Plenty of couples we work with have been on the fence about writing their vows at some point during their wedding planning process. And, look: if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Don’t force it! There is so much beauty in going with the traditional vows that have been passed down from generation to generation. But there is also something to be said for writing your own vows, too. Exchanging personally written vows can elevate a simple ceremony to a very touching and personal moment. Unsure of how to write wedding vows? No problem. Here are some tips for getting through the hard part — actually writing them!
Make a list.
Already worrying about writing your own vows? Rather than freak out, try this helpful exercise: take a few days and make a list of all the things you love about your partner, and everything you want them to know going forward into your marriage. Consider it your love landfill — dump everything in! Use this list as inspiration; don’t try and edit the list itself while creating it. The specific wording and format will come later, we promise.
Agree on a format.
Speaking of format, while we encourage writing your own wedding vows separately. Sit down and discuss chat with your partner about the tone and length of your vows. Half the anxiety of vow writing is not knowing how to say what you want, and when to stop. Casually talking about format and setting flexible guidelines can help trim your anxiety.
We recommend using the ‘past, present and future’ approach:
- Past: “When we first met I had no idea that you were going to change my life forever.”
- “We have grown so much together and I am so grateful for the person you’ve helped me become.”
- “I promise to always be there for you, to give you space to grow and to treat you with kindness and respect.
While you should write your vows in private, take time to sit down with your partner and chat about the tone of your vows and the approximate length. Half the anxiety of vow writing is one person thinking they’re going to pour their heart out into a 10-minute speech while their partner makes a short and sweet joke about their future together. A good rule of thumb? Aim for less than two minutes of speaking time.
Handwrite your vows.
If you can, try writing your wedding vows by hand. A handwritten vow makes for a great keepsake, and it’s been proven that writing something by hand imprints your words into your memory more effectively. So not only does a handwritten vow serve you aesthetically, but it can also cut down on your nerves of forgetting words you spent so long perfecting! Plus, did we mention how great handwritten vows look for photos?
Get a second opinion.
If you’re still nervous about your vows, you can always ask a third party to review them. Ask a trusted friend or family member to read what you’ve written down. Even better? Rehearse by reading your vow to them. Remember that they’re not here to criticize what you’ve written — it’s more about the structure and flow of your sentences. Reading your vows gives you a taste of how they sound when spoken aloud (and can help shake some first-time jitters). Plus, the more you read them, the more you’ll reduce your nerves of stumbling over your words. Practice makes perfect!
Remember, it’s not a contest.
Your vows will not be graded by your partner, your guests, or your officiant. It should never feel like you’re in competition to see whose vows were the “best,” either. It’s your wedding day; you both win! Don’t sacrifice what you want to say because it may seem too cheesy, too cliché, or doesn’t sound intellectual enough. Express your love in the way that feels the best to you, and that is what will matter most. Your future (married) self is guaranteed to thank you.