How To Write Really Good, Meaningful Wedding Vows

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tips for writing wedding vows

How To Write Really Good, Meaningful Wedding Vows

Some really insightful tips on how to make your vows memorable, solid, and romantic!

                                      

                                      

 

This may be an unpopular opinion, but we here at Kadlee believe that the vows are THE most important part of a wedding.

Not the dress. Not the location. Not the food, or cake. Not the family or friends, even, although that's a really important part too.

The vows are the reason the wedding is happening.

                                         

 

The vows, which so often today get pushed back to be almost an afterthought in the planning, are what you are promising to each other for the rest of your whole lives. The vows are words, powerful words you're going to speak in front of the most important people who know you. They're the words that are going to tie you together, the promises that are going to sustain you and keep you together in the hardest times when you feel like you just can't do it anymore, or when life is throwing you a million curveballs, or when the initial lovey-dovey feelings have faded and there's no more wedding to plan - there's just life to do, and vows. 

Traditional vows are ALWAYS a good idea. After all, it's hard to improve on "I, {name}, take you, {name}, to be my wedded {husband/wife}, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, till death do us part. I pledge myself to you." 

But if you want to add a personal touch, and if words are important to you, you and the love of your life totally have the option of adding your own wedding vows before or after the traditional wedding vows, or replacing the traditional wedding vows with ones that you've written yourselves. 

As romantic as your intentions may be, it can be hard to know where to start when writing your own! Here are some of the best tips we can give for writing good wedding vows:

 

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Give yourself plenty of time to practice, and actually do it. 

 

Like we said, the vows shouldn't be the last and least important wedding detail you plan - treat them with respect! We recommend beginning your first draft about 4-6 weeks before the big day. That way, you have enough space and time to write them meaningfully, and then practice them. You need to practice them out loud, just like you would a speech or any other important presentation, ESPECIALLY if public speaking isn't your thing. Practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself is highly recommended, so you can see and hear yourself the way that other people will! 

 

Include your partner in the discussion. 

 

Before you even start writing, have a conversation with your future spouse about what the vows are going to be like. It's going to be awkward if neither of you coordinate, and one prepares a short and hilarious anecdotal speech with less emphasis on your future while the other prepares lengthy, teary, heartfelt words of forever. Also remember that these are promises that you are making to each other, and there may be some specific words your partner needs to hear from you at the altar that you may not have realized needed to be spoken. What promises are you two agreeing to? What's going to be the tone of your vows? Is there anything they don't want you to say? Communication is key to marriage, and this is one of the most important wedding details to communicate about. 

 

Visualize the moment. 

 

The more prepared you are, the better. Scientific studies show that visualizing a scenario can help you react more confidently when you are actually in the moment - so when you're writing/practicing your vows, picture yourself standing there, in your finest attire, at your venue, in front of all your family and friends. This will help with your delivery! 

 

Speak directly to your partner, but remember you have an audience. 

 

This is key - you want your vows to be personal, as they should be. You don't need to address the audience, so don't talk in third person at any point in your vows. You need to address your person, your love. You're making promises to them, and you need to speak to them. But you also should be mindful that you DO have an audience, even if you're not talking to them. This is not just another intimate conversation with your future spouse, so be careful! Any inside jokes that aren't obvious to the crowd, any stories that no one knows about, any inappropriate memories, basically anything cryptic or embarrassing - anything too deeply personal - shouldn't be shared at this time. 

 

Take time to reflect. 

 

We know wedding planning is busy, but don't try to write vows when you're doing a million other things or have deadlines on your mind. Take an evening, or even like, a couple hours one evening, and get alone by yourself. Jot down ideas, look at pictures of your relationship to bring back memories, and read stuff you've written each other in the past (letters, texts) to get the inspiration flowing.

 

Ask yourself key questions. 


If you have no idea where to start, feel like you might be missing something when you finish your first draft, or are looking to include something sweeter than what you currently have on the paper, ask yourself the following questions, and use that as a starting point/checklist. 

  • Why am I marrying this person?
  • What makes our relationship special?
  • How can I serve this person for the rest of your lives - how can you be better, and love them well?
  • What can't your partner live without?
  • Where will your future take you?
  • What can you promise to only them?
  • When did you know for sure?
  • What do you think other people should vow to each other?
  • How to couples in healthy marriages you admire demonstrate love to each other?
  • Where are places you will inevitably fail, and how can you acknowledge your weaknesses while still making promises?
  • What is the purpose of your marriage?
  • What can't your partner live without?
  • Where will your future take you?
  • What can you promise to only them?
  • When did you know for sure?
  • What do you think other people should vow to each other?
  • How to couples in healthy marriages you admire demonstrate love to each other?
  • Where are places you will inevitably fail, and how can you acknowledge your weaknesses while still making promises?
  • What is the purpose of your marriage?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and not every answer will be spoken aloud, but it can help you get creative and remember key things that do need to be included. 

 

Remember the purposes of vows. 

 

Vows are, first and foremost, promises. We're often surprised at how many couples take this moment and use it to tell sweet stories or things they love about their partner...that's nice, and romantic, but it's not vows. Don't forget that the purpose of you saying these things is to promise certain things to your partner, to pledge yourself to them, to speak a foundation that will last you til death do you part. Cute stories aren't going to be that powerful. But promises are. And if you're writing your own vows, the promises need to be personal and specific, things that you both care deeply about. Don't just take this time to rewrite traditional vows in different words - make it your own!

 

Acknowledge reality. 

 

Maybe you read the above tip and gulped a little bit, thinking that this could possibly be more heavy than you expected from this article (welcome to marriage). But people aren't perfect, and hopefully the person you're marrying knows this about you. Avoid lofty and overly sentimental promises that you're not going to be able to keep....they sound cheesy, and they're not going to happen. Everyone fails, so keep your promises realistic, small enough to actually uphold yet challenging and big enough that they will keep a marriage together, and that you can't keep them without the love and support of your partner, your community, and (if you believe in God), God's help. And acknowledging the times when you may mess up actually makes for very meaningful wedding vows. Everyone appreciates authenticity. 

 

Read/watch examples - get inspired!

 

The internet is your BEST friend! Google wedding vows, YouTube videos of wedding vows, and hunt down examples from real couples and real weddings. Take notes on what you like and don't like. Ask friends and family members if they have copies of their vows that you can borrow and examine. Basically, if you need inspiration, go find it! It's a great idea to learn from other people. 

 

Keep it short and sweet. 

 

Your vows probably shouldn't be longer than two - three minutes, if that. Yes, they are the most important part of the wedding, but they don't need to be the lengthiest - as good writers and speakers know, clear and concise is always better than long and winding. 

 

Get feedback from a friend or family member you trust. 

 

Is there someone in your family who has a successful marriage, and who loves you but would be honest about how your vows come across? Do you have a friend who is great at making speeches or writing? Enlist them to help give you feedback on what you may have left out, or what you may have included that's unnecessary. Editing will make your vows better! You can also practice in front of that friend or family member to get nonverbal feedback, as well. 

 

Were any of these tips helpful? What do you think is the most important thing about wedding vows? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Follow us on social media or visit our website for more wedding planning inspiration. 

 

 

 

 

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