Personal, meaningful, and memorable; those are just a few of the words that your handwritten vows should embody on the day you say your I do’s. Going forward with writing your own vows may seem like a tremendous feat but have no fear, it can be done. Whether you’re a wizard with words or normally timid of a pen and paper, there’s absolutely a way to get your feelings molded into coherent and beautiful wedding vows. We promise!
Instead of moving forward and reciting traditional vows that you may seem disconnected from, allowing yourselves to be completely vulnerable with your promises isn’t something to shy away from. Below you’ll find a wonderful guide to get you on your way to creating your very own incredible wedding vows. From tips and advice to examples and quotes, there’s a little something to spark inspiration for everyone.
The First Steps In Writing Your Wedding Vows
Before you dive headfirst into this task, consult your loved ones. This could be your soon-to-be spouse, friends, family, or even the officiant. This is a great stepping stone in getting ideas, stories, or even quote ideas to insert into your vows. The people closest to you may have the wealthiest bits of knowledge for what you can or should include. From here though, where do you go? Allow us to guide you!
Even after you start asking around, you may still need a bit of inspiration in terms of getting your pen to paper that very first time. Our suggestion is to look at old photos of you two as a couple, sift through messages, watch movies, listen to music, flip through poetry books or your favorite romance novel; you’d be surprised where you may enlighten yourself and the lightbulb in your head will go off!
Oh, and check out The Knot’s 20 questions to ask yourself before you start writing for extra bouts of inspiration here!
Once you start writing, there will be some elements that are absolute must-haves including:
I Love You: Don’t forget to include this important, golden nugget throughout your vows!
Unique Promises: What promises are you making within your vows? Make these as personalized and special to the two of you as you can.
Personal Story or Memory: To make it even more unique to the ceremony, include some of your shared history. A story or a fond memory could be a nice way to emphasize a promise.
Quick Tips & Advice
We’ve gushed about and guided our readers into writing their own vows before. And we’re still confident in our areas of expertise here and these 10 tips for writing your own incredible wedding vows.
1. Start Really Early
Don’t wait. Lots of people leave writing vows until the week before the wedding! Too late. You’ll be too nervous, excited and a little stressed so you want to be able to focus and dedicate the time your vows deserve. Give yourselves at least a month. When writing your vows remember to do so when you have enough time to be relaxed. Some deadlines we recommend you try to hit are to get a first draft complete about 2.5 weeks before the wedding and have your final version completed at least three days before the wedding.
2. There Is Nothing Wrong With Traditional
To get inspired, start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows — from your own religion, if you practice a certain faith, but others, as well — to see what strikes a chord with you. You can incorporate these into the original words you write, or simply use them as a jumping-off point to base your personalized vows on.
3. Decide On The Tone
This one is really important because it makes life so much easier. Decide early on what you want the tone of your wedding vows to be. Are you going for romantic, poetic, humorous with a touch of romantic? It is totally your decision. Remember, your vows need to reflect you and your personality and be from the heart. One word of advice: While your vows can be lighthearted they must note the seriousness of the commitment you’re about to make.
4. Make A Vow Date Together
When it’s time to come up with the actual content of your vows, go out to dinner or set aside an evening at home to brainstorm. Talk about your relationship and what marriage means to each of you. Discuss what you expect from each other and the relationship. What are you most looking forward to about married life? Why did you decide to get married? What hard times have you gone through together? What have you supported each other through? What challenges do you envision in your future? What do you want to accomplish together? What makes your relationship tick?
5. Get On The Same Page
Are you each going to write your own vows, or will you write them together? If you’re writing them separately, will you want to run them by each other before the wedding? If you’re writing them together, will they be completely different for each of you, or will you recite some of the same words and make the same promises to each other, as you would with traditional vows? If you want them to be a surprise on your wedding day, make sure you both send a copy of what you’ve written to your officiant or to one friend or family member so they can check that your vows are about the same length and similar in tone.
6. Schedule Some Time On Your Own
Take some time on your own to think about how you feel about your future spouse. How did you meet? How did it make you feel? When did you decide you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him/her? How has your life gotten better since you met? What inspires you about them? What do you miss most about them when you’re apart? What qualities do you most admire in each other? What do you have now that you didn’t have before you met?
7. Steal With Pride
Borrow freely from poetry, books, religious and spiritual texts — even from romantic movies. Jot down words and phrases that capture your feelings. Widely recognized works ring true for a reason. Also, the internet is a great place to find examples, get inspired, and do research. Don’t be shy about using resources like this but remember your vows are your own so make sure you also reflect on what YOU want to say.
8. Create An Outline
Remember in school it was always recommended that you had an outline before putting pen to paper. The same goes for wedding vows. An outline can get you started by helping to establish a structure. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiance is and then about how you work together as a couple; pause to quote your favorite writer and then go into your promises to each other.
9. Remember Your Guests
Don’t make your vows so personal that they’re cryptic — or embarrassing! You’ve invited your family and friends to witness your vows in order to make your bond public, so be sure everyone feels included in the moment. That means putting a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes, and obscure nicknames or code words.
10. Practice Out Loud In The Mirror
These are words meant to be heard by a live audience, so check that they sound good when spoken. Read your vows out loud to make sure they flow easily. Watch out for tongue twisters and super-long sentences — you don’t want to get out of breath or stumble.
Examples To Follow
Remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to help you but we’re also here to inspire you. Check out some of these examples below to follow and guide your writing.
Templates To Help Guide You
Thankfully there are a ton of templates and tutorials to follow when it comes to writing incredible wedding vows. We’ve compiled a few of our favorites here and hopefully, they will ignite some of your creative juices.
I (Name) affirm my love to you, (Name) as I invite you to share my life. You are the most beautiful, smart, and generous person I have ever known, and I promise always to respect you and love you. With kindness, unselfishness, and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I take you (Name) to be my lawful (wife/husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live. – via
Anna, I knew from the very moment I laid eyes on you that you were my forever. Someway, somehow, I was determined to make you mine. And from this day forward my heart is entirely yours…. – via
I promise to love you as much as the Chicago Cubs and not hold your black-and-white striped dress against you. From this day forward, I will listen to all of your complaints about the mall if you say them during the offseason and promise to retire my baseball cap and face paint for public outings. I will love you in sickness and in health, from this day forward, until death parts us or you become a White Sox fan. – via
Quote & Lyric Ideas
Even in the midst of cultivating the most personalized and unique set of wedding vows, it’s okay to include a line or two that means an extra something special to you – even if you didn’t write it yourself. Whether it’s a family quote or lyric of your couple song, there’s a way to weave those into your vows. Here are some great pieces of inspiration to pull from and you can check out more here if you want even more to spark your creativity
When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. — Harry (Billy Crystal), When Harry Met Sally
To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with. — Mark Twain
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. — Ephesians 4:2
For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul. — Judy Garland