12 Tips to help you write your wedding vows:
Hello. My name is Rev. Julie Nourish. I am a Las Vegas wedding officiate. Believe me, I have seen so many weddings vows being shared I lost count. I have also heard and witnessed many couples struggle with writing their vows.
I have helped many couples write their vows and come up with ideas as well. Whether you are planning to write your vows for a Las Vegas wedding or anywhere else in the world, you may share the same problem. If you are having a difficult time writing your wedding vows here are some valuable tips and guidelines for writing some meaningful and personal words to exchange during the ceremony.
Wedding Songs to Inspire Vows: Use YouTube to inspire you:
Try reading the lines of favorite songs. Perhaps you have a special couple’s song. Borrow lines and write how you felt when you heard the song. What is it about your favorite song that applies to your relationship?
It is perfectly fine to quote special lyrics, poetry, movie lines, books, anything that holds special meaning to you as a couple. Just don’t sell it as YOUR original work!
“I swear like the shadow that’s by your side I will be there. For better or worse,
Till death do us part, I will love you with every single beat of my heart, I swear!”
“I hear that song, and it is my promise to you. I love you like that today and I always will!”
Unless you have the ability to channel Elizabeth Barrett Browning or possess the chops to belt out a moving rendition of I’m Everything I am Because You Loved Me…; finding the words to declare your vow of love for eternity may be a scary, seemingly insurmountable task. Stop worrying, we are here to help your heart find its message (pretty good start, huh?)!
Today, more partners are composing their own wedding vows. Personalizing the marriage promise has become a popular, sentimental trend. Many couples choose to write a few simple lines and include them with the Officiant’s reading of the traditional vows, “Do you [name]take [name}…etc., etc., etc.” While other couples take scripting the perfect sonnet to Hollywood production levels.
The goal of writing your wedding vows should be an act of expressing your love, your promise, your vision of this perfect union with the person possessing your heart-you are NOT attempting to impress the Pulitzer Committee. Your words are meant for your special him or her. They may be heard by two witnesses or a congregation of hundreds but your vows are directed at one person and only one person. There is no pass/fail litmus. You will not receive a grade
You will not receive a grade for the effort; a commission check will not arrive in the mail, and chances are-Josh Grobin will not be on the phone begging for the song rights to your words.
RELAX, write what you feel, and capture what your heart is saying to your head. Just write, get something on paper then you can slice and dice the words into the ideal composition.
Try an exercise to get your head moving in the right direction. Compose a few thoughtful answers to these questions:
The important thing to remember is being truthful and honest about how you feel. THINK about your life together and write, do not worry about sentence structure or prose. Start with a copy, work on the polish later.
Length of vows
It’s best to keep the vow length below two minutes. Beyond this time frame, you will usually lose the attention of the wedding guests. Two minutes should give you plenty of time to cover the essential points you want to cover.
Format to follow
Write down your essential highlights, to begin with. Then later you can elaborate and modify the outline to reflect your own unique feelings and perspective
A list of 12 brainstorming vow ideas:
1. Write down three to five best characteristics about the person you are marrying and why you love them. Rank those qualities until you have one GREATEST thing about your fiance and draft your answer “[Name}, I see your dazzling smile and nothing can take away the happiness it brings to my world.”
2. What is your favorite memory of the person you are marrying (be specific)? “[Name], I remember the first time I saw you walking across the street wearing those [fill in the blank]. I followed you for six blocks. You walked in the [example/bar] and I forgot where I was going. I could not let you out of my sight. I had to meet you, talk to you; I thought I may die if I didn’t know your name.”
3.Declare your intent regarding how you fulfill your duty or promise be as a husband or wife. What is your promise to this special person you plan to spend the rest of your life with? “[Name], I will be a loyal companion, staying by your side through the good times and bad times, for example. I promise to spend the rest of my life loving, protecting, respecting, honoring, and doing my best to deserve your love. Elaborate and search your heart for ways you will fulfil your special love. Only you know what is in your heart. This will require some reflection on your own unique relationship with your intended.
2. Make a declaration to your intended regarding what you love about them. (be specific)? “[Name], I love your spontaneity, you are dependable, you have been supportive of my goals and aspirations all these years, your sense of humor keeps me sane and laughing. You have made life fun and interesting. You understand me.
3. When did you realize you were in love with the person you are marrying? “[Name], I looked at you [place/sitting at the bar] and I knew I could love you forever.” I could not let you out of my sight. I had to meet you, talk to you; I thought I may die if I didn’t know your name.”
