If you want to know how to write your wedding vows, you’ve come to the right place! Make this task an easy one with our tips – so you can focus on the cake!
No one will blame you if you don’t know how to write your wedding vows. It’s a big task. You have to come up with the right words to say, with just the right amount of romance… and the perfect hint of cheesiness!
Your vows have to be long enough to convey what you feel while being short enough to avoid boring your guests. On your big day, you need to be prepared to recite or read your vows in front of all those people, and perhaps even a camera or two. You’re likely to be a nervous wreck.
You can always opt for the generic, traditional vows, but why not let your originality as a couple shine through?
Scrap the tried and true “to have and to hold” and go for something that really comes from your heart. After all, you’ll ideally only have one wedding, so you might as well go all out with the romantic words in your vows! [Read: 25 obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever]
How to write your wedding vows
Getting a grip on how to write your wedding vows is beyond important. Most of us are not eloquent wordsmiths and might have a difficult time conveying all that love in a page or so of sentences. Luckily, we’re here to help you gather your thoughts and help define your process.
1. Read plenty of examples
You really couldn’t be in a better position. The internet gives us an endless plethora of information. We can literally find anything online, including a vast array of examples of wedding vows.
If you need to know how to write your wedding vows, start with a simple Google search. You’ll be able to find examples of wedding vows to suit any type of ceremony, from quirky to tear-jerking. Watching or reading the vows of others can help you get a better idea of where to start with your own. [Read: 28 committed relationship rules & signs to make love last forever]
2. Don’t wait until the last minute
The absolute last thing that you want to do is wait to write your vows until the night before your wedding. Optimally, you’ll write your vows at least three weeks ahead of time. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to really figure out how to say what you want to say and revise as many times as you need to.
3. Write down your thoughts
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is start with chaos and organize later. Before you go to town trying to write a well-structured set of vows from the get-go, just record any good thoughts or ideas you have for them. Spend a week or so just collecting thoughts as you have them, and pick out what to use later on. [Read: Happily ever after – the psychological benefits of marriage & commitment]
For instance, you might be in the grocery store when a perfect line pops into your head. Maybe the best anecdote comes to mind while you’re in the waiting room at the dentist. Put it in the notes app on your phone.
4. Write up to three drafts
Practice makes perfect, so be sure that you don’t use your very first draft. You’re always able to improve upon the original with better wording or more sentimental language, so plan for at least a couple of revisions.
5. Don’t try to include everything
When you’re trying to figure out how to write your wedding vows, you might become overwhelmed with how many different things you want to include. Your soon-to-be spouse undoubtedly knows that you love them for a thousand different reasons, and they’ll be okay if you choose to mention three rather than all of them. [Read: 40 most romantic songs for your wedding dance]
You’re going to want to eat that cake and start your honeymoon, so limit yourself, as hard as it might be. You don’t want to be standing at the altar for hours.
6. Ask a trusted friend or family member to read over them
Have you ever heard that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees?
Essentially, that saying means that you’re too involved in the minute details to consider the bigger picture. Have someone you trust read your vows to themselves and aloud to you. They’ll be able to give you feedback, and you’ll be able to hear how your vows sound out loud.
7. Don’t get too personal when learning how to write your wedding vows
Be mindful of how intimate and personal your vows are. Of course, your vows are for your partner, so they should have an element of intimacy.
Keep in mind, however, that they’re being spoken in front of family, friends, and whatever wild additions your parents added to the guest list. You don’t want to talk about your sex life in front of grandma.
Never say anything that could over-expose you or your partner. [Read: The first year of marriage – the surprising truths no one talks about]
8. Tell the story of how you met or how you fell in love
When you’re looking at examples of how to write your wedding vows, you’ll quickly notice that practically everyone talks about how they met or fell in love. It’s a popular element to include, with good reason.
Oftentimes, the stories of how couples meet or stories about the moment they knew they were in love are endearingly funny.
If you and yours have a sweet moment to talk about, don’t hesitate to add it.
9. Tell the promises you want to make to your partner
The intent of vows is to promise. You’ll surely promise to love one another endlessly, support without hesitation, and live in laughter. Writing your own vows gives you the freedom to make promises that are unique to you. You can make them sweet, serious, or thoughtful. [Read: 25 reasons to love someone and hold on to them forever]
10. Talk about the things you’ll do together
If you talk about where your relationship started, you can add in a few things about where you hope it goes. You can express excitement for all kinds of things that will happen in your future.
Maybe you can’t wait to start a family, buy a house, or just be able to claim “married filing jointly” on your taxes.
11. Don’t embarrass your partner with personal stories
Be wary of the anecdotes that you choose to include when learning how to write your wedding vows. A funny story or two that really captures your relationship is charming, but stories that would embarrass your partner are off-limits.
