Let’s get one thing straight - the repeat-after-me vows recited at many weddings are still special, and going that route isn’t anything to feel bad about. But if you’re reading this article, then you’re at least interested in writing your own, making them more personal and meaningful.

But maybe you don’t like writing, don’t know where to start, or fear that your words won’t be good enough. Penning such special words for an incredibly important day might feel overwhelming, but when you break it down and take it step by step, you’ll find that writing your own wedding vows can be an enjoyable process. And once you’ve written your personalized verses, you’ll have a unique set of memories and promises to share with your one and only.

To help you get started, I’ve put together some tips on how to write wedding vows that will have your partner laughing, crying, and feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

Groom reading his wedding vows to his bride as she smiles in a ceremony in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Talk it Out

First and foremost, you’ll want to let your partner know about your intentions and make sure you’re both on the same page, which means penning your vows as a duo. That doesn’t necessarily mean writing them together; you can keep your sentiments a secret until the big day. But you’ll want to discuss tone, length, and personal details you’d like to include with your fiancé, as well as subjects to stay away from.

You’ll also want to notify your officiant to make sure it’s okay that you recite your own vows. Some places require that you include/recite parts of the traditional vows, while others forbid personalized vows altogether. 

Close up of groom holding his hand written wedding vows. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Write it Down

Set aside plenty of time to think about what you want to include in your wedding vows, otherwise you’ll find yourself in panic mode, which won’t lead to quality writing.

Dedicate a notebook to your vows or start a private computer document to take down notes, thoughts, and inspiration to help you build your verses. Feel free to snag inspiration from other couple’s vows, poems, songs, quotes, etc. Sprinkle in your own words, special moments, memories, future hopes and dreams, what you love about your partner, how you’ve supported each other, and the promises you vow to keep throughout your marriage. 

The point isn’t to write the perfect vows at this stage or worry about word length, but to get your thoughts on paper. You’ll organize and edit later.

Write Your First Draft

Now it’s time to take all of the notes you’ve made and rearrange them into a cohesive template that expresses your love. A good outline to follow:

  1. Affirm your love
  2. Praise your partner
  3. Offer promises
  4. Final vow

The Knot has some great examples of real life wedding vows to help you see how this template flows and to inspire your own.

Edit and Finalize

In the editing stage, you’ll want to aim for a length of 150-300 words or 1-2 minutes of speaking time. Your vows should be heartfelt, but concise, and make sure your anecdotes are short, sweet, and easy for guests to understand and follow. Save the private jokes, lude comments, and sarcasm for the letter you’ll give your fiancé before the ceremony.

Practice Out Loud

Practice reading your vows out loud to make sure everything flows and to give you a sense of how things will sound and how long the speech will be. Make any tweaks you feel are necessary. If you’re sharing with your partner before the wedding day, read them out loud with each other, and practice looking into each other’s eyes as much as possible. If you’re keeping your sentiments a secret, you can look into a mirror to practice eye contact.

You don’t have to be a great writer to pen your own wedding vows. Authenticity is what matters most. Writing from the heart and speaking from a place of gratitude and love will far outweigh words written only to impress others.

Related: 7 Things You Should Definitely Not Do While Wedding Planning and Don’t Forget These Things on Your Wedding Day

Looking for additional tips to help make your wedding day one of the best days of your life? I bet I can help!

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