8 Tips for Writing Meaningful Wedding Vows

By Sarah Riddell

No couple is exactly the same, so why not personalize your wedding vows to create a more intimate and heartfelt moment between you and your other half during your ceremony? Though this can be a daunting task, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite vow-writing tips to help you through the process.

Chat with Your Fiancé

It’s important to be on the same page when it comes to vow-writing. First and foremost, make sure that both of you are interested in writing personal vows. It may also be beneficial to discuss whether you want to keep some of the same wording used in traditional vows or if you want to create your own completely. Even though what each of you say will be different, you may want to agree on a general format or tone, or maybe even consider creating an outline together of the order in which you want to say things so there is some uniformity on the big day.

Bride Meredith and groom Logan opted for a short and sweet summer ceremony surrounded by all of their family and friends. Brammer-Patterson Wedding, page 44 of bridebook 2019. Image by Meredith Sledge Photography.

Bride Meredith and groom Logan opted for a short and sweet summer ceremony surrounded by all of their family and friends. Brammer-Patterson Wedding, page 44 of bridebook 2019. Image by Meredith Sledge Photography.

Get Inspired

Few people can write about how they feel about another person the way William Shakespeare did in his sonnets, so don’t stress if the right words aren’t coming to you immediately! If you and your significant other love the same movie or book, have a song that you call yours or maybe even have a favorite TV show that you like to watch together, you can certainly use them as inspiration for your vows. They’re meant to be personal, so referencing a special little detail like this may just make your vows that much more intimate and heartfelt. If you’re still struggling, the Internet is full of vow examples and templates that can help you formulate your thoughts.

Put All Thoughts on Paper

When it comes to writing your vows, brainstorming about your soon-to-be spouse is a great place to start. Begin by making a list of your partner’s best qualities and go from there. Some other things you way want to reflect on are how your relationship started, why you were drawn to your significant other, when you realized they were “the one” or maybe even a funny story or two that each of you will easily recognize and get a kick out of on your big day. You don’t have to (nor should you) include everything you take note of in your final wedding vows, but brainstorming can help you pinpoint some highlights that you may want to incorporate.

Keep it Short, Sweet and Sincere

The great thing about marriage is that you have the rest of your life to tell your spouse all the things you love about them, so only touch on some of the highlights in your vows. Most people keep their speeches to less than two minutes. Though this doesn’t sound like much time, it’s plenty to sum up what you love and cherish the most about your partner.

Create a List of Realistic Promises

We all want to give our spouses the world and more, but it’s important to make these vows realistic and meaningful to both you and your spouse. One way to do this is to make them relatable on a day-to-day basis, like promising to cook your other half’s favorite meal once a month or to always support them. This part of your vows is the most important, so really take some time to think about the commitments you want to make to your partner.

In addition to writing their own vows, bride Carley and groom Chris included a traditional foot washing ceremony to symbolize their devotion to one another. Edwards-Beckner Wedding, page 42 of bridebook 2019. Image by Pat Cori Photography.

In addition to writing their own vows, bride Carley and groom Chris included a traditional foot washing ceremony to symbolize their devotion to one another. Edwards-Beckner Wedding, page 42 of bridebook 2019. Image by Pat Cori Photography.

Read Them Out Loud

Even though this step sounds silly, it can definitely come in handy. In addition to helping you catch a typo or two, reading your vows out loud will help you to know if you’re talking for a reasonable amount of time, or if you need to add or take out some details. It’s also important to note that since your vows are being read aloud at the ceremony, the audience should be able to follow along easily without getting confused. To help you with this, you may want to consider reading your vows to a family member or friend for some additional feedback.

Make a Draft (or Five)

Nobody gets everything they want to say written down first try! Start writing your vows early on in your engagement so that you have plenty of time to make changes before the big day. Take your time and don’t feel like you have to say what everyone expects you to—speak from the heart and make your vows specific to the relationship you have with your partner.

This stunning Sikh wedding ceremony was one of two for bride Ruby and groom Jacob. Sandhu-Andrews Wedding, page 64 of bridebook 2019. Image by Jared Ladia Photography.

This stunning Sikh wedding ceremony was one of two for bride Ruby and groom Jacob. Sandhu-Andrews Wedding, page 64 of bridebook 2019. Image by Jared Ladia Photography.

Bring a Clean Copy to the Ceremony

It may be hard to keep all of your thoughts straight when reading your vows if you’re having to sort through little changes that you’ve made on the paper. Take some time and copy down the final draft of your vows on a clean sheet of paper so that this confusion can be avoided. You may even want to write a little bit bigger than you normally would so that your vows are easier to read.

Bonus: Not Enough Time to Include Everything?

Don’t have time to say everything you want to at the alter? Write a note to your other half for them to read on the day of the wedding before the ceremony begins. You may also want to include a heartfelt gift with it to make the start of the day extra special! This could be a sweet way to help calm their nerves—and yours!

Bride Bri smiles at husband Matthew as they exchange vows and rings during their July wedding ceremony. Eades-Swarm Wedding, page 66 of bridebook 2019. Image by Olivia Diane Photography.

Bride Bri smiles at husband Matthew as they exchange vows and rings during their July wedding ceremony. Eades-Swarm Wedding, page 66 of bridebook 2019. Image by Olivia Diane Photography.

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