For us, it was never a question of whether or not we would write our own vows.. there’s just something so raw and beautiful about the public outpour of your heart to one another moments before “I do” that makes my knees weak and my heart skip a beat (and makes me blubber like a baby). But enough of my sappiness, this is a business post designed to vow write efficiently & effectively. So here we have it,
10 Tips to Writing Your Own Vows
- You do not have to write your vows with your significant other (actually I advise against it). You DO have to decide the tone of your vows together. How many ‘promises’ will you make to each other? How many words approximately do you plan on saying? Are you going to have a formal ‘I vow’ or use ‘I promise’ or something else? Will you be mentioning God/religion? There has to be some symmetry between the vows that should be discussed long in advance. My advice is to find 2-3 vow examples you like and read them over together. Discuss what you like and dislike so you can formulate a plan of action.
- Don’t wait. This is not a day of activity. Or a day before. Start jotting down ideas in the notes section of your phone months before the big day, then carve out an hour or two to sit down and write them a week before the wedding. Preferably somewhere solitary. (I made the mistake of writing mine at a boba tea store and I was dry-heave crying so violently that it caused quite the scene.)
- Once they’re written, use that week to practice reading the vows aloud. This is a great opportunity to get all of your ugly crying out of the way (didn’t work for me. blubbered at the altar). Also a lovely opportunity to memorize the vows a bit to give yourself a chance to look up for eye contact.
- Print the vows. I agree, hand written love notes feels incredibly more romantic, but you will thank me, and thank me again for this tip. Print the vows and paste them into your vow book. Try to use the least amount of pages possible to eliminate the dreaded fumbling of pages mid reading. And once they’re pasted in the book, make no changes. Scratches lead to illegible vows leads to panic at the altar.
- Funny is cute, but don’t overdo it. 1-2 lighthearted giggle-inducing vows are absolutely perfect, any more than that and your vows will lose the weight they’re intended to carry.
- Same goes for inside jokes. Save the weird world you’ve created with your other half for the private gift exchange letter. Your audience is so excited to share this special moment with you, don’t alienate them by droning on about your mutual obsession with talking like characters from obscure cartoon movies (just an example..).
- Make a mic plan at rehearsal with your officiant so you don’t get stuck juggling your vow book, flipping pages and holding the mic either touching your lips or down by your belly button.
- Start with a short story. Why do you love the person you’re about to marry is always a good start.
- Close your vows with one that ties everything together. I’m particularly partial to ones that commemorate the importance of the wedding day and how it symbolizes a new beginning. “From this day forward, I promise to… every single day for the rest of our lives”
- HOLD OFF ON THE KISS! This one is so incredibly difficult. But after your fiancé (for only literally like 2 more minutes!) says the world’s most heart warming things to you, it’s a natural impulse to want to kiss him/her. Hold off. Give a squeeze of the hand and wait until the end of the ceremony (homestretch now!) for the official “you may kiss the bride”!
Here is a copy of the vows I said on my wedding day. Please use them as inspiration if you’d like; it would be an honor to have parts of our vows live on in ceremonies to come.
I’ve admitted this to probably the majority of the people here, but I’ve always been too proud to tell you. When we’re together and someone asks our story, you and I usually share a laugh over my initial disdain for your head to toe Ed Hardy outfits, manicured eyebrows and bright yellow hummer. And while this is definitely true, if someone asks me when I’m alone how we fell in love, my story is quite different. The truth, Matthew Breliant, is that I was absolutely infatuated with you from the very first time I met you. You were beautifully mysterious and wildly unpredictable, and I was recklessly head over heels. There was something about you that was just so different and unique from anyone else I had ever met. I couldn’t put my finger on it and that enlivened me. I went home from our first date, dancing around my dorm room blaring a song on repeat you had played in the car and smiling so big that my cheeks were sore. That something about you? The thing that set my soul on fire? It hasn’t gone anywhere in these seven years, it’s just grown. You march to the beat of your own drum, you’re stubborn and finicky, indecisive and wildly irrational when it comes to time management, but you do it for me. All of you does it for me. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life trying to figure you out, only to be surprised by you every single day.
You are the kindest, most loyal and loving person I have ever met. I promise to always remind you how extraordinary you are.
I promise to tell you I love you as many times as I tell Shelly a day. Or close to it.
I promise to be your honorary decision maker for life. Yes even for the countless wardrobe changes and the struggle of picking a restaurant to eat at …and then the struggle of picking what to eat at that restaurant.
I promise to let you always be late, and factor in the “on Breilant time” grace period into our schedule.
I promise to push you to be the best version of yourself and always be your biggest fan and supporter, just as you have always done for me.
I promise to be your family. To build a beautiful life together filled to the brim with happiness, joy and unwavering love.
You said to me a few weeks ago when we were talking about our vows that it’s not fair because you know I’ve had mine written since I was a little girl. But that’s not true. Not even close. I never even dreamed of a wedding as a kid, and I certainly never thought about vows. But since that chilly day you proposed in the Boston Commons, I haven’t stopped writing them. Everytime I’m in traffic, or out for a run, or painting, I’ve been rehearsing what I was going to say today. I could have easily written a book of promises to you Matt. And another book on all the reasons why I am so madly deeply in love with you, and I promise to always keep writing new vows to you as our love changes and grows, from this day forward until the end of our lives.
I love you.