When Starting Your Vows
I always say that the best way to start when it comes to writing your wedding vows is to re-ground into what is at the heart of this whole process – you two and your love. Sit down together, just the two of you, and talk about what you want and expect from your wedding vows. While you may envision the traditional vows, your spouse may have already planned to write a creative promise of love. Decide what you want to share, when standing in front of your friends and family – is it promises that you will both uphold throughout your marriage? Do you want to reminisce on special memories from the last few years of your relationship? Will they be lighthearted and fun, or serious? It’s important to get on the same page about expectations before you start writing, and by honing in on a particular theme, it will help ensure that your wedding vows are special and cohesive.
Do Your Research
A la Carrie Bradshaw, take some vow writing inspiration from some of the greats. It doesn’t make your vows any less personal or unique to look around for some ideas and inspiration, either from famous romantic writers of the past or creative love notes of the present. Often times, starting with a completely blank slate can feel a little intimidating – for that reason, pull up some love letters from literature or movies that you both enjoy. Even if it’s just to get you in the mindset of writing your vows and you don’t end up using any direct quotes from what you read, it can help put you in the mindset of writing the perfect vows.
Consider how long you want your vows to be – there’s no right answer when it comes to this, your wedding ceremony is completely your own. However, it might help you both to have a general word count that you’re both going to stick to. For one thing, this ensures that one person doesn’t deliver a monologue of love, only to be met with “I’m glad we’re getting married, and I love you.” Beyond that, however, it helps when planning the timeline for your wedding day to have general parameters around the length of your wedding vows so that you know how to time your ceremony and photography.
Feeling stuck? Here are a few great things to include when writing your vows:
What are your promises to your new life partner – what will you bring to their life? How will you support them in their goals, dreams, and ambitions? What are the things you will do for them daily, to remind them how much they mean to you? Do you promise to always take the dog out when it’s raining, or do you promise to see Paris with them because you know it has always been their dream?
Another great idea is to talk about how your future spouse has changed, and continues to change, your life for the better. What traits or virtues do they inspire in you? How do they call on you to be your best self? Do they make you laugh every day? Do they remind you to believe in yourself? Highlight these, and take this time to thank them.
Share a special story from your relationship – maybe the moment you met, your first date, or the night you got engaged. This could also be something so simple, a fleeting moment where you were just filled with endless love and gratitude for one another. It’s been a long road that got you to this aisle, and today is the perfect day to remember some of those stepping stones.
Dream about your future together. Do you often picture yourselves sitting hand in hand on a porch in rocking chairs when you’re 90? Do you hope to have a huge family, or share a successful business? Do you hope to travel the world together? Use your vows to start your future together with big dreams that you both share.
Finally, don’t be afraid to borrow someone else’s words – sometimes, talking about love can feel like a lot. At the end of the day, the person who will be standing in front of you knows that you love them – so if you need to borrow a phrase or two from Lord Byron (or, When Harry Met Sally), please feel free.
A Few Final Notes
Be authentic in these vows – take the time to really think about what you hope to offer the person you’re about to marry in your lives together. Don’t be afraid to add in elements that are special in your relationship, are funny, or bring to mind a special memory that the two of you share.
Consider what will mean the most to your partner. Is their love language words of affirmation? Be sure to put a section in your vows where you tell your partner just how incredible they look as they stand before you, and how much their love means in your life. Think ahead to how they will feel on the day of your wedding, and target your words to love and support them in that incredibly precious moment.
Write your vows down. Please. As someone who has, no joke, photographed a bride or groom pull out their phone while standing at the altar to read their wedding vows – please don’t do this. Order a set of small heirloom notebooks and hand write your vows – this also makes for a beautiful detail shot before your wedding ceremony.