How To Write a Vow In 5 Simple Steps

Writing your wedding vows can be tough to know where to get started. Learn how to write a vow in this article.

When you imagine standing in front of your family and friends on your wedding day, ready to pledge your love for the rest of your life to your best friend and partner, it can be tough to imagine what you’d say. While some people choose traditional wedding vows, many are now writing more personal vows that allow them to inject some personality into their wedding, making the promises they know matter most to their soon-to-be spouse.

You’re not alone if you’re struggling with writing your vows. Figuring out what to say during your wedding vows can be one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning. For example, it can be tough to decide whether to include inside jokes (since your loved ones in the audience won’t understand them). You might also wonder whether it makes more sense to use funny or religious wedding vows, whether you should tell your entire love story while your family members and close friends listen in, or if you should keep it short and sweet.

While we can’t tell you exactly what to say to your significant other when standing in front of the altar, we can help you get started. Here, we’ve gathered what you need to know to write your vows (even if writer’s block currently has you at a standstill.

Materials Needed

When you’re writing your wedding vows, you’ll first need to set aside some quiet time where you can think about precisely what you’d like to say to your spouse. You’ll also need a notebook or a computer, a pen, and perhaps some photos of you and your spouse together so you can take your time and reminisce on all the fun times you’ve had together over the years.

A Step-by-Step Ultimate Guide To Writing Your Wedding Vows

Writing your wedding vows can be fun and exciting, but it can be tough to figure out precisely what you want to say to your beloved in front of your guests and your officiant at your wedding ceremony. So don’t leave your vow writing until the last minute on your big day–getting your vows done ahead of time gives you the time you need to go back, revise, and make your vows as perfect as they can be for your wedding ceremony.

Step 1. Consider What You Want to Say

How To Write a Vow: Think it out
Set aside an afternoon to write your vows at least a few weeks before your wedding

When you’re tied up in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, it can be easy to put off your vows, constantly thinking that you’ll get to them another time. But, after all, you love your spouse-to-be, and it isn’t tough to think about everything you want to promise them as you begin your lives together. However, thinking about the things you want to promise and saying them out loud can be quite different.

It can be tempting to “wing it” when it comes to your wedding vows, but doing so doesn’t usually work out well. Even though speaking off the cuff means that what you’re saying is coming from the heart, it can be hard to piece your thoughts together when you’re nervous or not used to standing in front of a crowd. Set aside an afternoon to write your vows at least a few weeks before your wedding.

If your vow writing goes smoothly and you’re happy with how it turned out, you’ll have one more item removed from your pre-wedding to-do list. On the other hand, if the writing does not go as planned, you’ll have plenty of time to solidify your vows (or decide to go with traditional wedding vows instead).

Step 2. Write Important Points

When you sit down to figure out what you’d like to say in your vows, you’ll want to write down the important points of what you’d like to say. Perhaps you know you want to include your spouse’s children as a part of your vows, or you’d like to mention an interest that you both share.

If there’s a value near and dear to your spouse’s heart (such as honesty or loyalty), you may want to include this in your list of key points. Of course, you can always return to your key points and add more or take away some ideas later. The goal of writing down your main points is to create a framework from which you can write the rest of your vows.

Step 3. Add Anecdotes

Once you have the main points of your vows written down, you’ll want to begin to flesh your vows out by including language, stories, or jokes that are important to you. If you’d like to keep your vows to the point and simple, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Many couples who choose to write their vows enjoy adding personal touches that make it clear that the vows were written specifically for the other person. It’s up to you whether you’d like to include inside jokes in your vows. Some couples enjoy doing this, while others feel that inside jokes are best left in a card you give to your spouse before the ceremony.

While your wedding is undoubtedly your big day, it’s also a celebration for your guests to enjoy. It can be challenging for guests to fully celebrate your love when they don’t understand your vows. Try not to give into the temptation to write a book-long set of vows. Instead, your vows should tell your spouse how much you love them, detail the promises you’ll keep during your marriage, and tell them that you’re committed to your life together.

There will be plenty of time during the reception to reminisce on stories and plans for your future–if your vows are more than a minute or two long, there’s a good chance that your guests will stop hanging on every word.

Step 4. Ask For Help

If you feel comfortable, read your vows out loud for the first time to a close friend (before you read them out loud to your spouse). Hearing your words aloud can help you find any awkward places in your vows and help ensure you convey the message you want to your future spouse.

Reading your vows out loud can also help you practice how you’ll want to read them on the big day, finding points of emphasis. It can be fun to surprise your spouse with your vows on the day of your wedding, and it’s smart to ensure your spouse is comfortable with that before you walk down the aisle. If your spouse gets easily choked up or is unsure of what to say in their vows, you may prefer to go over them together before the day of your wedding ceremony.

Step 5. Step Away, Then Proofread

After you’ve finished your vows, take some time away from them. Resist the temptation to keep reading them over and over. Instead, take a day away from your vows and reread them. You’ll likely find better wording for some ideas or more you’d like to add before the big day.