12. Practice out loud
Be sure to read your vows aloud to yourself prior to the big day. It will help you identify any pieces that might sound a little weird or parts that you might stumble over.
Not everything sounds as good as it looks on paper. [Read: Best husband ever – things the best guys always do in a marriage]
13. Keep your vows private until the wedding
Hide them somewhere that your partner won’t be able to find them. Some of us are nosy and would not hesitate to ruin the moment by reading the vows if we found them!
14. Don’t stress
Don’t worry about feeling like you have to find the exact perfect combination of words when figuring out how to write your vows. This is your special day! No matter what, you and your partner know how much you love each other. All you have to do is say that.
Things to talk about before writing your vows
While you shouldn’t share your vows with your partner until the day of the wedding, you should have some kind of mutual agreement pertaining to a few things about them. All of these are about personal preference, but they should be discussed.
You wouldn’t want to deliver a series of jokes as your vows when your partner opted for something serious and sentimental.
1. How long should the vows be?
While there are no hard and fast rules about this, it’s generally safe to say that two to three minutes is optimal. It’s the perfect sweet spot. It’s not too much for your guests, and it’s not too little for your partner. [Read: How to be more romantic – 46 cute ways to melt your partner’s heart]
2. Should we share inside jokes or keep the vows generic?
Decide whether or not you want to throw some personality into your vows. Don’t overdo it, of course, but discuss types of jokes that would or wouldn’t be okay.
Generic vows that show nothing about how you are as a couple are often tired and grossly dull. On the other hand, vows that feel more like a private stand-up comedy set might be a little overwhelming.
3. Will they be humorous, sentimental, or both?
As mentioned above, you want to show who you are as a couple. If you can find the sweet spot between funny and sentimental, you’re good. Just make sure that your partner isn’t dead set on having strictly sentimental vows before you try to land a few jokes.
4. Are we going to incorporate religious or traditional elements?
It’s always important to discuss the type of ceremony that you want to have. You want to have a ceremony that’s true to you as a person and to you as a couple. [Read: 21 questions for couples to learn more about each other]
This is another thing that you can find a host of information about online, so that you can decide together what type of ceremony would serve you best. It’s a little harder when one person is very religious while the other is very much not – but look! You’re already getting the chance to practice the art of compromise!
How to create the sweetest wedding vows
Looking for the perfect lines to add to your wedding vows? Here are eight of the simplest yet most profound additions for you to use. [Read: What’s the best age to get married?]
1. I cannot imagine my life without you
This says to the person you are marrying that they’ve made your life better. It says that your spouse-to-be brings something so special and unique to your life that you do not want them to leave your side.
2. I will protect your heart
Everyone has a little bit of apprehension when they are about to get married. Let the love of your life know that you will protect their heart and cherish the love you share until the end of time.
3. I love you more than anything in the world
To know someone loves you more than anything in the world means that their love for you is so strong that nothing can trump it. By adding this to your vows, your partner will feel secure knowing that you always prioritize them. [Read: The right priority in your relationship – how to find & focus on it]
4. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you
You want to be there for your partner through good days, bad days, and everything in between.
Life isn’t always going to be as sweet and romantic as your wedding day, but by adding this line to your vows, you’re telling your partner that you’re willing to stay by their side for the long haul. [Read: 20 reasons to get married and live happily after]
5. I promise to be patient and understanding, no matter the circumstances
You might think that you’ll both walk off into the sunset hand in hand to start a romantic life together.
Marriage requires work, and working together through the trials of life requires patience and understanding. Let your partner know that you’re ready for whatever life throws at you.
6. You bring me joy and make me unbelievably happy
You want to remind your partner that through the arguments, nagging, and not-so-fun times, they can still make you incredibly happy. The more aware your partner is of how much happiness and joy they bring to your life, the more they will continue to do so. It makes them happy that they make you happy. [Read: Marriage advice – tips for being incredibly happy]
7. I will help you and support your dreams
Let the love of your life know that you’re their biggest fan, and you’ll be a helping hand during their pursuits to achieve their dreams. Unwavering support plays a huge role in the connection between you and your spouse.
8. I will always embrace your imperfections and encourage you when you need it the most
Vowing to love and embrace their imperfections helps them to remain true to who they are.
Marriage is about transparency, and the way you enter a marriage is the key to its longevity. It’s vital to let them know that you will encourage them when they feel as if the world is not on their side. [Read: What is unconditional love really?]
The best romantic poems to say at your wedding
“For richer or poorer, till death do us part.” These are the last lines to the most common wedding vows pronounced at the altar. Traditional vows are perfectly fine, of course, but you’re here because you want yours to be personal! Sometimes, however, your own words can’t depict your feelings properly.
When in doubt, consult a poet.
