How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: Easy 10-Step Template & Guide

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: Easy 10-Step Template & Guide

There are honestly MANY ways of writing your own wedding vows and almost no way you do it will be the “wrong way.” As long as YOU’RE the one writing it and you’re speaking the truth (and it’s not 10 minutes long…), it’s going to be beautiful… trust me.

But I know that many people still torture themselves stressing out over their vows. And that’s because we’ve all put unnecessary high expectations of perfection on ourselves when it comes to vows — perfection that nobody else wants or expects. Your vows are simply a two-minute (ish) expression of love for your partner and a promise to continue doing your best to love them, through good times and bad.

So in this post, I’m going to give you a QUICK AND EASY 10-Step process and template for writing your own wedding vows. πŸ™‚ Plus, at the bottom of this post, I’ll give you an example vows that use this template. It’s gonna be GREAT!! Even if you hate writing, you can do it! And the best part: This can all be done in ONE HOUR.

That’s right. 60 minutes to get your perfect, beautiful, amazing vows written using this template and process, with little to no stress. All you have to do is commit to one hour and put everything else aside, including social media… for just that one hour.


Here’s the video I made on my YouTube Channel explaining the 10-Step vow-writing process! I have lots of videos on my YouTube discussing all sorts of wedding stuff — check it out! πŸ™‚

HOW LONG SHOULD MY WEDDING VOWS BE? The perfect length for wedding vows is about 3 minutes or less each. Short and sweet is always preferred to long and rambling.

Try to follow the time markers that I’ve set. Write in the time allotted and DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT! Concentrate on getting done, let the words flow out, and don’t worry about whether what you’re writing is “good” or not! That’s very important for getting in touch with your authentic feelings. Don’t think and fret too much. Just write within the time constraints! Okay, let’s do it!

*Note: You will have to read over this list first, before beginning writing your vows, so that you can prepare the “supplies” that you’ll need… then re-read when you’re ready to begin writing. GOOD LUCK!

Here is the 10-Step Template for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows in Just ONE HOUR (Followed By FULL explanations below):

  • Step 1: Set a Date
  • Step 2: Go on that Date and Set a Timer for ONE HOUR
  • Step 3: Discuss & Agree On Parameters/Rules: 10 Minutes
  • Step 4: Start Your Music Playlist and Get Writing
  • Step 5: Express Love for the Witnesses (1-2 Sentences): 10 Minutes
  • Step 6: Tell a Love Story (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes
  • Step 7: Express Love For Particular Qualities (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes
  • Step 8: Make Realistic Promises (4-6 Sentences): 10 Minutes
  • Step 9: Don’t Forget to Say “I Love You”
  • Step 10: Practice Out Loud

After reading this article, I highly recommend you also read my article on How to Create a Unique Wedding Ceremony and my 10-Step Guide on How to Write the Perfect Wedding Ceremony Script (with sample scripts) πŸ™‚


Step 1: Set a Date

This is important!! Step 1 is to set a date with your partner to get this task done. Discuss a date, agree on it (the date and the hour) and put it on the calendar for about one month before your wedding. Stay with me!

We set a date for almost every other wedding detail that we have to get done, including florals, the DJ, and a great number of other meetings we set with vendors and the venue… but we often leave the wedding vows, the HEART of our event, to the last minute. And that’s because we think it’s hard and so we avoid it!

But it doesn’t have to be something you dread. In fact, it can be FUN! Set a date to do something you love, just the two of you. It can be a dinner date, going out to a bar, taking a hike, a mini road trip …anything! Maybe even a night in a hotel or a romantic night at home. Something that you can look forward to doing together.

For this date, in addition to whatever other fun things you do, you’re going to set one hour devoted to writing your vows together — well, not exactly TOGETHER. Because you still want to keep your vows secret from each other until your wedding ceremony. But you’ll be physically in the same space for accountability and moral support!

Bring your lap tops, or notebooks and pens, and a positive attitude πŸ™‚


Step 2: Go On That Date & Set a Timer for ONE HOUR

Go on your date! Set aside your phones and any other distractions. If you have something on your mind nagging at you and you feel like you can’t concentrate, talk about what’s bothering you first before starting the timer for one hour.

Your mind should be as clear as possible — not thinking about work projects, family problems, things you have to get done, etc. etc… Try to be in a clear and positive state of mind before beginning.

And then set that timer for 60 minutes!