Check out our guide of proofreading tips

Tips For Writing Vows

  • Give yourself plenty of time to write your vows. Finding the perfect words to say to your future spouse can be tricky.
  • Remember, you don’t just have to go with funny, religious, or romantic–combining these different types of vows can be fun and unexpected.
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when writing your vows. Your spouse will appreciate your vulnerability and will be appreciative of your honest words.

Examples

If you’re looking for funny inspiration for your wedding vows, take a look at these examples:

  • If you promise to kill the spiders, I’ll promise to make your lunch. If you take out the trash (and the dog at night), I will make the bed. And if you love me, I will love you.
  • I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and health, until death does we part or you turn into a zombie. Because then we’re going to have to start seeing other people.
  • I want your worst—give me your bad hair days, your long commutes, your burnt coffee, lost keys, splashed shoes, annoying coworkers, lost receipts, and broken copiers. Give me your every day, and I will give you my love to make it alright.
  • I promise to love you as much as the Chicago Cubs and not hold your black-and-white striped dress against you. From this day forward, I will listen to your complaints about the mall if you say them during the off-season and promise to retire my baseball cap and face paint for public outings. I will love you in sickness and health from this day forward until death parts us, or you become a White Sox fan.
  • I vow not to take any of your less pleasing habits personally, even though I wish you would put the keys back on the key hook and not leave your shoes in the middle of the hallway, and I love you.
  • I vow to be your spell checker and grammar friend and tell you when things need hyphens. I promise to be your exercise partner, even if I am much faster than you, and most of all, I promise to try things, even though I am sure I will not like them, just because you say, “try this!”

Looking for something more religious? Take a look at these vows:

  • I love you; I prayed God would lead me to his choice. And I praise Him that tonight His will is being fulfilled. Through the pressures of the present and uncertainties of the future, I promise my faithfulness to follow you through all of life’s experiences as you follow God, that together we may grow in the likeness of Christ and our home be a praise to Him.
  • I take you, with all your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with all my faults and strengths. And I will help you when you need help and turn to you when I need help. So I choose you as the person I will spend my life with.
  • I love you, _____, and I know God has ordained this love. Because of this, I desire to be your husband. Together we will be vessels for His service in accordance with His plan so that in all areas of our life, Christ will have pre-eminence. Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you. I promise to love, guide, and protect you as Christ does His Church and as long as we are alive. According to Ephesians 5 and with His enabling power, I promise to endeavor to show you the same kind of love as Christ showed the Church when He died for her and to love you as a part of myself because, in His sight, we shall be one.

Opting for something that thoughtfully conveys your love to your partner? Check out these examples:

  • I believe you have been my best guide through this journey called life. You have shown me what it means to love. You have directed me down paths I did not know existed. Through our adventures, we discovered beautiful waterfalls and fields of wildflowers. We have fought rapids and turbulent waters and came out the other side victorious and stronger than before. I look forward to holding your hand through all the adventures to come.
  • A rainbow occurs naturally when the Earth is in perfect harmony. A precise combination and balance between sunshine and rain create a prism of colors perfectly painted in a half-circle across the sky for all to enjoy. Finding a rainbow is not easy. I like to think of our love as a rainbow that brightens our lives and has a lasting impression on those who witness it.
  • Today, we begin our lives together. I promise to be your faithful (wife/husband) before our families and friends. I choose to live with you as your lover, companion, and friend, loving you when life is peaceful and painful during our successes and failures. I support your strengths and accept your weaknesses. I will honor your goals and dreams, always trying to encourage your fulfillment. I will strive to be honest and open with you, sharing my thoughts and life. I promise to love and cherish you from this day forward.

FAQs About How to Write a Vow

What are the 3 types of vows?

Generally, wedding vows fit into three categories: a qualities pledge, a vow pledge, and a mixed qualities-pledge vow. A qualities pledge is an outpouring of love for your spouse-to-be, while a vow pledge tells them what you plan to do to support and love them throughout your life journey together. A mixed qualities-vow pledge is a combination of the two. If you and your partner decide that you’re not going to share your vows until the ceremony, you might want to discuss which approach makes the most sense for you so that your vows to one another flow nicely.

How do you know how long your vow needs to be?

It’s up to you to decide how long you’d like your vows to be. Generally, most vows take about a minute to read. After you’ve written your vows, it’s a good idea to read them aloud with a timer to see how much time in the ceremony you’ll need to set aside for your vows. While reading your vows in front of your wedding guests, you’ll want to be sure to slow down and read them. It’s natural to speed up when you’re nervous, but doing so can make it hard for your guests and partner to understand everything you have to say fully.

What is the difference between a vow and a pledge?

Often, the terms vow and pledge are used interchangeably. A vow is a term more typically associated with weddings, but it’s OK to use the word pledge if that’s what the couple prefers.

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