We don’t all wear our hearts on our sleeves, so when it comes to writing personal vows for the wedding day, it’s not always a walk in the park. It’s a rather tough balancing act of sharing personal moments, romantic promises, and sometimes humorous anecdotes. You can even add to that the unspoken expectation of waterworks! Despite all the theatrics, we believe the most moving and fervent vows come from simply speaking from the heart. If you’re about to start working on yours, continue reading for some guidance and a little push towards the right direction. Don’t stress or lose sleep over your vows—at the end of the day, it’s you two and your promise of forever that matter the most, the rest is just icing on the cake!
Start by laying everything on the table and writing down what you want to say to your partner in paragraph form or bullet points. It’s way too much pressure to find the right words all at once, so allow yourself to freely express how you feel and work on the rewording, intonation, and other technicalities later on as you review. Include the personal memories, promises, and any literary excerpts or lyrics you’d like to include. Don’t worry if it ends up surprisingly long, you can always go back and select only your favorite points to include.
Take some time to reflect on the reason you’re getting married in the first place. Is it because you were called to commit to, care for, and love your partner eternally or maybe because you know you are ready to start a family together? Whatever the reason, do mention your why to give the guests a glimpse into your love. Not only will it help you persevere through the stresses of wedding planning, but more importantly, recalling your why also makes you fall more in love with your partner as the big day approaches.
Since vow is a just a fancy word for a promise, make sure you fill yours with promises that are important to you as a couple, which you think will be the key to a happy life together. You can be as specific as promising to _ or as general as promising to be partners in all aspects of life, be it family, business, sports, and everything else in between. Try to veer away from promising to “never” or “always” because it’s very difficult to live up those words. Instead, promise to “understand when you remind me to” and to “do my best to.”
If there’s a lot you want to say, do note you have the rest of your life to declare your love for partner but only a limited amount of time to do so at the altar. Keep it concise by focusing on what you love most about your partner and what you vow to do make your life together the best version possible. Including inside jokes and private references may sound like a good idea, but most of your guests may not be able to follow and lose interest. Save these lines and references for your future love letters!
Some are afraid of sounding cheesy, so the trick is, as long as the words are genuine as opposed to Googled, the speaker will sound heartfelt rather than corny. Don’t worry about being judged for your words, but rather, worry about choosing the right words to say to your partner. Most especially if you are not the sentimental or affectionate type, surprise your partner by rising up to the challenge and preparing memorable vows. No need to make any grand promises or poetic metaphors if that’s not your cup of tea—just stick to what rings true to you and the words will come instinctively.
As with almost anything, practice makes perfect! Saying your vows out loud allows you to identify any difficult to pronounce phrases and make sure your words flow from your mouth smoothly. The more familiar you are with your words, the more natural it will be for you to pause and make eye contact with your partner, making the experience all the more intimate. Be sure to print yourself a fresh copy of your vows for the wedding day, even if you think you already have them memorized. You never know when stage fright will hit!