4. How would your life be different if the person you are marrying were not in your life? [Name], I thought my life was pretty full until you entered my world and I realized what an empty existence I would endure without you in it!”
5. When you met your fiance how did you feel? Think back to the special feelings you held in your heart when you met your special someone? Write down your feelings and share them in your own special way.
6. What caused you to fall in love with your fiance? Your intended will love to hear all about why you fell in love with them. It’s the foundation stone and building block of your love and it feeds love and affection.
7. At what point did you know you wanted to spend your life with them and why? Most couples know that certain point when the relationship became more serious and are proud of it.
8. Think of hard times you endured together and how you supported each other through them and overcame them. If you have not experienced difficult times, then great! Otherwise, it’s meaningful to acknowledge you have overcome and worked through things in your relationship already and have a great foundation to start your journey.
9. Have your formed a common vision or goals for the future? If so, write them down and include them in your vows to make them unique. You do have a unique love and you get to tell everyone of the special bond you share here.
10. Write a small list of how your fiance has made your life better. Most people can think of ways their partner has improved their quality of life. After all, you will be friends and companions as well as lovers.
11. When you spend time apart, what do you miss about being around them? Most couples are not around one another 24/7. In fact, a lot of couples spend time apart these days with our busy lifestyles. Think of the many ways you miss them. It nurtures love in a relationship to acknowledge you miss your partner when away.
12. ”What is your vision of the perfect life together after you are married? In other words, what kind of like do you see you and your spouse living going forward into the future? I see us growing old together and I hope that if you live to be 100. never have to live without you ( so in this instance you are allowed to ‘borrow’ from favorite sources like Winnie the Pooh)!
Read through your answers…how do you FEEL? Did the exercise trigger the start of penning something valuable? If so, work with it. You may just have your vows almost finished by carefully pondering those 6 tips. You just need to think carefully about your spouse and how your love is unique. What about him or her makes you feel that special something?
Still Having Trouble Starting the Writing Process – suffering from writer’s block?
6 more tips to help you complete your vows:
There are a few minor considerations when preparing your own wedding vows.
1. Discuss options with your fiance: Consider the tone of the wedding and your partner’s desire for propriety (or lack thereof).
2. Discuss your vows with your wedding Officiant: Do you want to read your own vows, will someone else read the vows, do you plan to pre-record the vows for the wedding ceremony, and other logistical considerations.
3. Decide if you want to remember or read your vows: Make sure a couple of photocopies are handy (like with the best man, Officiant, maid of honor) in the even you draw a complete memory blank when the spotlight hits!
4. Do not include embarrassing or offensive material in your vows: (at least not without your partner’s consent).
5. Do not include your vows in your wedding rehearsal: Save the reveal for the emotion of your wedding day.
6. Try to write from your heart: Your partner will not care if you misspell a word, stumble over a tense, or stutter on delivery, it is the sentiment that counts.
Only one person really matters:
Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life. If you choose to make the ceremony even more special by preparing your own vows, repeating a script, or by simply delivering the words your heart is screaming ad-lib-go for it. Only one person’s approval matters and that is your spouse. You can bet your words will speak volumes to them for the rest of time.
Remember, this is YOUR special day as a couple. I think it’s most important to focus on how you feel about your spouse and what is important to you about your relationship.
Your wedding day is about making your spouse feel prized and special, so your vows should reflect that sentiment. I recommend using wedding vow books to help give you extra ideas and inspiration.
Try Perusing Wedding Ceremony Help Sites:
Reading through online wedding vows for inspiration is a great idea and resource to start with. The Internet is a valuable tool for research and one site that offers a comprehensive list of vows compiled from different cultures and religions. Some vows are considered civil, some are humorous, traditional Christian or straight from the heart with no format.
View my Ceremony Explanation WebPage for the description of each wedding vow category. Here is an excerpt of the page:
“Ceremony Differences quoted from wedding website wedding ceremony explanation page: There are many types of ceremonies in this category. I offer only non-denominational ceremonies. They can be civil, which is considered non-religious. The spiritual wedding ceremony strikes a compromise between civil and (traditional or Christian). The Christian ceremony is traditional and what you would expect of a traditional style and wording, reflecting Bible verses and traditions.”
Wedding sites like the Knot offer free ideas and eBooks for composing wedding vows. Fill-in-the-blank forms and recommended formats for material often help give direction and inspirational guidance for struggling writers.
Here is a list of a few free wedding e-books from reputable wedding sources: