My husband and I wrote our own wedding vows. It was nerve wracking and very emotional, but I’m SO glad we did it. Hearing the vows he wrote to me from his heart meant so much more than hearing him recite traditional wedding vows. On top of that, our families said it was so intimate and personal for them to hear our own promises to each other.
That said, it wasn’t all that easy to write our own wedding vows! I remember sitting with a pen and an empty vow book I wondered how the heck to start, what to say, and how I was supposed to sum up everything I feel for him in words.
If you’re feeling the same way, wanting to write your own wedding vows but unsure where to begin, this is for you. I’ll share with you wedding vow ideas and examples to help you write your own vows that are personal and meaningful for you.
It helps to look at it from the big picture. Vows are typically laid out starting with affections, and ending with promises. A sample wedding vow layout would be:
The whole point of writing your own vows is to make them deeply personal and representative of you two as a couple. So DO NOT worry about making it formal and professional, don’t even worry about being grammatically correct! No one is grading this! They should be personal wedding vows, and therefore nontraditional wedding vows. Make it sound like your real voice, how you talk to your partner in real life across the dinner table or in bed at night. Save the “I vow to” and “I promise” sentences for the very end, and fill the beginning of the vows with authentic, meaningful words.
When writing the things you love about your person, be specific and descriptive. Here are some wedding vow examples that are specific and descriptive…
Bad example: I love how you’re selfless.
Good example: I love how you’ll drop anything to help your family and friends, you always wake up early to make me coffee, you never forget to fill up my car with gas before I even ask, etc etc etc…
Your spouse wants to feel noticed and known. Let them know that you see every part of them, especially the parts that other people might not know about. Show them that you know them deeply and you love them because of it.
If you’re still stuck, here are a few examples of wedding vows that you can steal.
As a wedding photographer, I’ve heard plentyyyyy of vows. In one vow exchange I’ll never forget, the bride shared sweet, personal, effortless vows… then the groom took the mic and followed with his vows that sounded like a Renaissance poem. Really though, I think he stole a few lines from Shakespeare. His whole vow writing was extremely eloquent and elaborate, clearly not how anyone would talk in real life in this day and age, and it just didn’t line up well with the tone of her vows.
This is why I definitely recommend letting someone read both of your vows to make sure they’re not starkly different in terms of language and format!
My husband and I didn’t want to share our vows with each other until the wedding ceremony, but we knew that we should get some feedback on them to make sure they were roughly the same length/vibe/language. So we both sent the draft of our vows to my sister-in-law. She took a look at them, gave us each individual feedback, and helped us feel way better walking into our wedding day not knowing what our partner was going to say about us in front of all our family and friends!!
I highly recommend doing this if you choose to go the route of writing your own vows. Ask someone you trust who knows you both well to take a look at each of your vows and make sure they are on the same page.
Full disclosure, I’m an emotional mess. I cry at everything! That said, I was super nervous about writing my own vows because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get through them.
The thing that saved me was reading my vows OUT LOUD several times before the wedding day. I still choked up during the real ceremony, but since I had already read these words out loud over and over again I felt more comfortable and confident saying them, plus I didn’t stumble on any of the words or phrases.
If reciting your own wedding vows during your ceremony still feels daunting to you, another thing you can do is write your own vows and exchange them with each other privately at some point during the day, for example during the first look. A lot of couples opt to do it this way!
However, saying our personal vows in front of our family and friends was so special, and many people said it was their favorite part of the entire wedding day getting to hear the words we wrote for each other. But if it’s something you want to keep between the two of you, then schedule a time in the day to share them in privacy.
In the end, it’s YOUR day. You two have to decide what’s best for you, make every detail personal, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise (:
I hope this article was so helpful for you! For more wedding planning advice, check out my planning tips here!