Finally, Expert Advice on How to Write Your Wedding Vows
Wedding vows are one of the most sacred things about weddings, and while there was a time when it was tradition to stand up in front of your family and friends and speak your vows, times have certainly changed. Now, more and more couples are deciding to share a private moment before the ceremony where they declare their vows to one another. It’s intimate, romantic, and, well, pretty darn perfect. Plus, if you don’t want to do a first look, you don’t have to, you can merely stand back-to-back and read your vows. Alternatively, if you’re looking to do a first look or even first touch, you can still do your vows in that moment, too. Of course, tradition hasn’t totally gone out the window and there are still couples who choose to save their vows until ceremony, shared the moment when they say “I do”.
With all that, no wonder there’s so much pressure placed on writing your wedding vows. One of my BFFs no joke has their vows framed in their kitchen (you’d understand if you read the vows… let’s just say kitchen duties were part of her vows + she is pretty much the best darn chef ever so it was obvious 😉). But how do you *really* write vows? Is there a fill in the blanks sheet you can follow (what, it’s a reasonable question) and how far in advance should you really put the pen to the paper? Perhaps you’re not a wordsmith and know what’s in your heart but have no idea how to convey it (total Darcy from Something Borrowed vibes, just sayin’). That’s why we got with Katelyn Peterson from Katelyn’s Wedding Words to dish on *all* of it.
Traditional vs Non-traditional Vows
You can probably recite traditional vows right now. They include language like, “. . . to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life,” Peterson explains.
On the other hand, non-traditional vows are not your parent’s vows, they’re the more modern way. They involved opting to write your own vows using words you think best expresses what’s in your heart. This is where Peterson’s advice is key! So let’s dive right in.
The BTS of Writing Your Vows
Your wedding vows, Peterson recommends, should be between two to four minutes long. “The goal should be to convey everything that’s important, remove any superfluous details, and communicate your story in the most succinct way possible.”
When to Start
You may have heard your best friend, brother, or even sister didn’t sit down to write their vows until the night before, but that might not be the best idea. In fact, Peterson suggests you “start a month before the wedding. Many couples leave this task until the week or even the night before. Instead, give yourself time to keep revisiting your vows so you can edit them into something that is really representative of your love story.” …Not to brag or anything, but we told you so.
Editing & Reciting
“You should spend more time editing your vows than writing them. Editing is what turns a first draft into vows you’ll be confident to recite. Also, practice reciting your vows out loud several times before the big day.”
Let’s Start Writing Your Vows
When you’re staring at a blank page and have no idea what to write, you’re going to want some advice, so here goes, advice from Peterson:
Definitely include: “Promises! Many people write vows that detail why they love their new spouse. This is great for a section of your vows but the promises are what really make vows vows. So be sure to include three to six specific promises. I recommend varying the tone of the promises so that the majority are sweet and serious while a couple are more playful and humorous.”
Sentimental vs funny: “I recommend a balance of sweet and serious with some lighthearted humor throughout. Just be sure to stick to jokes that are fun and cute rather than cringe-worthy.”
Quotes (ya know from movies, songs, or books): “If you're going to include anything that isn’t custom-written, make sure that it’s a quote with deep significance to your relationship. Custom vows are an opportunity to personalize your feelings. If you choose a random love quote, your vows won’t feel as authentic. Instead, opt for a quote that really embraces who you two are and your unique love story.”
Inside jokes: “Inside jokes are tough! Your vows should be a true reflection of you two but you also want them to stand the test of time. So ask yourself — will this inside joke still be funny or meaningful decades from now? If not, perhaps leave that joke out of your vows and instead include it in a wedding day letter for your spouse.”
Photo courtesy of 28 North Photography
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