When you tie the knot, you should absolutely write your own wedding vows instead of having your officiant read the standard “I do’s.” But, if the thought of sitting down to write about your feelings and put all that love you have for your soon to be spouse into words gives you a minor heart palpitation, you aren’t alone! Writing your own wedding vows is incredibly vulnerable, and it’s totally normal to feel pressure to make them perfect, or nervousness at the thought of reading them in front of all your loved ones, or just a little bit of uncertainty about how to start and what to write.
To help you out, this guide is all about how to write your own wedding vows – how to make them meaningful and personal, how to start, and some tips to make the process less scary!
How Long Should Your Vows Be?
One of the first questions that people often have when they write their own wedding vows is about how long they should be. The truth is, there isn’t really an answer to this – and it’s usually easier to start writing without having a minimum, or maximum, word count in your head.
You know that saying that tells us that quality is more important than quantity? It’s definitely true when it comes to wedding vows! The important thing isn’t writing as many words as possible – what really matters is that you say everything you want to say, and express how you feel.
When it comes to how to write your own wedding vows, I recommend just writing until you feel like you’re done – for the first draft at least. There will be plenty of time for editing and revisions, all of which we’ll talk about in this guide!
How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows
Before you start writing, here are a few steps to get you in the right headspace!
Schedule Time to Write Your Wedding Vows
One of the best ways to start writing your wedding vows is to schedule some time that you’re going to dedicate to just writing. I know, I know, you’re busy – but I bet that if you try to write a line or two on your lunch break, or squeeze in working on your vows between tasks on your to-do list, it’ll be difficult to get in the right headspace and really get inspired!
I recommend scheduling some time that you’ll dedicate just to writing your wedding vows – make sure it’s at least half an hour, but an hour is best.
Make sure that this time is time that you’ll only spend on your wedding vows – turn your phone off, don’t distract yourself with anything else, and just use this time to write! Now, you probably won’t be writing this whole time – but it’s been proven over and over that just sitting with your thoughts, and being bored, not having anything to do or distract yourself with, stimulates creativity – so resist the temptation to give up it’s not coming easily to you, and use all the time you gave yourself! After your first writing session, if you need more time, schedule another writing sesh on a different day!
Write a List First
I also recommend not getting right into your vows right away – especially if you feel a little bit of writer’s block and really have no idea where to start. Simply start writing your wedding vows by creating a “brain dump” of any idea, memory, or thought that comes to mind!
Think about your relationship with your partner, allow your mind to wander, and think about your favourite moments, funny stories, favourite memories, and just write down anything that you think of, without holding back. After you have this list, it’ll be much easier to write your wedding vows when you have a list of things to potentially talk about!
Write Down Your Wedding Vows
And when I say write them down, I mean the old-fashioned way – pen and paper. Typing is easy, and it’s convenient, but there’s something about having to physically write down your thoughts that gets your mind moving and your creativity flowing! This also eliminates distractions from your phone, because I know we’ve all been there – you’re working on one thing, see a text that you’re going to reply to really fast, and then realize you’ve spent an hour on your phone and you’re not even sure what you did that whole time. Take out a pen and paper for every part of the process – from creating that brain dump to actually writing your vows.
You’ll probably go through a few drafts in the process, so when you’re happy with your vows you can rewrite them on a new piece of paper or in a vow book! When it’s time for the ceremony, this will also look much nicer than reading your vows from your phone.
Think of Your Vows as a Story
One helpful way to think about your wedding vows is as if you’re telling a story – there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your vows can include stories from your relationship so far (the beginning), they can include a middle, which is where you’re at right now – getting married! The middle can include promises that you’re making to each other right now, and a transition from your wedding day into the future.
Tying the knot is a huge milestone, but of course there’s so much more that you two will do and experience together – so the end of your vows, the end of the story, can be things that you’re looking forward to doing together. Think about the experiences you’ll have, the things you can’t wait to do, and everything that you’re excited for!
Okay, this might be easier said than done, but try to relax and not stress too much about your wedding vows. Remember that your partner loves you, and they don’t care if you’re not a Shakespeare level writer. All they want is to hear you express yourself in your own words, and no matter what, they’ll love your wedding vows as long as they really come from the heart. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
So when you sit down to write your vows, try not to edit yourself along the way, and instead just write what comes to mind, and remember that you can (and should) go back to edit it all afterwards. Writer’s block often comes from perfectionism – but the truth is that the best way to write your own wedding vows, is to just write!
As a wedding photographer, I’ve been with countless couples on the day they get married, and I can guarantee that no matter what, the meaningful vows wrote on your own are going to mean so much to your partner, and all they’ll care about is the fact that you were there, you love them, and that you tell them how you feel!
The Person Behind The Lens
If you like unconventional, honest, friendly and real photos, I’m your person.
Sam Wildridge is a lifestyle photographer / filmmaker based in Wainwright, Alberta. Sam has been capturing wedding, family + corporate photos for 9 years and defines her style as "organic storytelling".