Wondering how to write wedding vows? It’s a tremendous undertaking, as you sit down and attempt to sum up all your love, dreams and promises to your partner in a few short minutes.

By Allyson Dickman, Jessie Mooney, Jamie Mackey and Kristi Kellog

Overwhelming as it can be, it’s well worth it: It’s a chance to tell your story, give guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love. It’s also intimate—you’re really baring your heart to your fiancé, and you’re doing so in front of your family and friends. If you’re up for the challenge, we’re here to help.

We’ve rounded up some tips that will help you write your own wedding vows.

1. Talk about the Scope of Your Vows with Your Partner

One of the hardest parts about exchanging vows is worrying over how people will compare your words to your fiancé’s. Were hers longer? Did he get more sentimental? Did she make everyone laugh? Did he make everyone cry? Instead of considering vow writing a competition, get on the same page about your expectations. You don’t have to share what it is you’re going to say, but come to an agreement about the following: • How long will the vows be? • Will you share inside jokes or would you rather keep things more generic? • Do you want to incorporate elements of traditional or religious vows into your own? Consider these starter questions—but don’t hesitate to ask your significant other if you’re stuck on anything else. Once you two have a game plan in mind, writing will be easier.

2. Find a Quiet Place to Reflect on Your Feelings and Write from the Heart

Don’t plan on writing romantic vows while your fiancé is in the other room with the TV blaring or when you have a work deadline on your mind. Find a time when your stress level is low and you can really spend a few quiet minutes thinking about your relationship. To help the ideas start flowing, consider propping pictures of you and your fiancé from throughout the relationship around your writing space as inspiration.

3. Make a List of All Your Thoughts

You don’t have to try to put everything into sentences right away. The first step to writing your vows should be creating a list. Jot down all the things you love about your fiancé, what you’re looking forward to most in your marriage, and what promises you want to make to your future husband or wife. Set the list aside for a day or two, then go back and highlight your favorite items on the list. Use those as the starting point for your vows.

4. Write Up to Three Drafts

Once you’ve made your list, done your research, and written your first draft, walk away. Take a few days—even a week—to give you and your vows some space. After you’ve taken time apart, go back and reread what you wrote. A little separation from your words will do a whole lot of good and allow you to fix anything with a clear head. If needed, do this one or two more times. But after three times, stop. The bottom line is that you wrote from the heart, and continuously rewriting will drive you crazy! Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

5. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Plan to have your vows written at least three weeks before your wedding. This will give you time to write without the added pressure of the approaching day and also give you time to practice reciting your vows in front of the mirror. Trust us: You’ll be thankful for the rehearsal when those wedding day jitters kick in!

6. Say “I Love You”

This seems like a no-brainer, but Monique Honaman, wedding officiant and author of The High Road Has Less Traffic, says she is often shocked at how many couples leave out this little three-word phrase from their vows. “Isn’t that why people are getting married?” she asks. “Yes, we assume that’s a given that we must love someone if we are willing to stand by them through thick and thin, but it’s always nice to hear and emphasize.”

Categories: Relationships

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