Photography, Wedding Planning, Weddings

3 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Minnesota Wedding Photographer

Couples often recite their wedding vows, then promptly forget them. But why can’t your vows be a touchstone throughout your marriage? Whether you’re celebrating the good stuff or hitting a rough patch, those vows matter. Refer to them often, do regular check-ins, and remember why you’re doing life together. Ask yourselves, “Are we living these vows fully?”

For our June 2013 wedding, we wrote our own vows. This ended up being the greatest, most rewarding challenge of marriage planning (notice how I said “marriage planning” and not “wedding planning.” Big difference!). Read on for three vow-writing tips. At the bottom, I’ll share our vows too!

1. Keep it simple.

Good communicators know how to keep things succinct. If there’s one thing I learned from an early writing career, it’s “Edit, edit, edit.” Don’t be afraid to hit the delete button. This may sound terribly unromantic, but simplicity is key. You want these vows to mean something. In order to withstand the years, they must be short, sweet, and clear. And although your vows should be relevant to you as a couple, they needn’t be full of anecdotes & private jokes (your officiant can share those during your ceremony, if you so choose). As for the vows themselves? Keep ’em simple.

2. Keep them realistic & attainable.

Your vows should challenge & encourage you in equal measure. They need to set the bar high, yet still be attainable. In your relationship, what do you each need to work on? Think long-term. For me, it’s letting go of perfection. I want to cultivate more patience, more comfort with healthy risks. So instead of saying, “I will love you forever and ever and ever,” we opted for something more realistic: “I promise to have faith in our marriage, especially when the road is rough.” Because there will be rough times! Your vows can act like glue when road bumps present themselves.

3. Write them together.

“But Bailey, that takes the romance and spontaneity out of it!” I totally know where you’re coming from. I was in the same camp when my fiancé & I first talked vows. I wanted to write them separately, while he wanted to write them together. Although I felt comfortable writing solo, he preferred the team approach. So we compromised, choosing a hybrid of the two options: While similar in structure, our vows had slight differences applying to each of us — our strengths, weaknesses, things we wanted to work on. Because of this, our vows were surprisingly poetic & cohesive, while still being intensely personal to each of us. By taking a team approach, our vows were stronger for it.

 

OUR VOWS

Minnesota Wedding Photographer

Although these vows are unique, they’re not entirely from-scratch. Some lines allude to favorite quotes, while others use wording that truly speaks to us (by the way, we definitely Googled “writing your own vows,” which was a great tool for getting inspired!). In any case, we tweaked & customized. My parting piece of wisdom: Draw from what inspires you as a couple, then make it your own!

Hers:

“I promise to be your beer-drinking buddy, your spellchecker, your steadfast friend.

I promise to be patient with you as we adjust to new altitudes.

I promise to be openhearted & honest with you, even if I am afraid.

I promise to hold you (and myself) to a standard of grace, not perfection.

I promise to have faith in our marriage, especially when the road is rough.

I promise to take risks with you & never settle for less than what we both deserve.

I will carry you in my heart and share our life & dreams together.”

 

His:

“I promise to be your hiking buddy, your Mr. Fix-It, your steadfast friend.

I promise to encourage you as we climb mountains together, without forcing the way.

I promise to pay attention, give you time, and listen to the things you say, along with those you don’t say.

I promise to love who you are now and who you will become.

I promise to hold fast in our marriage, especially when the seas are rough.

I promise to support you & never settle for less than what we both deserve.

I will carry you in my heart and share our life & dreams together.”

 

Any tips I missed? Be sure to note them in the comments below!

All images (except ring image) by the talented Gina Zeidler

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