting point. Kids' books often have a way of communicating deep, complex emotions in simple sentences and might just provide the inspiration you're looking for.
7. Practice reading out loud. You’ve got it all down, but the only way to make sure everything sounds perfect is to hear it out. Reading your vows out loud will help you catch spots where the grammar might be iffy or where you’re missing a word, as well as figure out if the sentences make sense.
8. Ask a trusted friend to listen and edit. A close friend who is a great sounding board (and good at keeping secrets) is an important ally to have. They'll be able to tell you if you're headed down the right track.
9. Create a fresh copy of your vows for the ceremony. Whether you typed your vows up on your laptop or wrote them on a napkin at a bar, it's important to think about how they'll look when they come into view during the ceremony. Rewrite or reprint a fresh copy—or consider reading them from vow books your Celebrant can hold until it's time. Also, ask your Celebrant if you can send them a copy of your vows too, just in case the stress of the day causes you to forget to bring them. (Don't laugh... this happened to me!)
10. Keep the vows a secret from your partner until the ceremony. Your vows are special. It will make the ceremony all the more emotional and impactful if you're hearing them for the first time, I promise.
Wedding Vows Template
Traditional wedding vows can be quite structured, but yours don't have to be. Check out this outline below to get you started.
1. Make sure to say "I love you." So many couples forget this bit, and it's okay if you don't want to add them. But, then again... why not?
2. Tell your partner you'll be there through thick and thin. Most wedding vows—whether traditional or personal—touch on sticking around through sickness and health, through good times and bad times, and for richer or for poorer. This isn't a coincidence. Most marriages have their rough patches and cycles, and this is a nice way to let your partner know you'll be there for them no matter what.
3. Share personal stories. It's so much more interesting for your friends and family to hear about your odd quirks and personal moments—and don't be afraid to talk about the highs and the lows. Your partner wants to hear vows that are real. If you've been through bumpy spots... you should express that.
4. Actually make promises. Vows aren't just cute anecdotes—they are a promise, a serious commitment that you’re making in front of a whole lot of witnesses. That doesn’t mean they have to be heavy, though. You can vow to not only stick by their side forever, but to also be the one to kill spiders whenever they creep their way into your home! (Looking at my husband for this one!)
Examples to Inspire Your Own
Below are some examples of personal vows I've sourced from the internet. It can be a great place to find those words that mean something to you and your partner.
Gabriel, you came into my life at exactly the right time: when I wasn't ready, and yet, when I needed your love the most. In the past two years, we've experienced great triumphs and literal disasters together. These trials have pushed the boundaries of what we thought we could endure, and in the end, I feel more strongly connected with you in a resolve to get up and try again. I love you dearly for all that you are. I am amazed by your inquisitive mind and tickled by your sense of humor. I may not want to admit it, but I even love your awful puns. You have stuck by me through the best and worst, and loved all that I am. You help me to be the finest version of me that I can. As your wife, I promise to love you with the same determination and confidence you've given me. I vow to support you through more ups and downs. I pledge to commit myself to our family and the good I know will grow from it. I promise this all to you until I am no more."
Marissa, I love you with all my heart. I have been thankful for these past two years that you were not the best driver on that fateful day. Stopping in the middle of a busy 90/04 to see if everyone was okay, there I met the woman who is standing before me today. When we started dating, I gained a family, a woman who loves me, and an adorable whippet—both whom I adore with all my heart. We have survived trials and tribulations, from Hurricane Irma to differing political views, we have pulled through. We are survivors and with our perseverance and dedication, there is nothing we can't accomplish or overcome. I promise to take care of you even when you get food poisoning on New Year's Eve. I promise I will unclog the shower even though only one of us has long hair. Marissa, I love you unconditionally and always will."
Devin Lee, it is impossible for me to put into words the passionate and infinite embrace you have on my heart. You make me a full person. Committing the rest of my life to you is actually pretty easy, because without you I am nothing. As we begin our life together in front of those whom we are closest to, I make the following vows: I vow to wake up every morning and thank God that he gave me you, my perfect woman, and I vow to be your steady rock in turbulent times. I vow to put your needs before my own. I vow to sell my tacky furniture. I vow to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls and Friends. I vow to be the man that you inspire me to be and the man that you deserve. Finally, I vow to spend every day I have left on this earth showering you with a zealous love and a faithful commitment. A love that many waters cannot quench, a love that floods cannot drown."
Jeremy, I can't say we fell in love at first sight or that I wasn't hesitant to go on a date with a co-worker, but I can say with 100 percent certainty that today, I am marrying my soul mate. A few years back I heard a sermon about love. I learned that, even though I felt ready for the responsibilities of a lasting love, I had to wait. I had to wait for the person God created for me to be ready as well. During our first few months, I learned about your adventures and how you came back home because you were ready—from that moment on I knew my wait was over. Over the last two years you've shown me what a great love looks like and every morning I wake up and fall more in love with you. I vow to put us first and make sure we are constantly working to grow together. I vow to love you and honor our commitment when we are near and far from each other. I vow to remember soup is a side—not a meal. I vow to stand by you in life's wonderful moments and when life is difficult. Also, for making me wait so long—I vow to make you wait on me getting ready for the rest of your life. Jeremy, you're the person I waited for and you were worth the wait. Today I become your wife, your other half, and I can't wait for all the blessings we will wait for together."
Kristen, as the cliché says, you showed up when I was least expecting you. I intend to love you, hold you, and grow very, very old with you. These are my promises: I promise to always be there when you have troubles, and to know that sometimes simply letting you talk about your problems is enough. I promise to be the most dependable person in your life. I promise you that laughter will always be commonplace in our house. I promise to do my best to age gracefully in body and soul, and not to become a cranky old man. I promise, from this day forward, to live my life as a member of a band, and not a solo artist. I promise to lead and follow accordingly, and to keep our relationship in good balance. To quote a favorite writer, 'You fill up all those empty spaces.' For that I am grateful, and every day you will see that appreciation."
Dennis, I am truly blessed to be a part of your life, which as of today becomes our life together. I promise to encourage your dreams, because that is what makes you so unique. I promise to celebrate the joy of every day with you. I promise to stand by your side through life's most joyous moments and challenging ones. I promise to be kind, patient, and forgiving. I promise to always honor your passion for hockey. I promise to always remember that laughter is life's sweetest creation, and I will never stop laughing with you. But most of all, I promise to be your true companion always, for one lifetime with you could never be enough."