Some couples decide to go with traditional wedding vows, some write their own personalized vows, and some do a combination of both, exchanging traditional vows during the ceremony and personalized vows at another time.
Even if you stick to traditional vows during the ceremony, it’s well worth it to write sincere, meaningful vows to one another to exchange at some point. You can exchange these personalized vows during a first look, before the reception, on your wedding night, or even on a special wedding anniversary later on. Writing your own vows to the one you love reveals your true heart and demonstrates that you’ve put time and thought into these sacred promises. Reading them together creates a deep since of intimacy, devotion, and love.
So maybe you aren’t Pablo Neruda, the author of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Well, not to worry. Your partner probably isn’t expecting you to be. In fact, your other half most likely desires to hear your voice because that is the one he or she fell in love with. To make it a little easier, we’ll provide some inspiration to get started. The beginning is the hardest part. Once you get going, the rest will flow out!
6 Steps to Creating Incredible Wedding Vows
1. Tell your story.
The best writers and most captivating speakers often start off with a true, yet heart-tugging story. You can do the same. Instead of struggling over words that simply sound nice, recall a time when you felt more in love than ever. Maybe it was a first date, a spontaneous funny story, a great adventure, or a mishap that ended up bringing you closer together. Tell that story vividly, yet concisely (don’t go on and on). Instead of telling every detail, focus on how you felt and what made you fall in love. How did that event bring you closer together?
2. “From that moment”….
Tie your story to your revelation of love. What did that moment inspire? From here, share your promises to commitment, love, and partnership. This is where you include the literal ‘vows’ to your other half.
3. Acknowledge reality.
Either humorously or in all seriousness, acknowledge the hard times and trials that will inevitably come. Explain how you will get through those together, along with the support of those you love most. Share how you plan to walk through both the good times and the bad hand in hand.
4. Express your love.
Reiterate how your love is what drives all of this. How and why is your love unconditional? Let your partner know that nothing can break that bond, and your timeless, mutual love is what ties it all together. Don’t forget to say, “I love you” . . . literally. Funny enough, some people forget to say it explicitly.
5. Stay away from absolute language.
“Always” and “never” may sound nice in vows, but make sincerity a priority here. You are both human, and the truth is, you may let each other down here and there. Things may happen you couldn’t foresee or prepare for. Instead of absolute promises and perfection, share your heart and your intentions. What will you strive for? Fight for? Work for? What will you do when you hit a rough patch. These things always resonate more authentically.
6. Lighten it up.
Be a little cheesy if that’s your personality. Add a funny quote, pickup line, inside joke, or story. Add a funny off-hand comment. While you’re going for sincerity and intimacy, a little laughter is also good for the soul and will bring you closer together. It’ll also make your vows more memorable.
7. Proofread, read aloud, and edit.
Once your vows are complete…they aren’t finished. Go over it several more times, and if you plan on reading them out loud, make sure it flows well. Add commas or paragraph breaks to help guide you while reading. If you’re comfortable with it, ask a close friend or family member to help make sure it’s just the way you want it (note: I didn’t say perfect. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ in terms of grammar or literary value. Most importantly, it needs to be perfectly you).
Example of wedding vows:
“John, I remember when I first laid eyes on your from across the room at my best friend’s birthday party. And I’m going to be honest: it wasn’t love at first sight. But, it was admiration at first sight. You made that hilarious joke at the expense of your pride after squirting ketchup on your shirt, and I knew right then that I needed you in my life.
Since that day, you’ve brought a thousand more smiles and a hundred fits of laughter. You inspire me to brighten the world around me every chance I get, because you do that every day. Because of you, I appreciate the sweet little moments that others make take for granted. Because of you, I’ve found immense purpose for my life. You make everything feel complete, no matter what is going on around me.
Although I didn’t know I loved you that day at the party, it’s easy to see that I certainly do now. Deeply. I can’t imagine a life without you, and thinking about all the adventures will have over the next 50 years brings me incredible joy. I love loving you, and you do an even better job of loving me back.
So, I promise to thank God for you every morning. I promise to put you and our marriage first. I vow to fight for our relationship, even when life throws curveballs our way. I promise to stand by you and support you in all your endeavors. And finally, I promise to watch endless episodes of Parks and Rec with you when you’re having a bad day.
I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to find my soulmate that day, but I’m so glad I did. I have only fallen even more in love with you with each passing day, and I have no doubt that love will take us on some wonderful adventures over the years. I can already imagine the memories and laughter we’ll create together. The best is yet to come, and I absolutely can’t wait! I love you today and forever, John.”