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How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows


Have you and your partner agreed to write your own wedding vows?

That’s a brave choice. Many people use traditional marriage vows for any number of reasons, whether they’re too nervous to create their own, feel self-conscious about being open with their feelings, or they simply don’t have time with so much planning to do.

But it’s natural to feel intimidated by the prospect of writing your own wedding vows. How long should they be? What should you include? And what should you definitely NOT include?

To help you write your own wedding vows and bring tears to your spouse’s eyes for the right reasons, we’ll explore some simple tips below.


Start sooner than you think you need to



You might not feel ready to start writing your own wedding vows months before the ceremony.

After all, you already have so much to think about before the big day. You need to browse countless jewelry sites and stores to find the best wedding rings for you both. You need to create your ideal guest list. And, of course, there’s the honeymoon to plan.

That’s why it makes sense to start writing your wedding vows early. If you wait too long, you may rush — and end up with something that doesn’t honestly convey how you feel.

Make time to sit down with a notepad and pen, or your laptop, or even a note-taking app on your phone. The sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to get your vows right.


Brainstorm ideas before you dive in


Writing wedding vows that connect with you and your spouse-to-be takes time, just like finding a venue or the best wedding rings for your tastes. You may intend to write your vows in a single burst of creativity to get them out of the way, leaving you free to focus on other aspects of planning your wedding.

But it’s simpler and less stressful to start small with a brainstorming session, then ease yourself into the writing process. Write down whatever comes to mind when you think about what your partner means to you. Here are a few questions to get your creative juices flowing:

•  What was it that attracted you to them in the first place?

•  What do you hope to achieve together as a couple in the future?

•  What do you miss about them when they’re not around?

•  How have they helped you be a better person?

•  How do you know they’re the one for you?

Try to answer these and any other questions that feel relevant to your relationship. Fill a page or two with ideas, if you can. This will give you a foundation to start building on.


Watch real wedding videos online for inspiration


Hop onto YouTube and search for “real wedding vows”, and you’ll find videos of real couples exchanging vows. Some are better than others, but they can all help inspire you when writing your own.

Consider the things people say during their vows, and study how they say them. Speaking your vows in a clear, measured, heartfelt way is important to make sure that your partner (and everyone else at the ceremony) can take them in.

And don’t just watch videos of real couples exchanging their vows. Movies and television shows can be a great source of inspiration, too.

Channing Tatum’s Leo in The Vow, for example, speaks simple but touching vows to Rachel McAdams’ Paige during their wedding. Check it out while you’re looking for the best wedding rings, cakes, and the many other things you need to research for the big day.

Just be careful if you decide to copy vows you heard in a movie or television show. Using vows written by someone else may suggest you wanted an easy option, unless it’s something that you and your partner are both fond of.


Talk it over with your spouse-to-be



Writing your vows is a task you and your partner can do together, just like searching for the best wedding rings, food, and invitation ideas. But that doesn’t mean you have to explicitly tell one another what you’ll say. Instead, you can discuss the length, tone, and general approach.

For example, do you both want to make the same promise to each other? Would you like to incorporate elements of traditional marriage vows into your own? And is humor a complete no-no?

Keep your conversations vague if you need to, but a brief chat about writing your own wedding vows can help you and your partner stay on the same page.


Ask friends for help


You may write yourself into a corner eventually. You may worry that your vows are too long, or dull, or missing the mark altogether. And you may be close to tossing them out and going with traditional marriage vows instead.

Well, that might be the right time to ask a friend for their input. They can look at your vows with fresh eyes (or listen with fresh ears), then suggest ideas you may never have thought of on your own.

For instance, a friend who has known you and your partner for a while might be able to tell you why you’re such a great couple from an outsider’s point of view. That could inspire you to approach your vows from an exciting new angle.


Be honest and sincere



Writing your own wedding vows may be tough if you’re not used to articulating your feelings, especially those you have for the most important person in your life. You might feel uncomfortable talking about how much you love your partner in front of other people, too, especially when it’s likely to be filmed for posterity.

But it’s important that you be honest about how much your partner means to you during the ceremony, even if it makes you cringe. Your partner is sure to love hearing you speak from the heart, and guests will expect you to be sincere. If your words are powerful enough to make your partner, friends, and loved ones feel good (or even cry), it’ll all be worth it.


Practice, practice, practice


You’ve written and rewritten your vows. You've emailed them to a friend for a second opinion. And now they’re folded up in your pocket, along with a tissue (if you may cry, a thick one is probably for the best), wedding rings, and any other essentials for the day.

But don’t wait until the ceremony to read your vows out loud for the first time. Practice them at home multiple times, in front of a mirror, to make sure they sound right. If you stumble over certain phrases or just don’t like some of your word choices, you’ll have time to fix them.


What NOT to include in your wedding vows



Here are four things to leave out of your wedding vows to avoid upset, frustration, and facepalming.


Intimate and private details


You remember that funny story from your first date? When your partner ate that slice of pizza that disagreed with their gut and made them throw up? Or when you had to put your hand in a filthy toilet to rescue your engagement ring minutes after you’d proposed?

Well, they may be great anecdotes to enjoy with one another or friends, but try to leave them out of your wedding vows. By all means keep your vows light and include something to make your guests chuckle. But avoid any tales that might embarrass guests or create a bad atmosphere during such a special moment.


Too many jokes that only you and your partner get


Including one or two references that you and your partner understand is fine during your wedding vows. After all, it’s your wedding. But you risk confusing your guests and even boring them if you use too many terms that resonate with you but no one else.


Bad language


Try to keep your language clean and palatable. Using crude language is likely to offend guests, your partner, and probably even the person officiating. Even if it seems funny to you, avoid shoehorning bad language into your vows.


References to exes (yours or theirs)


Leave any references to an ex, whether it’s yours or your partner’s, out of your wedding vows. You may have a great joke about how much more you love your current partner than your last one, but save that for another time.

The day is all about you and your spouse — an ex has no place in this special moment.




Writing your own wedding vows is a wonderful way to put a unique spin on your ceremony and express your feelings, but it’s not easy for everyone. Start by brainstorming ideas to get the most important thoughts and feelings down in black and white. Give yourself as much time to write your vows as you can instead of leaving it until the last minute, and welcome suggestions from friends if you’re finding it hard.

Your wedding vows don’t have to be the most heartwarming, or the funniest, or the most memorable. They just have to proclaim your love and commitment in an honest, sincere way.


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