Tips for writing your own wedding vows
Have the two of you talked about your wedding vows yet?
Traditional wedding vows are becoming a thing of the past. The whole “repeat after me” (and trying to remember and parrot it back) bit is one most couples now opt out of, and Rob and I love it!
Our wedding in 2011 consisted of traditional vows only. While at the time it didn’t seem out of the ordinary (it wasn’t), we love that many couples now choose to write their own vows. It makes the ceremony so much more personal! At the same time, it’s a tremendous undertaking – summing up your love, dreams for the future, and promises to your partner in a few quick minutes. Overwhelming as it can be, it’s well worth it: it’s a chance to remind each other of how your story began, highlight your favorite things about each other, and share a few inside jokes, too!
Whether or not to write your own wedding vows is a decision the two of you must make together. Simply speaking your vows in front of your guests, whether 10 or 110, is nerve-wracking enough, so make sure you are both on the same page to determine if this is something you want to do.
If you do decide to take the plunge and write your own wedding vows, here are a few tips:
Tips for writing your wedding vows: Don’t wait until the last minute
Guys, I’m talking to you. Don’t wait until the day of – or even the day before – to write your wedding vows. Take some time to think through your shared experiences together so you can express yourself confidently instead of trying to pull your thoughts together in the moment. When you’re standing together at the altar, you want to feel confident and comfortable in every word you’re saying.
I’m not saying you won’t be nervous – that’s natural – BUT you will feel more comfortable about what you’re saying if you’re prepared. And, when you feel comfortable, that’s when you can relax and be yourself!
Write a first draft, and then a second
Get all of your ideas down on paper. Your first draft doesn’t even have to be complete; it can just be a list of points you know you want to make. You can fill in the gaps in your second draft. Don’t stress if it doesn’t flow well. Drafts are supposed to be bad! They exist simply to get your ideas out, and then you can polish them into your finished product.
And yes – seriously. WRITE IT DOWN. Even if you memorize it, even if you want to speak from the heart and not be reading from a piece of paper on your wedding day – you’ll be glad you have it written down for backup.
Use keepsakes, letters, cards, and gifts for inspiration
When writing anything you need inspiration. Writing your wedding vows is the same, which is why you should surround yourself with keepsakes, cards, gifts, and anything else that you’ve gotten from your spouse-to-be.
These objects will remind you of special dates, events, and occurrences that can inspire your words of love and devotion.
My personal favorite was Chaz and Alison’s wedding vows. Throughout their time dating they left each other sweet messages on sticky notes (starting from the first one Alison left on Chaz’s car after work). Not only did they find ways to include sticky notes throughout their wedding day, Chaz pulled his vows out … on a string of sticky notes!
Tips for writing your own wedding vows: Keep it short and sweet
When it comes to writing your own wedding vows, simplicity is key. Emotions are guaranteed to be running high for both of you, so the shorter your vows are, the easier it will be to get through them. In our experience, two minutes is plenty when it comes to vows. Say what you need to say, and say it well.
Don’t be afraid to be cheesy
Obviously, don’t make all of your vows into jokes, but don’t be afraid to go for the laughter, even if it’s just the two of you laughing. Making your partner or your guests laugh could give you some much needed comic relief and ease your nerves. Plus, from a photographer’s point of view, photos of the two of you laughing at the altar are always amazing.
Pretend like you’re the only two people in the room
Yes, there could be 100+ people watching you, but write your vows as if you’re just talking to your person. It’s a cheesy line, but “pretend like you’re the only ones in the room” is solid vow-writing advice.
You can get personal without adding too much detail; maybe even throw in a few inside jokes only your partner will understand. Vows don’t have to be the serious prose you’re used to hearing. They can just be you telling your partner why you love them, and how excited you are to spend your life with them.
How to write your own wedding vows: Answer your own questions
If you’re having trouble writing, make a list of questions and then answer them. This is a great way to inspire yourself based on facts that you already know. Here are a few good ones:
- Where did you meet?
- When was the first time he or she said: “I love you”?
- What do you have in common?
- What was your first impression when you met?
- What interesting things have you done together? (vacations, etc.)
- What do you love most about them?
- How have they inspired you?
- What activities do you enjoy together?
Modern wedding vows can be whatever you want them to be, and that’s what makes the ceremony personal! Your wedding day is all about you and your future spouse, so have some fun with it and make it a day neither of you will ever forget.
Still need more ideas? Check out this post from Green Wedding Shoes with free template to get those creative juices flowing and more tips for writing your own wedding vows.