Writing your vows can feel like quite a bit of pressure. It's all your feelings, memories, and emotions for your person summed up on a piece of paper. How do you even begin to describe how you will vow to give your all for the years to come? As an elopement photographer, I actually get asked quite a bit how to write vows. So I figured a blog post would be a perfect place to give you my greatest tips.
Now, I am yet to be married, but I often think of what I will say to my partner when it's our time. However, I've heard quite a few personal vows over the last few years. Some are longer than others. They may add inside jokes or emotional details of their journey together.
But I guess the key takeaway out of everything that I'm going to tell you in this post is... make it feel you. There is no right or wrong way to write vows. You just want them to be imperfectly who you are, and how you generally talk to one another. Don't overthink it.
Except I get it. You want them to be perfect, and you don't want to miss anything. So below are some tips to write your vows, and even some starting points for you!
Step by step on how to write your vows
I am going to walk you through how to write your vows step by step. If this doesn't work for you, that's ok! I just wanted to give some guidance into the simple ways to write down your memories and share your love with your person. It will go something like the below, and keep scrolling for more information!
- Decide on the vibe (emotional, silly, both)
- Start piecing the brainstorm together
- How long do you want it?
- Practice practice practice
- Write them down one more time
STEP 1: Brainstorm
I think the best thing you could start off with is just brainstorming. Write down in a google doc or a piece of paper all the things you would want to say to your person. Don't even think, just write whatever comes to your mind. Continue adding to this for a few days, because things will definitely come up or pop into your head randomly!
Here are some ideas and things to think of to get you started:
- How did you feel about your partner when you first met? What was the first thing you noticed?
- What are some quirks that you have a love/hate relationship with?
- Do you two have any fun inside jokes?
- Do you remember the moment you knew you loved them?
- What's your favorite memory together?
- Is there a trip or adventure you had that changed your relationship?
- What are some things that you vow to always accept and love?
STEP 2: Decide on the vibe
Depending on the personality or who you two are together will dictate the type of 'vibe' you're going for. And by this I mean, do you want it to be emotional or silly? Or a mixture of both. I personally think having a good mixture is a perfect way to write your vows. When you say something that brings the emotions and a tear, follow up with something that will make them laugh or smile.
STEP 3: Start piecing your brainstorm together
Now that you have all the things you would want to say to your person along with the vibe you want to say it in, it's time to start putting it together. Generally you want to put all your thoughts into different paragraphs. It's kind of like when you were in school, each paragraph will have a special point of view. Break it up into sections: a beginning, a middle, and an end. I didn't really listen in school (LOL), but I do remember learning how the beginning and the end need to be the strongest. And that's the same thing with your vows.
- BEGINNING: This is the very start, so begin with something strong. This could be a memory of the two of you, or even something just about you. For example, "I remember the first time I met you", or "I remember when I was younger, I thought....". Again, there is no true right or wrong here, but this beginning will set the mood. So if you want them laughing, start with a silly memory. But if you want it to be mostly intimate and emotional, start with a personal story.
- MIDDLE: This is the part where you can express feelings, inside jokes or anything else you really want to include. Tell stories, the things you love about them and more. This section will probably be the longest. It's mainly to try and fit all the little things you want to make sure they know. It's a time where you can really be open and not hold anything back.
- ENDING: End with a bang! Just kidding. This is where you can end with your vows. Express how you intend on loving and supporting them. Don't make a promise here you can't keep. Say things that you truly mean, not just are going to sound good. Close your eyes and think of the life you really want to have together. This is how you should end and what they should remember from here on out.
STEP 4: How long do you want it?
This is something you may want to decide on together so neither of you feel guilty or wished you did it longer/shorter. Having a time that you are feeling good with can be important to making it special. I generally recommend having it be no more than four minutes each. Anything longer than that seems to generally be repetitive, or just a little too much.
However, this also depends on the type of wedding you have. If it's just the two of you during an elopement, you may want your vows to be a little longer. When you don't have anyone watching or listening, it can sometimes be less intense or stressful, so you can say more. The timing is different for every couple and wedding, but if you needed a time to try and stick by, I'd definitely say the less than 4 minutes each!
After you've decided, then you may need to add more or take away some sentences. Again, it is completely up to you - there is no right or wrong way to write your vows!
STEP 5: Practice makes perfect
Yes, you can practice in the mirror, but what I really mean is to just read it over a few times. A lot of the times when you read it out loud, you notice some mistakes or things may sound weird. You'll need to adjust a little bit. At the same time, don't overthink it! Say it out loud a few times, make your adjustments, and call it a day. Your vows should be your initial feelings, not something to be overthought.
STEP 6: Write them one more time
After you're feeling good about your vows, write them down one last time. Whether it's in a vow book, on a piece of paper, a note pad - literally anything - write them somewhere where it can be clean and easy to read. I personally would recommend having them on paper rather than your phone. But that's just my personal opinion!
Tips on writing your vows
Now that you have a step by step guide on how to write your vows, I'm now going to confuse you a little bit with a few more tips. Every person is different, which means how you decide to write your vows will vary. My way of doing things may work for some, but may not work for others. So here are a few more tips, depending on who you are and your personality.
Don't wait until last minute, or do
Some people thrive off of doing their vows last minute. I personally advise that you do them at least a few days in advance. These are something that you will really put time into and kind of do a trip down memory lane. You want to hit all the pieces of your relationship and not forget anything important. It also creates a little less stress the day of knowing that one of the most important parts of your ceremony is done! With that said, some people love writing last minute. It works well for them and they don't overthink. So ultimately, do whatever is going to work best for you!
Write them on paper, not on your phone
Your phone is 100% easier, but having them on paper can be a bit more photogenic. Think of things like vow books, a notebook, blank sheets of paper, a postcard, and more. One of my couples is using notebooks that they wrote to eachother in when they were long distance - I LOVED this idea so much.
Don't feel like you have to include everything
When you start creating that list, you might think that your vows are going to be pages and pages. Don't feel like you have to include every little part of your relationship. Include the things that are most important and are special to you.
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