Writing your own vows is no easy task. Putting your love into words can feel like an insurmountable challenge. You want to write your own personal wedding vows because you want your words to feel authentic and original. You want your vows to be honest and tear-worthy, or maybe you want people to laugh. You want to be able to give friends and family members a glimpse into the truth of your relationship and to find new ways to say I love you. And above all, you want your partner to really hear you, to know you didn't take writing your vows lightly, and to feel that you're speaking from your heart.
Piece of wedding cake, right?
We know it's difficult to find the right words, so we've pulled together some of the most helpful tips we've encountered when it comes to putting promises of eternal love to paper for your big day.
1. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane
Sometimes it's easy to forget how far you've come and what made you fall in love in the first place, or the little details that made up the moment you first met. Make reminiscing the first step of your vow-writing journey.
Don't over-engineer this step, either. Simply think back on some of your most cherished moments—times your partner has made you laugh, or cry with joy, or feel completely safe. Replay that day you met, or the first conversation you had online. Try to think of the exact instance you knew they were the one, or the moment they became your best friend. Remember the day and reasons why you said yes, I will marry you.
This is an exercise you can do together, too. Make it a date night where you go through pictures, or just tell stories you each remember.
2. Get on The Same Page
Speaking of tackling your vows together, make sure you discuss what your comfort levels are for the kinds of things that are okay or not okay to share. Set clear boundaries and be open about any concerns you might have regarding your guests' perceptions of your vows. Is it okay if your vows are vastly different in length and tone, or do you want them to have a similar feel? Do you want to include elements of more traditional vows?
Also discuss your wants and needs with your wedding officiant. Do you want them to talk about god? Do you want to be referred to as husband/wife, partners, or something else? Setting clear expectations will make sure your wedding vows and your officiant's sermon or speech appropriately represent your relationship.
Let these questions guide the start of your conversation, but always remember that these are your vows to each other, an opportunity to express your personal promises for your future together, and a chance to simply remind them that I choose you.
3. Think of The Partner You Want to Be
A lot of vow writing can be focused on how you feel about your partner and what they mean to you, but it's important to also think about the kind of partner you are and the role you want to play in your life together. Vows are, by definition, solemn promises. What kind of partner do you want to be?
For this exercise, think back on times when your partner expressed sincere gratitude for something you said or did. What were you giving them in that moment? What do you want to say thank you for? Who can you promise to continue to be? What can you promise to always do?
4. Write Your Love Story
If you happen to really enjoy writing, think of your vows as a creative challenge or writing prompt. Draft up a version of your love story as if it were a short story or novella. Start with the very beginning, and even go so far as to imagine your life's adventures and write what the rest of your lives together might look like.
5. Find Time to Be Alone
Whether for thinking or writing, you need a space that will support creative and intimate thought. Schedule in regular time to be alone in a relatively quiet and clean environment with an ambience that makes you feel at ease. A good place could be somewhere like a wooded trail, a nearby beach, a quaint coffee shop, your porch, or a sunroom where you won't be bothered.
6. Take Notes Over Time
Keep a notebook, even if that's your notes app, and write down small moments that you notice over time. Think of it like the method that journal writers use when they reference images to help them find inspiration for poems or stories. By writing down what you observe, you'll really tune into the little things about your partner. Including these kinds of details in your wedding vows can really highlight how much you pay attention to the little quirks that make your partnership so special. The trick here is you can't wait until the last minute. It's worth repeating: do not procrastinate.
7. Seek Out Sources of Inspiration
What romantic movies have moved you to tears? Which stories had a hand in shaping your perspective on love? Think back on quotes, lines of dialogue, etc., that took your breath away and write them down. Also research other wedding vow ideas online and take some cues from wedding vow examples or more traditional wedding vows. Turn the words of others into your own so you don't feel like you're stealing anything.
8. Spill Your Heart First, Edit Later
It's the first rule any writer must follow, and for all intents and purposes, while writing your vows you are indeed a writer: get the words down first, edit second. The worst thing you can do is strive for perfection when you set out to write your vows. Know ahead of time that you will likely create multiple "bad" drafts before you get to anything you like. This is normal. Don't let it discourage you.
9. Step Away
Writer's block is a very real thing, and if you begin to feel stressed out or are too focused on writing the perfect vows, you may start to resent the fact that you have to write them at all. Take the pressure off by doing unrelated activities to spark inspiration: go for a long walk; read a book; listen or dance to music; take a drive out in the country; make an exceptional cup of coffee or tea. Before you know it, you'll be ready to pick back up where you left off.
10. Enlist the Help of a Word-Loving Friend
If you really don't feel like you can express yourself the way you want to, seek the help of a friend who you feel has a gift for putting things into words. Write your own draft first or an outline of your thoughts, or compile a collection of things that inspire you including examples of phrases, sentiments, lines from poems or movies, or other marriage vows you like. This will really help them help to provide a sense of your overall vision and tone. Also ask them to look out for and edit out anything too cliché or potential tongue twisters. Then, make sure the words sound like you.
After you're happy with your vows, find time to practice reading them out loud. This can help you edit out anything that sounds awkward, and will get you comfortable looking up to make eye contact.
You don't need to memorize them, though. When it comes to expressing your true love on the big day, consider copying your vows on note cards so you don't get lost in the lines on a longer piece of paper, and to give you peace of mind. That said, don't be afraid to let the moment sweep you off your feet and steer you in a new direction. The most important thing is that what you say comes from the heart.
Haven't found the perfect match to your engagement ring yet? Explore our collection of wedding rings for the perfect ending to your wedding ceremony.