During a wedding ceremony, the vows are the most important moment. It's when two partners look into one another's eyes and promise to love and cherish one another for the rest of their lives. While some couples follow a script guided by their religion or culture, others opt to write their own—these brides and grooms use their own words to speak from the heart and say exactly what they want to about their partners.
While writing your own wedding vows can be meaningful, it can also be challenging. You might feel pressure to get your words to sound perfect, or you just have no idea where to begin (how do you sum up so many feelings into one short statement?). The good news is: There are places from where you can draw inspiration including literature, poetry, and even movies. There are also general topics you can insert into your vows.
Read on to learn 20 ideas for your wedding vows.
Use Passages from Religious Texts
Many religions including Judaism and Christianity have bibles that include stories about partnership and insights about love. If you feel connected to a particular religion consider drawing from these ancient texts. It is a good way to add spirituality and tradition to your vows.
Quote from Your Favorite Movie
When it comes to vows nothing is off-limit as long as it is appropriate and meaningful to you and your partner. If you have a favorite movie, consider quoting from it and explaining to your partner why you find it's important to your relationship. If it's a popular movie the crowd will also love it!
Turn to Classic Literature
Some of the world's greatest writers of all time from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens wrote about love. Browse your favorite classic novel and look for quotes and passages that sum up your feelings.
Use One Liners from Television Shows
Just like a movie, if you and your partner have a favorite television show it's acceptable, even charming, to weave it into your vows. Reference a character or a scene that you cherish and make you and your loved one smile.
Reminisce About How You Met
Nothing is more romantic than talking about how you met. You can even thank whatever brought you together from a dating app to a mutual friend to a chance run-in. It is also a fun way for friends and family to learn more about your love and history.
Share the Moment You Fell in Love
Look your partner in the eye and tell him or her the exact moment you knew you were in love. When did you know this was your forever person?
Make Promises for the Future
Vows are essentially promises that one person makes to another. Tell your partner what he or she can expect from you in the future. Will you cherish and respect him or her? Do you promise to support his or her dreams and aspirations? Be explicit about what kind of a partner you will be.
Tell Your Partner Why You Want to Marry Him or Her
Tell your partner why you are standing at the altar in the first place. Why is this person—out of all the people in the world—the one you want to be with?
While this is a serious moment, it's ok to lighten the mood and tell jokes (as long as they are appropriate!). It will be fun to make your spouse-to-be laugh during your big moment.
Read from Past Correspondence
Dig up old texts, emails, or even online dating messages and read them out loud. You can also recite from cards or gifts you gave each other throughout your relationship.
Make a List of Things You Love
Vows don't have to be elaborate or fancy. It can be powerful to simply read off a list of all the things you love about your partner.
Talk About What You Love to Do Together
From this moment you will spend the rest of your life together. Tell your partner what activities you love doing with him or her and what you can't wait to do more of as your life progresses. This can be as exotic as traveling the world or as simple as going grocery shopping.
Tell Your Partner What Inspires You about Him or Her
Ask yourself what inspires you about this person you are marrying. What makes you go wow or helps you be a better person? Say those thoughts out loud in your vows.
Define Your Partner
You can call your partner your best friend, your better half, the yin to your yang, your soul mate. Define what your partner means to you.
Open with a Story
Sometimes the best way to explain a relationship is by telling a story—this can be any significant moment in your relationship.
Share Your Vision for the Future
This is the official start of your married life together. Share with your partner what you envision for the future. You can say things like, "I can't wait to start a family with you" or "I can't wait to support you as you build your dream business." You can also talk about what you hope from your day-to-day life by saying something along the lines of, "I can't wait to have coffee with you every morning."
Recite Song Lyrics
If there are song lyrics that sum up your love perfectly or that are special to you, as a couple, recite them (or sing them!) on your big day.
Share a Poem
Vows don't have to follow a specific structure. If making a speech doesn't come easy to you, try reciting a poem. This can be one that you wrote or one that you found and cherish. There are no rules so get creative.
Including Wording from Traditional Vows
The Internet is full of examples of more traditional vows, some that brides and grooms have been saying for centuries. While you don't have to say those vows word for word, you can borrow phrases from them that resonate with you.
Set Goals as a Couple
You can use your vows as an opportunity to set goals as a couple. That can be anything from buying a house to always communicating lovingly and clearly.