A Simple Guide to Wedding Vows

A Simple Guide to Wedding Vowshow to write your own

So you've decided to write your own wedding vows! As exciting as it is, it can also seem daunting; many brides and grooms suffer from writer's block when it comes to writing their vows. To get you started, we've come up with this helpful wedding vow guide and questionnaire where you'll do the following:

Read our introduction to wedding vows. Why do we say them? Why should you write your own?
Fill out our Love Story Questionnaire. Answer a few questions to get inspired!
Follow our step-by-step guide. Use your completed questionnaire to craft your vows.
See an example. Still stuck? Check out our example wedding vows.

Introduction to Wedding Vows

Why Do We Say Vows at Weddings?Before you start writing yours, it's helpful to know why vows are a part of the wedding ceremony. Although most states only require you to verbally state that you both freely enter the union, vows are a traditional part of the wedding ceremony for two important reasons. First, vows offer the couple a chance to reflect during an otherwise hectic day. Second, your wedding vows serve as a guide for the type of marriage you want.

The traditional vows will never go out of style, but many couples choose to write vows that better reflect their unique hopes and promises for a modern marriage.

Before You Begin WritingThe first step is to talk to your officiant. Assuming this isn't his or her first wedding, he or she should have plenty of advice for planning the ceremony. For example, how much flexibility will you have to write your own vows? A traditional religious ceremony may only allow you to change a few words, while a secular ceremony offers free rein over the vows. Think about your venue and the tone you want to set as you plan your perfect ceremony and vows with the officiant.

Non-Traditional VowsIn the event that you only want or have the freedom to make small changes to traditional vows, there are still plenty of modern options! Below are some of our favorite alternative wedding vows:
I promise to always be your best friend in good times and in bad.
I vow to love you in all your forms, even in the moments I don't necessarily like you.
I vow to comfort you, honor you, and care for you in sickness and in health.
I will love you through the tears and the laughter.
Love is a choice. And I choose you.

The BHLDN Love Story Questionnaire

The best wedding vows come from your unique love story. The following questions will help you begin to craft personalized vows that reflect the journey you've shared so far and the promise of everything that is yet to come.

Grab some paper and pen and answer the questions below. Before you begin, decide if you want your vows to be a surprise (answer the questions on your own) or a shared experience (answer the questions with your partner).

Your Past: Looking Back on Your Love Story1. What was your first impression of your partner? To spark your memory, revisit the early days of your relationship through old pictures, love notes, etc.
2. What's a favorite memory you have together?
3. Think of a time your partner put your happiness first.
4. Think back to the moment you knew you wanted to spend your life with your partner. Describe the moment and how you felt.
5. Write down a few of your favorite inside jokes.

Your Future: Looking Forward to Your Marriage6. Close your eyes and picture the two of you together in 5 years, 10 years, 30 years. What does your marriage look like?
7. What are some things you can do (emotionally, mentally, physically) to ensure you reach these milestones together?
8. Write down the reasons why you love your partner.
9. Write down the reasons why he or she loves you.
10. How will you strive to be the best version of yourself in your marriage?

Finally, choose up to five words below that hold the most meaning to your relationship: Trust | Partnership | Challenges | Lucky | Laughter | Growth | Safety | Adoration | Dreams | Sharing | Faith | Soulmate | Family | Best Friend

Write Your Own Vows Step-by-Step

To structure your vows, start with your past before leading into your future. Including references from your past gives your vows context and reminds you of everything that has brought you to this moment. Finish your vows by making promises to do the things that will ensure a long and happy marriage. Don't forget to think about timing as you write; try to limit your vows to no more than two minutes. That gives you plenty of time for meaningful and memorable vows without testing your guests' attention spans. Have your questionnaire handy, grab a fresh sheet of paper, and follow the steps below:

Step 1. Think about the moments and memories you wrote down in questions 1-5. Write down a few sentences to summarize your love story and how you fell in love with your partner.

Step 2. Read it out loud (important!). Did you stumble over any words? Edit these sections to make them easier to read and rearrange if something seems out of place.

Step 3. Next, look at your answers to questions 7 and 10. Try turning these into promises with the following format: I will   because  .

Step 4. Read this section aloud. Try replacing "I will" with "I promise" or "I vow" to see what feels most natural to you.

Step 5. Look over everything you've written and compare it to the theme of the words you chose in the final section. Do they align? For example, if you chose family, perhaps you should include what you will do to build a strong foundation and share your family traditions. Edit the vows as needed.

Step 6. Put everything together, and you have a draft of your wedding vows! Continue reading them aloud and tweaking your words until you've captured everything you want to say.

Wedding Vow Example

I feel like the luckiest person in the world every day, and it's because of you. It's hard to remember what life was like without you. But luckily, I don't have to. From the little things, like folding my socks the way I like it, to the big things, like always knowing exactly what to say, you show me love every day. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you.

I vow to be your high-wire harness, so you feel safe enough to take risks;
to be your warm blanket, so you never feel too vulnerable;
to be your light when the world seems too dark to bear;
to be the best wife because I'm the lucky woman who gets you as a husband.

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