For me, the most touching part of any wedding ceremony is the vows—and nowadays many couples opt to write their own. There’s never a dry eye in the house as the bride and groom reminisce about the first moment they realized they were in love, or all the quirky things they love about their partner.
Writing your own wedding vows is one of the best ways to share your love story with friends and family, and help them feel like a part of the ceremony—which is why so many couples decide to do so. It’s also a great way to personalize the traditional vows that guests have come to expect.
While writing your own wedding vows is usually a hit, it’s more difficult than many think. Not only do you have to contend with writer’s block, but there are so many different factors to keep in mind, such as the amount of time you have, the tone you want to hit, and actually confessing your deepest feelings out loud in front of everyone.
After speaking with some of my couples, as well as researching on Wedding Wireand The Knot, I’ve put together a list of some tips for writing your own wedding vows. I hope it helps anyone currently sitting at a desk trying to figure out what to write—I know I’ve been there.
Writing Your Own Wedding Vows
Work with your partner
Many couples want to keep their vows secret until the ceremony, but this doesn’t mean you can’t work with your partner to keep the tone and format consistent. Decide together if the vows will be solely romantic, or have some comedic elements. It’s also perfectly fine to do your own thing, but many couples find these agreements helpful when it comes to drafting their vows.
In this Wedding Wirearticle, Kimberly Salt says “One of the perks…of going in on writing wedding vows together is the conversations you’ll have and memories you’re reflect back on as you discuss…You might even find you want to go in on the fun together… with some couples even preparing poems, raps or song lyrics to surprise their guests.”
Listen to other’s vows
This is a great way to get inspiration and start hitting the right tone for your vows. When I have trouble writing something, it helps to read something written in a similar way to what I want my writing to sound like, and it recalibrates my brain.
In this article by The Knot, it suggests you “Start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows from your own religion if you practice a certain faith, and others as well, to see what strikes a chord with you. Incorporate these samples into the original words you write or simply use them as a jumping-off point. Once you’ve found a few you love, consider what it is about the style that draws you to those vows in particular.”
Practice out loud
This is important to not only perfect your delivery, but ensure that you take the right amount of time. Vows should be around 1-2 minutes—any longer and people might start zoning out. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. So, it’s up to you to decide how much time is right for your wedding ceremony.
Just be sure to practice out loud while writing your wedding vows because how quickly you read silently to yourself can be very different from the amount of time it takes to actually say anything out loud. You’ll also want to practice the pacing, because rushed vows just make you seem nervous and lose a lot of the emotional impact.
Give yourself enough time to write
Some of my best ideas come to me out of the blue—while I’m walking around, stuck in traffic, or even brushing my teeth. This is why you should always give yourself time when writing your wedding vows. If you only have a day to write them, there’s no time for these golden ideas to come to you, and you end up using your first draft when edits were probably necessary. Just remember, it doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, no first draft is perfect!
Forget the audience
I know that in the beginning I said writing your own wedding vows was the best way to include others in your love story—and it still is. However, it’s more important that you tailor your vows to your partner than it is to direct everything at the crowd. At the end of the day, your wedding day is only about you and your love story. Everything else is secondary, so don’t be afraid to prioritize your partner in your vows. I can think of no better beginning to a marriage.