It’s time to tackle something your wedding day can’t do without: your wedding vows. Now, you might be thinking of saying traditional vows – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But if you’ve found this article, we expect you’re at least considering putting pen to paper and having a go at writing your own personalised wedding vows instead. So here’s our guide to getting started.
1. Get Permission
Before you do anything else on this list, check with your officiant that you can actually say personalised wedding vows. There may be limitations for some ceremonies and it’s always worth asking before you spend hours crafting those few perfect sentences…
2. Get Inspired
A good place to start is with traditional wedding vows. After all, they’ve stood the test of time for a reason! You may well be familiar with the standard Church of England vows:
I, (name), take you (name), to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God, I make this vow.
Now, you may well decide that these vows – or those from another faith or source – will do you just fine! Or you might use them as the starting point for your own vows, thinking about which words you connect with. Similarly, take a look at examples of other couples’ wedding vows and see what you gravitate towards. You could also look through readings, poems, quotes and lyrics that resonate with you and remind you of your partner for inspiration.
3. Talk To Your Partner
Once you’ve got a feel for the sort of vows you like, sit down with your partner and talk about what you both expect from your vows. You might want to use the following questions as a starting point for your discussion:
Don’t underestimate the importance of this conversation. It’s super important that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your vows. You don’t want to start cracking jokes, only to find that your partner planned the opposite. And even if you think you’ll be going down the more traditional route, we’d still recommend a quick chat to iron out any potential hiccups. For example, it’s become increasingly common for couples to omit words like “obey” from traditional vows.
1. Reflect On Your Relationship
Make yourself a cup of tea, grab a notebook and find somewhere quiet to take some time to think about your relationship and the life you and your partner share. What made you fall in love with one another? What hard times have you helped one another through? What do you admire about them and how have they made your life better? What do you share and how do they balance you? Don’t worry about it being perfect at this stage – it’s all about the raw emotions!
2. What Promises Are You Making?
When you say your vows, you’re making promises to your partner. What will you promise to have a happy marriage? A good place to start is the traditional promises: loving, caring for and supporting your partner through thick and thin. Then think about what promises might be specific to you two as a couple.
3. Start Writing
Now you have some ideas, it’s time to put pen to paper! If you’re stuck, try following this simple wedding vow structure:
You could also turn your vows into a narrative, building them around the story of your relationship or another anecdote that defines who you are as a couple. But remember, your vows should only be a minute or two long. Keeping things short will make them easy to memorise – plus, you’ll want to save something for your speech too!
4. Write From The Heart
Be authentic to yourself and your relationship. If you’ve chosen to write your own personalised vows, it’s likely because you want them to truly reflect you and your partner. Don’t worry too much about what other people have done!
5. Remember The Audience
At the same time, don’t forget about the audience. This day is about you – but your friends and family are still there! Make sure they don’t feel shut out when they listen to you say your vows, so think twice before including overly intimate moments or in-jokes that no one else will understand.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
You want your vows to seem natural – but make sure you practise them at least once before your big day! Try saying them in front of a mirror or to a close friend, and make adjustments so that they sound like you, with no overly complicated or difficult sentences. You’ll also be able to get an idea of how long they take. Remember, they should only be a minute or two long – and while this sounds like not very long at all, it will feel like a lot longer on the day, especially with emotions running high!
2. Take Care Of The Little Things
When you write your vows out – and yes, you do need to, even if you think you’ve got them memorised! – make sure to do so on a clean sheet of paper or cue card. You don’t want a neon post-it note or the back of an envelope in your wedding photographs!
Just remember, as long as you write from the heart, your vows will be perfect – and guaranteed to bring a tear to every eye!