Ben was actually the first one to suggest we write our own vows. It didn’t surprise me necessarily (he’s the sweetest man alive), but I always thought I was going to have to talk my future spouse into the concept. Luckily for me, this was one of the easier decisions when it came to planning our day.
Implementing, however, wasn’t quite as easy.
We knew we wanted our vows to be a secret until our ceremony, but we wanted them to flow similarly. Which meant we had to figure out how to talk about our vows… without talking about our vows.
These guidelines we established together were SO helpful when it came to writing our vows.
1. Determine a structure
Will you write your vows together or separate? Will you read them to each other beforehand? If not each other, will you share them with a trusted family member or friend? Will your vows be written like a letter? A poem?
The answers to these are completely up to you! The important thing here is to be on the same page.
Ben and I chose to not share our vows with anyone (including each other) before our ceremony. We even wrote our vows in the same little booklet! (Pinky promise, neither of us peeked.) Most of our family couldn’t believe we had the self restraint not to read each other’s vows beforehand, but it came down to the fact that we both really wanted it to be a surprise.
2. Choose a tone for your vows
This one was THE most helpful for us and in my opinion, the most important. Before you begin writing, establish the overall tone of your vows. How do you want your vows to feel? Are they lighthearted and funny? Serious and sentimental? Emotional and heartfelt?
Choosing a tone will set you both on the right track for writing your vows from the same frame of mind.
If you choose to include humor, my only suggestion is to keep it encouraging. This is your vows after all! Call out the best in each other. Promise your best to them.
3. Make it personal
These can be silly things like including your partner’s favorite kind of cake, yes. But more than that, I mean think about WHO you are writing to.
What do you love about your partner? What makes your relationship unique? What promises do you want to make to them? What does marrying them mean to you?
4. Opt for a similar length
I’m not saying you need to set a word count here, but giving each other an idea of how long your vows are can be helpful. Don’t worry if they’re not exactly the same. But it may help to know if one person wrote 4 lines and another 4 pages. (I’m just saying maybe find a happy medium here!)
Often, we are wordy people, so no matter the length, I would suggest going back through your vows and cutting it down a little bit. Make sure you’re saying everything as succinctly as possible. You don’t have to be an amazing writer to write your own vows. Often, the most simple sentiments can be the most powerful.
5. Practice reading out loud
I feel like I’m going back to my high school English classes here, but I swear, it’s good advice! Practice reading your vows out loud, if not for your nerve’s sake, just to make sure it flows well. There’s no need to memorize, here. But practice enough so you feel comfortable looking at your partner when it comes time to read your promises.
And when the time comes, don’t rush it. Read your vows slowly. Take breaths. Look each other in the eyes. This is a moment you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Did you choose to write your own vows? I’d love to know your experience in the comments below!