Making a promise to your partner on the day you marry is one of life’s most important moments.  If you are like many other people today who are getting married without any religious ties or custom-related restrictions – then writing your own vows can be both scary and exciting!

If you are thinking about writing your own ceremony words, rather than exchanging traditional wedding promises with your partner during the ceremony, knowing exactly what to say and when can be a bit daunting.

I’ve compiled some tips for how best to approach this task with ideas and tips on how to pull off an unforgettable ceremony.

Wedding vows are the promises you make to your partner during your wedding ceremony. Naturally, every couple wants them to be heartfelt, romantic, and meaningful so there’s a lot of pressure to get them right! Whether you choose to go with tried and tested traditional wedding vows or something contemporary and modern, choose to write your own or hire a professional to write them for you, the important thing to keep in mind is who the vows are for. Your vows aren’t written to impress your wedding guests, it’s about telling the person you love how you feel and making commitments to each other regarding your future life as newlyweds and beyond. The promises you exchange on your wedding day should come from the heart and there’s no better way to ensure that they are meaningful than by writing them yourself.

Ensure that you give the vows you’ll say to one another the time and attention they deserve and don’t leave them until the last minute! It’s good practice to start them at least a month or more before the big day. It can sometimes be a process and may need you to revisit a draft with fresh eyes a couple of times before you are totally happy.

If you are committed to writing your own vows, follow this helpful guide.

1. Start Early and Get Everything Out of Your Mind

As already mentioned, it is not a great idea to save the writing of your vows until the morning before the wedding.  Many couples find that they write a few versions before they finally settle on the ones that feel right for each other. It may help you to sit somewhere quiet and start to jot down a few ideas. Don’t worry about forming complete sentences right now and look at this exercise purely as a starting point that will evolve into what you do say on your ceremony day.

Here are some questions that will help you to get started and give you an idea of what to say to one another.

How & when did you first meet?

When did you realise they were “the one”?

What little details make you smile when you think of your other half?

Why are you getting married?

What does marriage mean to you?

Why do you make a great team?

What promises do you want to make to one another that will make for a happy marriage?

Revisit this exercise a few times as you get more and more comfortable with writing down your emotions. It becomes easier the more you do it and you’ll start to see parts that naturally connect together to become your vows.  The reason that you’re writing your own vows is to make them personal – so don’t rush to decide what you want to say.

2. Research and Read Plenty of Examples

Research and read examples of other vows exchanged on wedding days.  This will give you an idea on the format and length they should be.  Narrow down the sort of style you like and don’t like, for example, you may decide to say your vows in the form of a poem.

Look for examples of other wedding vows both real and fictional, for inspiration.  You could ask friends, look on the internet, watch some romantic movies or hit Netflix to see how your favourite TV show writers and directors write the vows for one another.  You may have a particular quote from a film or TV show that you wish to include – perhaps okay this with your other half in advance.  Just because you may be a die-hard fan of a particular show the sentiment of any words will probably be lost if they aren’t even aware of it.

Talk to your partner to ensure that you are creating vows of approximately the same length.  You will likely wish to not hear each other’s vows until the wedding day, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t create a guide to stick to so that they complement one another’s on the day.  Think about the tone of your words, there’s a fine line between being funny and distracting from the meaning of the ceremony.  The general rule is to avoid anything that could make your partner feel sensitive or embarrassed but it’s best to set a tone so that your vows complement one another’s.  Similarly, talk to one another about words that you don’t want to include, for example, ‘obey’.

3. Practice Aloud

Just as you will be practising any speeches that you may be doing at your wedding reception, take some time, ideally in front of someone like a trusted friend to say your vows ahead of the big day.  You don’t want your wedding day to be the first time you’re saying your vows out loud.  Nerves will likely be running high on the wedding day, but adequate practice ahead will ensure you feel more comfortable on the day.  Reading your vows aloud and practising will also ensure you put in enough pauses and read at the correct speed.  You can ask a trusted friend or parent to listen to your vows to ensure they are perfect.

Tips from The Experts

“Try not to worry about what others might think!  Your vows are for you and your partner, not your guests, so feel free to be yourself and say what feels right for you, however quirky it may be.”
Kelly Vaughan-Clinkscale, Wildflower & Willow, Scottish Borders Bespoke Floral Designer

“Don’t leave writing your vows until the last minute and practice reading them out loud too.  What seems like a huge page of promises may only be 35 seconds long in reality.”
Karina O’Donnell, Independent Wedding Celebrant Kent, Simply Ceremonies,

“Don’t be afraid to be funny!  Romance and love doesn’t need to be straight-laced, your vows are about you as a couple and not every couple is the swooning, romantic type!”
Kara Lees, Luxury Venue Stylist, Warwickshire.  We’ve Got it Covered.

“Be true to yourself – write in your own words and phrase things the way you usually would say them; don’t feel that you have to use formal language – that’s one of the reasons you’re writing your own vows, after all!”
Tanya Jones, Perfect Promises, Sussex-based Independent Wedding Celebrant.