Step 3: Discuss & Agree On Parameters/Rules: 10 Minutes

For the first 10 minutes (or less), discuss with your partner the parameters and “rules” of your wedding vows. You can save some time by having this discussion before the day-of if you want.

Your vows will be a secret from each other so it’s a good idea to discuss expectations before jumping in. A lot of the anxiety of writing wedding vows comes from the negative thought of “I don’t know if mine will be as good as yours.” Agreeing on rules beforehand will let you know what to expect from each other and should give you some relief.

Here’s what you should agree on together:

  • Decide on the tone and mood that you want your vows to have. Do you want them to be funny, serious, romantic, sweet? A mixture of these emotions? Should we avoid sharing embarrassing stories and/or inside jokes, or are we okay with these things?
  • Decide on the length of your vows. Wedding vows should be no longer than 3 minutes per partner, or they start to drag on a bit too much. You can each agree to speak for about 2 minutes, or about 250-500 words (if you’re typing your vows).

    Or you can each stick to the template outlined in this post and your vows should be about the same length. Once you get to Step 10, it’s a good idea to have a third party read both sets of vows (or better, listen to both sets of vows) to ensure that they’re both about the same length.

Step 4: Start a Music Playlist and Get Writing

This is one thing you should remember to take with you on your date: a music playlist of songs that are special to you and your partner or that just make you think of your partner.

Ideally, you would each bring your own music/playlist. If you’re putting together a playlist or some songs for your wedding anyway, you can just use that!

It’s an optional step, but I wouldn’t skip it. Listening to music before or while you write your vows will put you in an optimal mood for writing these oh-so-special words! Press play and let’s get going… 50 more minutes!

It’s time to get writing! KEEP THESE TIPS IN MIND for the next steps:

  • You’re going to be able to read your vows. It’s perfectly acceptable and expected. So don’t bother or worry about memorizing them. This can lead to totally unnecessary stress on your wedding day! Not to mention, freezing and rambling. Just read! It’s okay.
  • Be yourself and use language that you would normally choose. Some people try to be too formal, or crack too many jokes, or just generally be someone who they usually aren’t. Try to just write/speak in a way that feels natural to you.
  • If you’re getting married in a particular religious or cultural tradition, talk to your officiant beforehand and ask what’s expected in terms of vows. Can you even write your own vows? Can you incorporate your own vows into the traditional vows?
  • In some states/provinces, you have to say specific words in your vows to be legally married. Find out on your local government website if there are particular words you must say during your vows, and see if you can then incorporate your own vows into this procedure.
  • Finally, talk to your officiant about vows that they’ve heard in the past that worked well and get inspired by vows online and from YouTube videos. You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel, but don’t copy vows directly from the internet either… because they won’t sound like you. And the whole joy of writing your own vows is the personalization that they add to your wedding ceremony.

Step 5: Express Love for the Witnesses (1-2 Sentences): 10 Minutes

The idea is to start your vows with a sentence or two, or a phrase that welcomes and expresses love for your guests who are present. By doing this, you invite everyone into your vows right from the beginning and make them feel recognized and special for being a part of this moment.

So you could begin by saying something like, “[NAME], I’m marrying you here today in front of our closest friends and family, people who have been part of our journey in one way or another throughout our lives… and I’m so happy to have everyone here with us today…”

Some variation of this sentiment realllllyyy lets everyone present feel seen and draws them into the moment even more.


Step 6: Tell a Love Story (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes

Next, you’ll take about 15 minutes to write 4-6 sentences summarizing a “love story” of some kind between you and your partner. Some ideas include:

  • How you two first met
  • When you first knew that you loved your partner
  • A hard time that you got through together
  • A funny story from a vacation, school, work, or everyday life together

Describe what happened, and then how you FELT in those moments. In about 4-6 sentences! We humans love stories of any kind… we’re just designed that way! Stories resonate with us and stick in our memories.

So tell a story, very briefly, but with specific details (generalities are more boring and forgettable) and don’t forget to say how you felt.


Step 7: Express Love For Particular Qualities (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes

In this step, you’ll express love for your favorite characteristics about your partner, in about 4-6 more sentences. What do you love about them? Their sense of humor, courage, passion? Examples:

  • I love how you…
  • I love that you…
  • You’ve always been…
  • It’s amazing to me that you…
  • etc.

Ideally, you would keep an ongoing note in your phone (or wherever) jotting down ideas whenever they pop into your head. And then you can just add those ideas to this part of your vows!


