How to write your wedding vows: a guide

How to write your wedding vows: a guide

As wedding season unfolds, with the beautiful chaos of selecting flowers, tasting cakes, and fitting dresses, the importance of exchanging wedding vows can be overshadowed. These promises are the cornerstone of any ceremony, showing the love and commitment between partners.

I have created a full guide on how best to create your wedding vows to show your partner just how special they are on your wedding day.

How do you write your wedding vows?

Writing memorable wedding vows is all about speaking from the heart and putting your true feelings onto paper. However, it isn’t always easy to find the right words when you’re overwhelmed with emotions and have so much to say about your significant other.

How long should a wedding vow be?

The ideal length for wedding vows is between one and two minutes. Practice reading the vows aloud (we read at a different pace in our heads) to ensure you’re within that timeframe.

Who reads vows first?

In a traditional wedding, the groom is usually the one to say his vows first. But today, either part of the couple has the option of saying their vows first. This preference on vows varies depending on what you select as a couple, your beliefs, what your officiant recommends, or the order of events you choose.

Your Guide to a Heartfelt Declaration of Love

Here are my top tips to create memorable vows that will evoke laughter, tears, and fond memories:

Reflecting on Your Relationship

When you start the process of writing your wedding vows, take a moment to remember the start of your relationship, your courtship, and your growth as a couple. Think back to the moments that have got you to where you are today – the laughter shared over late-night conversations, the comfort found in each other’s arms during difficult times, and the countless adventures that you have had together. 

Think of your partner’s best qualities and how they have grown as a person in your relationship. What features and traits make you proud to be theirs? Maybe it’s their unwavering kindness or infectious sense of humour, or perhaps it’s their support and love for you through life’s twists and turns. 

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These reflections are the foundation of your wedding vows. Your own personality and quirks make them heartfelt. Adding your stories of love and adventures keep them personal and intimate. Your story will inspire your vows with happiness and laughter. So, let your heart guide your pen as you delve into the depths of your love story, ready to pen vows that resonate with the essence of your unique partnership.

Setting the Tone

Your wedding vows are not just words spoken in the moment; they reflect your relationship and give your loved ones a sense of your story. 

When you sit down to write your vows, take a moment to envision the atmosphere you want to create during your ceremony. 

Are you a romantic who loves poetry, music and lyrics? Perhaps you prefer banter and comedy with a little teasing? Maybe you’d like to share some in-jokes that only the two of you know to keep things intimate but special. If comedy isn’t your thing, you could take inspiration from books and even movies and TV shows to help describe your feelings. Adding a well-known quote from a film is guaranteed to warm people’s hearts. You may prefer your vows to be serious and more sober, if so, why not recite your relationship chronicles.

Whatever makes you happy will make your vows perfect and unique. The story of your courtship, dating, embarrassing moments and union will portray your message of love and hope for the future. 

Brainstorming Ideas

Get ideas flowing with a brainstorming session – you could even do it as a fun activity together. A brain storm is like a scavenger hunt where you turn over forgotten memories and find hidden gems in your past that you’ve forgotten about. Doing this can help you uncover surprises you didn’t know about your relationship, in-jokes you’d forgotten about and silly stories that have long since been told together. 

Make it fun by playing a song you love each and going down memory lane together. Get old holiday photos out and remind yourself of your travelling disasters or sun burn stories. Go through old messages from when you were seeing each other and remind yourself of that fun and wonder and the feeling of starting something new. 

Put an old favourite movie on that you’ve not watched for ages and laugh together as you remember lines and songs from it. Write down the silly things that make you squabble and the funny quirks you now have as a couple. 

These sweet stories and forged memories can become the basis of your vows because they are totally bespoke to you. Use them to build up a picture of your life together and your hopes for the future. More holiday disasters? Another chance to listen to that old album? Add it all to your vows and let it shape them. Get nostalgic, put your personality into it and have fun with it. 

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Get Personal

Want to know where the real magic is in wedding vows? It’s all in the personal touches, the stories of your life together and the in-jokes you share. It’s allowing your wedding guests in to see the real you, the couple that you are when you close the front door and it’s just you two against the world. 

