Wedding 101

How to Write Wedding Vows: 15 Tips to Remember

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The most important thing to know before writing your wedding vows is this: There is no formula, and there are no requirements. Your vows are about you and your spouse-to-be, and they should reflect you and your relationship.
That being said, writing wedding vows is essentially like writing a deeply personal love letter that you'll read aloud, and it can be a daunting task when planning your wedding.
In this article, we'll bring you the most useful tips and tricks on how to write wedding vows.

How to Write Wedding Vows That Resonate

Writing your own wedding vows is an opportunity to break away from convention and infuse your special day with a unique touch that truly reflects your love and commitment. Yet, let's acknowledge the truth: penning heartfelt vows can feel like a challenging task.
Not to worry, here are some expert tips that ensure your vows emanate authenticity and resonate deeply with your partner.

01. Talk to Your Officiant

If you’re marrying in a house of worship, writing your own vows might be off the table. Certain religions require traditional or secular wedding vows. That said, you can often say the traditional wedding vows and your personalized romantic vows, but it’s worth checking ahead of time.

02. Make Sure Everyone's on Board

You and your partner should both be on board with writing your own wedding vows — it can be an intense experience to write and read them aloud during the wedding ceremony.

03. Read Lots of Wedding Vow Examples 

The good news? You can easily find tons of examples of wedding vows online. While you might not want to copy them word for word, they can be a great jumping-off point for inspiration! Be sure to get your fiancé in on the inspiration, too.
You can also call the local courthouse and ask to see the wedding vows they use in civil ceremonies; browse the web and find examples of traditional, civil, and offbeat wedding ceremonies; look to poetry, novels, speeches, religious texts, and other sources to find quotes that inspire you or that you can weave into your marriage vows.
Alternatively, take a look at some wedding vow examples, whether you want religious wedding vows, your own funny wedding vows, traditional wedding vows, romantic wedding vows, or something else.
Once you've gathered all of this material, choose your favorite sample wedding vows and let them guide you while writing your own wedding vows (much like you would bundle images of bouquets on Loverly then use the bundle to figure out your bridal style). And feel free to borrow and remix ideas you love from others' ceremonies.

04. Pick the Tone

Have you ever been to a wedding where one person’s vows are full of jokes, and the other person’s are really heartfelt and serious? It can be a bit awkward if the tone of your vows doesn’t quite match up. Talk with your fiancé about tone.
Do you want to be honest and serious? Will you avoid cliches or embrace them? How do you feel about lighthearted jokes? Communicate this clearly, ideally while writing your own wedding vows next to each other.

05. Find the Right Format

Some couples’ marriage vows have very little structure, where each person talks about why they love the other, tells a story, or just says what they want to say — which is totally sweet!
Other couples write vows that follow a specific format, where each person says the same promises. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s important to decide so you and your fiancé are on the same page!

06. Decide How You’ll Write the Vows

Will you write them together or separately? Do you want to share your own wedding vows ahead of time or save them as a surprise on the big day? 
Whether you want your vows to be a surprise during the wedding ceremony or something you share in an intimate pre-ceremony moment, it's best to decide together with your partner.

07. Create an Outline

You’ve talked to your spouse-to-be about the length, tone, and structure of your vows — now it’s time to fill in the blanks. Make a rough outline of the opening, middle, and closing of your vows. If you need a little help, think past, present, and future — use those moments in time to structure your vows.
What was it like when you first met? How have things changed to this point? What will you promise to your partner to improve your relationship over time?
Or, open with the reasons you’re marrying and what marriage means to you. Then, talk through some of the specific reasons you love your partner. Next, state your vows (the promises you’re making to your partner). Finally, close with a sincere remark.

08. Embrace Authenticity and Avoid Clichés

Resist the temptation to rely on clichéd, overly flowery language. 
Instead, remain true to yourself and your partner. The most compelling wedding vows are not generic platitudes about love but rather hyper-specific expressions that encapsulate your unique bond.

09. Express Your Love and Appreciation

The cornerstone of your wedding vows should be a genuine expression of love and gratitude. Dedicate a significant portion of your vows to articulating what you cherish most about your partner, how they have contributed to your personal growth, and what sets your relationship apart.
Reflect on memorable stories and anecdotes that will serve as a solid foundation for your heartfelt declaration.

