How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

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Let’s face it: traditional wedding vows just don’t cut it. If you want to make the vows a moment to remember for the rest of your life, you’d better pick up the pen and start writing your own vows. Here’s how you can make this happen without too many hurdles.

Get inspired by other self-written vows

You can read such vows online. Make a list of vows that particularly touched you, and figure out why those specifically touched you. Think about what it is about the style or content of those vows that drew you to them, and then incorporate that as a starting point for when you start writing your own.

Think about the specificities of your own relationship

Reflect on your relationship and your fiancé. Think back about the time when you first met, when you first realized you were in love, and when you finally decided you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this person. Answer a list of basic questions, like why you decided to get married, what hard times you’ve suffered through together, what makes your relationship work, what about your fiancé inspires you, and how they’ve made your life better. Spend as much time on this as you can, since you’ll draw from it heavily.

Make sure both you and your fiancé agree on the format and tone

Deciding on your wedding vows needs to be a joint decision, even if you don’t tell your fiancée what you’re going to say. Make sure the two of you are on the same page regarding tone: do you want them to be humorous, or romantic and poetic? How long will they be? The two of you should be in the same boat in order to avoid any nasty surprises on the big day.

Make an outline and avoid clichés

Write your first draft after establishing a structure. Here’s a template for an outline: start by affirming your love, praise your partner, make the promises, and finally, close with the last vow. Or you could begin with a brief story, and refer to it again by the end. Once you’re done with the first draft, you’ll want to edit it. The first thing to do is to avoid clichés. The whole point of writing your own vows is to avoid sounding like other people, and to make them as personal as possible. Come up with specific examples and instances to use instead of clichés. And remove anything that seems like it might be too embarrassing or mysterious sounding. Your vows are meant to symbolize you making the bond between you public, so avoid inside jokes, code words or anecdotes that are entirely too personal.  And keep the final vows down to a minute or two, max. Don’t drag it out.

Practice saying the vows out loud

Practice your vows until you’ve got them just right. The right way to go about this is by recording yourself saying the vows, and then listening to that recording to see which areas require improvement.

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