Step 8: Make Realistic Promises (4-6 Sentences): 10 Minutes

Now you’ll take about 10 minutes to write 4-6 sentences making promises to your partner. These are vows after all! In this part, you’ll simply write some of the things that you intend to do in your marriage.

Some should be light and cute (I promise to try and remember to unload the dishwasher… haha) and some more serious and romantic… but REALISTIC.

I suggest making these promises realistic because lofty or hyperbolic vows ring as phony and only lead to disappointment when they’re inevitably unfulfilled. You want to make your wedding vows promises that you can actually keep.

I recommend that you also promise to continue revisiting these promises every day, recognizing that today is not the only day that you have to make these vows.


Step 9: Don’t Forget to Say “I Love You”

This maybe seems obvious but it gets forgotten. Saying “I love you” to your partner during your vows is a good idea πŸ™‚


Step 10: Practice Out Loud

Now you have your vows written! In an hour or less! Congratulations! And if you stayed within the writing constraint, that’s GREAT because it means you didn’t think too much… you just wrote what you felt without trying to be too perfect… and that’s PERFECT!

Some people like to write several drafts and rework their writing. There’s plenty of time for that if you want, because you’ve written your vows one month in advance! So if you’re unhappy with the first draft, don’t worry. There’s time to make it better. But at least you now have something to work with. And as you practice, you’ll realize whether or not your vows are too long (more than 3 minutes) and to shorten them by cutting out some sentences.

The last step is for you to PRACTICE YOUR VOWS ALOUD. You can say them to yourself, or even better — to a trusted friend. AND EVEN BETTER if that trusted friend can hear both you and your partner’s vows and give you guys the green light that they both work well together in tone and length.

Practicing, despite what some people may think, doesn’t make your vows sound less authentic. It just makes you feel more confident when you’re reading them on your wedding day. Strange emotions can surprise and come out of you during a time such as this and so you want to have felt those words come out of your mouth before the day of… just to get the jitters out at least a little bit. And also so you’ll have an idea of whether you’re going to get choked up!

VOW TIPS FOR MULTILINGUAL COUPLES

If you happen to be in a relationship that is bilingual or multilingual, and plan on having guests that only speak one of the two or more languages, vows can be more complicated. There are some creative ways of getting around this.

At my sister-in-law’s wedding, for example, one of them said their vows in French, one in English and then one of the readings was in Spanish. So all guests present at least understood part of the ceremony.

Another idea is to say your vows in whatever language you each feel most comfortable in (or just want to use) and then print your vows in the other common language and give out these little printed cards to each of your guests so that they can follow along no matter what language they speak.


Example Vows (Using the 10-Step Template)

Now that you’ve read about how to write your own vows, I’ll give you an example of what these vows might look like. This example uses the template described in detail above (Steps #5-9):

  • Step 5: Express Love for the Witnesses (1-2 Sentences): 10 Minutes
  • Step 6: Tell a Love Story (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes
  • Step 7: Express Love For Particular Qualities (4-6 Sentences): 15 Minutes
  • Step 8: Make Realistic Promises (4-6 Sentences): 10 Minutes
  • Step 9: Don’t Forget to Say “I Love You”

Use this example vow for inspiration, but write your own — obviously– so that they reflect you and your relationship:

EXAMPLE VOWS:

[NAME], I’m so excited that we can get married today in front of the people who mean the most to us in the world.

The minute I saw you on the subway on my evening commute, in your baggy hoodie and messy bun, with no make-up on, I knew I was in trouble. I fell in love with you in that very moment. Thankfully, you took a chance on a goofy, fumbling dude asking you out on such a romantic place as the DC Metro. On our first date, over a mountain of frozen yogurt, I looked into your eyes and knew in that moment that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.

You are the bravest person I know. You’re never afraid to try new experiences or grab at the chance to travel somewhere new. Your intelligence and wit challenges me and makes me excited each day to share new things with you. I love your kindness, humility, and your ability to turn every situation into a positive.

Today, on our wedding day, and every other day of our lives, I promise to love you and care for you. Even when we’re old and grey. I promise to try my best every day, not growing complacent in our love but always striving to nurture it. I vow to be there for you when times aren’t rosy and to be your partner in all things.

I love you.


Brittany

Brittany is a writer, teacher, and a graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She started the website Wayfaring Weddings as a way to share her research on affordable, eco-friendly, and less stressful approaches to wedding planning.