By adding in little personalisations, opinions, jokes and funny stories, you’re sure to make your vows perfect. 

This is your chance to share your feelings with your family and friends – and your partner. Let them see how you’ve felt during the fun times, what’s made you smile on the harder days and which songs remind you of them. 

Reminisce and look forward fondly at a life shared together.

How to write your wedding vows: a guide

Consider Length

A question I am asked a lot is: how long should my vows be? Is there such a thing as too long or too short?

The simple answer is: there’s no one-size-fits-all and your vows can be as long or as short as you like. 

It’s all about finding the sweet spot of sharing memories and stories and looking ahead to the future without it being over before people have realised you’ve started or droning on so people switch off. 

Sincerity and keeping it personal usually means that vows last no longer than a few minutes. You’ve got around three minutes to convey your message and show your partner how much you love them and that is plenty of time. If you’re adding a reading to it, I’d advise keeping the introduction shorter. You want your vows to be memorable, snappy and lovely. 

Don’t worry too much about timings, think: quality over quantity. Say what you mean, give them a laugh and leave them with a tear in their eyes to finish.

Include Promises

Your vows are, really, siple promises that you choose to make to your partner. The stories about your relationship and banter surround the principle of the vows: the promises you make to one another. 

You can take inspiration from traditional promises here but I think you should keep your vows simple: promise to always love them, promise to always listen & promise to be there for them. 

What matters most to you as a couple? How has your relationship got to where it is today? Is it from pinky promises or barters over dinner. If you promise to cook, do they promise to load the dishwasher? Do you have a word you use like “bible” when you swear on something?

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Use that as inspiration for your vows. Promise the big stuff but also promise the little stuff. Promise to always have their backs; promise to always take the bin out; promise to always make the first cup of coffee in the morning. 

Make it genuine and fun but keep the promises at the heart of your vows.

Look to the Future

The perfect way to sign off your wedding vows is to simply look ahead to the future you hope you have together. Picture what you hope lies in your future – both the near future and longer on the horizon of your shared lives. 

Tell your partner that you hope for a house filled with laughter, noise and mess together. Share your vision of sunny holidays, lie-ins and adventures together. Show them how excited you are to do life together as a married couple.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you’ve written your vows with our advice, there’s only thing left to do: practice them. You don’t have to know them word for word but pracitcing them will help give you the patter and rhythm needed to convey the right messages. If you want to practice on your own do it in the mirror to yourself. Or you could go for a walk up the garden and recite it as you walk. 

Recruit your friends for a quick preview to see how they like it and get some pointers. You could even record it on your phone and listen to it back. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and keep it relaxed and fun. You can always have your cue cards with you on the big day.

Remember, the essence of your vows is to express the depth of your love and commitment. Take your time, infuse your words with your heart, and prepare to share vows that will be treasured forever.

Need some inspiration for your own wedding vows? Here are a few examples:

Need some inspiration for your own wedding vows? Here are a few examples

Example 1:

I promise to stand by your side, through laughter and tears, sunshine and storms. I vow to cherish and respect you, to support and encourage you in all that you do. With you, I have found my home, my anchor, my greatest love. Today and every day, I choose you.

Example 2:

As we stand here today, surrounded by love, I pledge my heart to you. I promise to be your partner in all things, to listen with compassion, and speak with honesty. Together, we will navigate life’s joys and challenges, hand in hand. With you, I am whole, and with you, I am home.

Example 3:

My love, I promise to be your confidant, your cheerleader, and your rock. I vow to celebrate your triumphs and stand by you in moments of doubt. You are my best friend, my soulmate, and my forever. Today, I give you my hand, my heart, and my unwavering commitment.

It’s time to start writing your wedding vows

In the whirlwind of wedding planning, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the profound significance of the vows you exchange. These words are not just a formality; they are a heartfelt declaration of your love and commitment, the very foundation of your marriage. With this guide, I hope to have provided you with the tools and inspiration needed to craft vows that truly reflect the depth of your feelings and the uniqueness of your relationship. Remember, your wedding day is a celebration of love, and there’s no better way to honor that love than with vows that speak directly from the heart. May your vows not only be a highlight of your special day but also a guiding light for your life together.

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