Photo: Kayla Coleman Photography
Declaring your love for one another may seem easy — at least in the privacy of your own home. But if you've elected to write your own wedding vows, coming up with the write words to express just how you feel-in front of all your nearest and dearest-can be a daunting task. While we can't write the words for you, there are a few steps you can follow to make the writer's block go away:
Talk about your vows together.
One of the hardest parts about exchanging vows is worrying over how people will compare your words to your fiancé's. Were hers longer? Did he get more sentimental? Did she make everyone laugh? Did he make everyone cry?
Instead of considering vow writing a competition, get on the same page about your expectations. You don't have to share what it is you're going to say, but come to an agreement about the following:
- How long will the vows be — short and sweet? No more than three sentences? No more than one minute?
- Will you share inside jokes? Or would you rather keep things more generic?
- Do you want to incorporate elements of traditional or religious vows into your own?
Consider these starter questions — but don't hesitate to ask your significant other if you're stuck on anything else. Once you two have a game plan in mind, writing will be easier.
Find a quiet place to write, and surround yourself with memories.
Don't plan on writing your vows while your fiancé is in the other room with the TV blaring or when you have a work deadline on your mind. Find a time when your stress level is low and you can really spend a few quiet minutes thinking about your relationship. To help the ideas start flowing, consider propping pictures of you and your fiancé from throughout the relationship around your writing space as inspiration.
Start with a list.
Don't try to put everything into sentences right away. The first step to writing your vows should be creating a list. Jot down all the things you love about your fiancé, what you're looking forward to most in your marriage, and what promises you want to make to them as their future husband or wife. Set the list aside for a day or two, then go back and highlight your favorite items on the list. Use those as the starting point for your own vows.
Do your research — but don't get stuck on other people's words.
It's easy to go down the rabbit hole Googling wedding vows from your favorite movies, TV shows, and books. Sure, these exchanges can be great inspiration, but avoid copying them word-for-word. Using someone else's vows will make your exchange feel less genuine — and yes, people will notice. Your vows should be personal and reflect your own unique relationship — no one can describe your feelings for one another better than you. And don't get stuck comparing your vows to a TV show wedding either: Those actors had a team of writers and editors crafting the perfect tear jerker of a line for them!
Take a break.
Once you've made your list, done your research, and written your first draft, walk away. Take a few days — even a week — to give you and your vows some space. After you've taken time apart, go back and reread what you wrote. A little separation from your words will do a whole lot of good and allow for you to fix anything with a clear head. If needed, do this one or two more times. But after three times, stop. The bottom line is that you wrote from the heart, and continuously rewriting will drive you crazy! Don't put that pressure on yourself.
Don't wait until the last minute.
Plan to have your vows written at least three weeks before your wedding. This will give you time to write without the added pressure of the approaching day and also give you time to practice reciting your vows in front of the mirror. Trust us: You'll be thankful for the rehearsal when those wedding day jitters kick in!