Writing personalized vows has become very popular and many couples are deciding to go this route when they get married. Travis and I were one of those couples. The idea of writing and saying our own vows was so romantic to me and I’m sure that’s true for many couples who make this decision. However, no one tells you that writing your own vows is much more difficult than it sounds. Or at least, it was for me.
First of all, in making them your own, there are very few guidelines about what to include and what to leave out. How long should they be? How many ‘vows’ should I make? What is my fiancé writing? Should I use formal or casual language? The list of questions could go on, but I’ll spare you. The point is, the words you say and the promises you make on your wedding day are words that will be with you for the rest of your life, so you want them to be good.
So enough with the rant about this whole process being stressful and difficult. I am about to change all of that for you, starting with a few tips and then moving on to step-by-step sections.
Tips on Writing Your Own Vows:
- Before you even start writing, look for examples and inspiration on the internet. I found a lot of great stuff on Pinterest. Write down words and phrases that you would consider using.
- Work on your vows when you are in a good mood and the stress of the wedding isn’t piled on too high. This is such a beautiful part of the process, so don’t turn it into just another item on the to-do list.
- Write out a rough draft, and then edit it. Then edit your second draft. Make as many adjustments and changes as you need you until you are completely happy. It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first or even the second try!
- Use an online thesaurus or something similar to help you get some variety in your language or to find the right words to make your point.
- Remember to let your vows reflect your relationship. This means incorporating humor, using casual language, and referring to experiences or hobbies! (if these things are characteristic to your relationship)
- Use this template (pictured below) to help you organize your thoughts, write notes, and stay focused.
- Follow the 4-part format below to write your vows.
- Consider writing your vows together, like Travis and I did. (keep scrolling for more info)
Should we Write our Vows Together?
This is a question that I cannot answer for you. I can tell you though, that Travis and I wrote ours together and it was probably one of my favorite moments out of the whole wedding-planning process!
First of all, it was a beautiful evening that helped us to reconnect during that season of wedding craziness, and reminded us of the real reasons we were getting married. Beyond that, it calmed our nerves about what the other was writing. We had each other to consult with and were able to make our vows reflective of one another by following the 4-step writing process that is outlined below. We talked about how much humor to add and how many vows we wanted to make. Knowing some of what Travis was writing and being able to ask him, “does this sentence make sense?” gave me great peace of mind about the promises we were making to each other. Finally, since these words are the beginning of our shared life, it just felt right to work on it together and to be side by side while we laid the foundation for our marriage. It was kind of like our “first order of business” as husband and wife, even though we weren’t quite married yet.
All that being said, I know that there is excitement and giddy-ness that comes with the anticipation of not knowing and being surprised by your fiancé’s vows on the wedding day. For that reason, Travis and I did keep some parts of our vows to ourselves until then. But because we had written most of our vows together, all my nerves about exchanging them on our wedding day were gone, and it felt great!
Writing Your Own Vows: The 4-Part Process
After doing much research and worrying, I decided that having four parts to our vows was perfect. As you’re looking though others’ vows, you’ll notice a whole lot of variability in format and length. This drove me crazy because I didn’t know which format or length to follow for my own vows, so I finally decided to come with my own process. These four parts can be as long or as short as you wish, and they touch on all the important things in a way that ties everything together. So without further ado, I present to you a step-by-step guide to writing your own vows:
Part 1- “I take you…”
This wording is based off traditional vows, but go ahead and fill in the rest with whatever applies to you. Travis and I both put 3-4 things in our vows. Some examples might be husband/wife, best friend, one true love, steady rock, encourager, stud muffin…. Okay you get the point! This part should be a sentence or two.
Part 2- Sweet Words
Think of this section as a mini love letter or some things that you love about your partner. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Why I love you
- What you mean to me
- How/when I knew you were the one
- Why were good together
- What you’ve taught me
For me, this section was 3-4 sentences long. For you, that may be too short or too long or just right. Make it work for you! This might a good place to add some humor or talk about a memorable time together.
Part 3- Your Vows
This is the part where you make promises to your partner, and probably a big part of the reason why you opted for writing your own vows. These promises can be general, such as “I’ll always respect/cherish/honor/support you” or specific, like “I promise to tell you that I love you every day.” My biggest piece of advice here is just to take your time and remember that these are things that you’re committing to for the rest of your life. I would aim for making 3-5 solid vows.
Part 4- Looking Toward the Future
To wrap up your personalized vows, mention something about the life that the two of you will now be sharing. This could encompass things like plans you have for the future, how things will be better now that you’re married, or what growing old together will be like. Again, make it your own! Here are some sentence starters and phrases that you might use in this section:
- I can’t wait for…
- I’m excited about our life together because…
- I know that our future together will be…
- For the rest of our days…
A sentence or two should suffice for this section, especially if your other sections are lengthy. The idea here is just to bring your vows to a close.
Congratulations! You just finished writing your own vows! Now is a good time to take a break, and revisit them in a few days. Make changes to wording or content as needed, but rest assured that the hardest part is over. Now don’t forget to practice saying them out loud, just to make sure that you don’t get tripped up on the words in front of all your guests on your wedding day!