Luckily, there are several well-equipped poets and lyricists ready for when your words fail you. Take some of these poems as an example. Let them inspire your own writing when learning how to write your wedding vows, or even recite one of them to your partner.
“I am yours. I am yours as the stars belong to the sky and I am yours as the river belongs to the sea.
I am yours as your tears belong to your eyes
and I am yours as your lungs belong to the pattern in which you breathe.“ -Christopher Poindexter, “Maps”
“When two souls fall in love, there is nothing else but the yearning to be close to the other.
The presence that is felt through a hand held, a voice heard, or a smile seen.
Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.” -Lang Leav, “Souls”
“And love will tell you, you are beautiful and mean it, over and over again. You are beautiful.
When you first wake up, ‘you are beautiful.’
When you’ve just been crying, ‘you are beautiful.’
When you don’t want to hear it, ‘you are beautiful.’
When you don’t believe it, ‘you are beautiful.’
When nobody else will tell you, ‘you are beautiful.’
Love still thinks you are beautiful. But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget, when you need to hear it most, you are beautiful, do not forget this.” -Sarah Kay, “When Love Arrives”
“I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Sonnet XLIII”
“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me all day.
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.” -Pablo Neruda, “I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair”
“It is usually mid-afternoon and quiet, and getting dressed we talk about what else there might be to do, but being together solves most of it, for as long as those things stay solved, in the history of women and man, it’s different for each- for me, it’s splendid enough to remember…” -Charles Bukowski, “The Shower”
“Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another,
it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” -Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 7th Letter”
“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you.” -E.E. Cummings, “I Carry Your Heart with Me”
[Read: How to elope and have your perfect fairy tale wedding]
Commonly used vow structure
Undoubtedly, it’s not unusual to be overwhelmed when learning how to write your wedding vows. Where do you start? How do you end? The most common structure for vows is the past-present-future idea.
1. The past – how we got here
Your vows are the perfect time to talk about how you got to where you are. For example, you can talk about where you and your partner first met, what your first date was like, or when you first realized that you were in love with them.
It’s a great idea to include any sweet firsts that the two of you shared.
2. The present – why I choose you
Next, you’ll want to talk about the here and now. Talk about all of the things that made you choose to stand in front of this person and marry them. [Read: 21 secrets to being a happy couple]
Whether they’re kind and selfless, funny and optimistic, or just a really good cook, talk about all of the reasons that they’re the one.
3. The future – what I promise you
Finally, bring in the future. Fill your vows with all the things you’re excited to share with them. You’re starting a whole life together!
Talk about all the adventures you’re about to have. Mention that you can’t wait to watch them become a parent. Say that you just can’t wait for all the gourmet meals they’ll be cooking for you!
Frequently asked questions about how to write your wedding vows
Writing your own wedding vows can wreak havoc on your mind. It’s easy to think about things too much and even easier to freak out about everything you think you don’t know. We’re here to help!
1. Am I allowed to write my own wedding vows?
It’s encouraged! Personally written vows are a sweet addition to an already sweet day. Personalizing your vows and ceremony to you and your partner as a couple is a special way to individualize your expression of love. [Read: How to express love – ways to share love without using words]
2. How long should wedding vows be?
Ideally, your vows with take 2-3 minutes to speak out loud.
There isn’t a definitive rule, but you want to have enough time to say what you want to say without boring your guests.
3. How long does it take to write your own wedding vows?
The length of time it takes to write your own wedding vows varies greatly from person to person. One soon-to-be newlywed might have their vows completed within a day, while another pores over them for weeks.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to how long it should take you. Start early and take the time you need. The important thing is that they’re done right and well.
4. Can I get help writing my vows?
Of course! It’s a difficult task to take on. You can enlist the help of the internet, poetry, or a friend. It’s always helpful to have extra inspiration and input. [Read: 46 of the cutest ways to be romantic]
5. Where should I write my wedding vows?
Anywhere. You can write them on paper, via the notes app on your phone, or on your computer. Write your rough draft by whatever means you see fit. It’s also a neat idea to have a nice-looking physical copy or a vow book for the ceremony so that you can keep it as a memento.
6. How can I overcome writer’s block?
Being stuck is no fun. The good news is that you’re writing about a subject that you know really well! Sometimes, it helps to just take a break.
Get up and walk away for a while. Do anything else. Go for a walk, clean the house, bake some muffins, or whatever you feel like doing.
Just stay away from writing for a while. You can spend some time thinking about how much and why you love your partner.
Relive some of your favorite memories or recollect all the things you’ve done for each other. So much of the writing process is just thinking.
Preparing vows for your own wedding can be a daunting experience. You might think it’s just so much easier to go with the regular vows, but why take the usual route when you can be so much more romantic? Learn how to write your wedding vows and wow your partner on your big day!