10. Make Heartfelt Promises

Infuse your vows with tangible and meaningful commitments to your partner. 
Let these promises reflect your genuine intentions for a lifelong and loving marriage. Craft vows that resonate on a personal level, embracing the unique aspects of your relationship.

11. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Set a date with your other half to talk about the past, present, and future of your relationship. Reminisce about old times and share stories about things you’ve done for each other that were memorable or extra special. 
Then, pull ideas and feelings from that conversation into your wedding vows.

12. Strike a Balance in Length

Strive for a reasonable length for your vows, typically spanning 2-3 minutes. Consider allocating 1 minute to express appreciation and share anecdotes, another minute for specific promises, 30 seconds to acknowledge your community, and a concluding 30 seconds to declare your love and envision your future together.
You can also refer to traditional wedding vows to see how much time you should allocate for your own.

13. Seek Balance with Your Partner's Vows

Writing wedding vows separately and sharing them for the first time on your wedding day is a beautiful tradition, but it carries risks.
Avoid the potential discomfort of vastly differing lengths and tones by ensuring both sets of vows strike a similar balance. Collaborate with your partner to achieve a harmonious and cohesive experience, minimizing any potential awkwardness.

14. Exercise Tact in Sharing Stories

While injecting humor can enhance your wedding vows, exercise caution when sharing potentially embarrassing anecdotes. 
Aim to create a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere, steering clear of narratives that might make your partner or wedding guests uneasy.

15. Practice Your Wedding Vows Aloud

Be sure your vows aren’t too long, that they sound nice when spoken, and that you feel totally comfortable saying them. Also, make a note of any inside jokes and consider whether or not they’ll be too “inside” for your guests to understand (and consider re-working). Make any necessary edits while writing wedding vows and keep practicing!
Your wedding vows are sort of a mix between a speech and a casual conversation with your partner. While you don’t want to sound overly rehearsed, running through your vows can’t hurt! As you practice, keep an eye on the time — you want to keep it under two or three minutes (otherwise, people might start zoning out).

Important Things to Remember When Writing Your Wedding Vows

While the love that you and your partner share may be obvious, it's a lot harder than it looks to put your feelings and thoughts into meaningful and memorable vows. So as not to lose track of what truly matters, here are five things to remember when writing your wedding vows.
Be Honest
This wedding ceremony is about you and your partner honestly and openly committing yourselves to one another. Don't say things you don't mean or that aren't true just because you have your family and friends watching. 
Write wedding vows that are authentic to you and your partner.

This is About You and Your Partner

It's okay if your vows are only meaningful to your partner. Throw in some inside jokes, say things in words that your partner will understand, and make sure they resonate with you both.

These Vows are a Reflection of Your Relationship and Nobody Else's

Don't play the comparison game. Looking at friends' vows or those you read on the Internet will only make writing vows on your own more challenging.

Your Words Don't Have to be Beautiful, They Just Have to be True

Who cares if your vows aren't perfectly formulated and eloquent? At the end of the day, your vows are about expressing your commitment and love in a way that makes sense.

You and Your Partner Will be the Ones Who Remember the Vows Exchanged

Sure, your guests might tear up during the ceremony, but when it's all said and done, you and your partner will remember the words long after everyone else. That's why you must make sure you're writing your real wedding vows for you and your partner, not for others' approval.

Writing Vows Doesn't Have to Be Difficult

Whether you're aiming for funny wedding vows or something more traditional, it pays to be prepared. Write wedding vows ahead of time and practice them out loud to make sure they're exactly what you want to say to your future spouse.
Most importantly, have fun! Write marriage vows with your relationship in mind, and picture it as something you're saying to your best friend--a promise to love, a reflection of your innermost feelings, and a sacred vow to your soul mate.
Find inspiration in wedding guides that cover it all!SEE COMPREHENSIVE WEDDING PLANNING GUIDES
Stephanie Hallett
About The Author
Stephanie is a lifestyle journalist based in Philadelphia.
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