So, you’ve decided to write your very own personalized wedding vows, but are suffering from a terrible case of writer’s block. Not to worry! Before you crumple up and throw away one more piece of notebook paper, here are some tips for writing your own vows! Written by Micaela Fischer. Photo by Erin Hoyt Photography
Make sure everyone’s on the same page.
First and foremost, you want to make sure you and your fiancé agree to writing your own vows. You wouldn’t want to put undue pressure on your future spouse if it’s not something they’re comfortable doing.
It’s also a good idea to discuss the tone and format you both would like to use. Do you want your vows to be poetic and romantic? Funny and casual? It’s important that you agree on this beforehand so there aren’t any surprises on the day of the wedding. After all, how embarrassing would it be if your fiancé delivered a long, heartfelt speech vowing to be with you on your deathbed, only for you to pledge never to watch your favorite Netflix shows without them? What might seem clever and funny at first could turn out to be inappropriate and awkward if you don’t plan ahead.
Also, If you plan on having a religious ceremony, keep in mind that some religions require that you use traditional wording in your vows, while others can be more flexible. So, it’s a good idea to keep your officiant in the loop, so you can be aware of any limitations you might face.
Look for inspiration everywhere!
If you’re stumped on how to format your vows, search for sample vows online. Read lots and lots of different examples to get your creative juices flowing. Mix and match elements that you like from your favorites until you’ve settled on an arrangement that works for you.
Get inspiration from your favorite love songs, poems, and stories. You can print out the lyrics and passages that speak to you and keep them nearby as you write. You might even be able to find imaginative ways to weave them into your vows!
Take some time to reflect.
Before you start writing your vows, find a quiet, stress-free time when you can be alone to think about your relationship. If it’s your style, create a romantic atmosphere to get yourself in the right mindset. Pour yourself a glass of wine, maybe even turn on some music that reminds you of your fiancé. Just get comfortable and reflect on what this marriage will mean to you. What specific qualities do you adore about your fiancé? What are you most looking forward to in your future together?
Have a pen and paper nearby, and when you feel ready just start writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to make sense yet. It doesn’t even have to be in complete sentences. For now, just allow yourself to freely jot down all the thoughts and feelings running through your mind. What’s important here is that you just get the bare bones of what you want to say on paper. You can worry about form later.
When writing your own vows, prepare for multiple drafts.
So now you have a piece of paper filled with semi-coherent musings and love-sick ramblings. Now what? It’s time to get organized.
You’ll want to start creating an outline that follows the structure you want your vows to take. Once you have an outline—a rough sketch, so to speak—it’ll make writing your first draft much easier.
Once you’ve written your first draft, walk away from it for a few days—maybe even a week. That way the next time you see your draft, it’ll be with a clear head. This will make it easier to see what adjustments and corrections need to be made.
You may have to repeat this process several times before it feels right. But be careful not to over scrutinize your work. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you’re looking for perfection!
Show them to someone you trust.
If something’s not working that you just can’t seem to place, try showing your vows to someone you trust—like a parent, or maybe your Maid of Honor or Best Man. Having a second opinion can give you valuable insight into what adjustments you might need to make.
Practice makes perfect!
While this may go without saying, you should always practice your vows in preparation for your wedding day. You don’t have to memorize them (although that would be a nice touch). But you should be able to get through them fluidly without stumbling over your words.
Also, remember to have a clean copy of your vows free of any mistakes or margin notes readily available on your wedding day. This way, if you get a free moment, you can go over them a few times before your ceremony.
Start today, don’t delay!
Okay, maybe not today (unless you’re feeling extra motivated!), but you’ll definitely want to give yourself plenty of time to write your vows. Trust me, writing your own vows is not something you want to procrastinate! Waiting until the last moment can cause you to stress, which might leave your vows sounding rushed and sloppy.
By giving yourself enough time, you can ensure that your vows will sound prepared, sincere, and streamlined. When the moment finally arrives, you’ll be able to speak from the heart and focus on what really matters: promising your commitment to the love of your life.
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