There’s nothing wrong with going the traditional route and using the traditional wedding vows. For couples who prefer doing things by the book, using traditional wedding vows provides a timeless elegance to your ceremony. It saves you the effort of having to write your own, which can be difficult if you’re not the best with flowery language. And it avoids the pressure of having to memorize your own speech and just focus on enjoying your wedding day.
At the same time, however, there’s nothing wrong with writing your own wedding vows. Personally speaking, I’d write my own wedding vows because I feel like using traditional ones seems almost generic and does not encapsulate how I really feel when I promise myself to my husband-to-be. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a writer, but I’d prefer to choose my own words to say on my big day, despite what I feel about public speaking and making speeches. It just feels like a more intimate wedding and like something my partner would appreciate because we’re going the extra mile for it.
So if you’re interested in learning how to write your own wedding vows, keep reading to get some wedding vow ideas, what should be in them, and how to write your own.
Modify Traditional Vows
You don’t have to go overboard to customize your own wedding vows. Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking your standard wedding vows and modifying them to fit you and your partner’s tastes. For example, here’s what the traditional wedding vows in a Catholic wedding look like:
“I, <Name>, take you, <Partner’s Name>, to be my lawful <wife/husband>. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
If I were to modify these vows slightly, I could come up with a few ways:
“I, <Name>, take you, <Partner’s Name>, to be my lawful <wife/husband/spouse>. To have, hold, love, and cherish from this day forward until my last. I will love you forever and ever until death do us part.”
“I, <Name>, take you, <Partner’s Name>, to be my lawful <wife/husband/spouse>. I will love you until my dying breath, no matter the obstacles we face together.”
“I, <Name>, take you, <Partner’s Name>, to be my partner-in-crime for the rest of my life. We will spend the rest of our lives together – just you and me against the world – until death do us part.”
Steps to Writing Your Custom Wedding Vows
1. Think of the main message of your vows.
What do you want to tell your partner in your vows? “I love you” is a given, but what else?
Wedding vows are meant to tell your partner how you feel about spending the rest of your life with them and what you promise to do and be to them from this moment on. Let that be the central theme of your vows so that you can avoid rambling or having no main point when you recite your vows.
2. Let your partner know you’ll be there no matter what.
This is a staple in traditional wedding vows in most religions. So, if you want at least one thing to link you to traditional wedding vows, let them know that you will stick by their side no matter what.
It might seem pointless to add this because we’re in a country where divorce is illegal, but this part of your wedding vow is just more than being physically together. It means that no matter how hard things get for either of you, you aren’t going to abandon them emotionally or spiritually. In short, they are your ride-or-die for the rest of your life, no matter what.
3. Make promises, not just anecdotes.
A good wedding vow is the perfect blend of promises and anecdotes. This is to remind your partner of the shared past you have and to prepare you for the future that lies ahead. You want your vows to be impactful and emotional when they hear them, so don’t just talk about what they already know.
Tips for Writing Your Wedding Vows
- Don’t delay writing your wedding vows. Unless you have a talent for winging it at the last minute (which I don’t recommend you do anyway), don’t delay preparing your wedding vows or else you may feel time-pressured when writing it last minute. In terms of wedding planning, you should have your vows written up to three weeks before your wedding day.
- Start with an outline. Before you start composing your vows, start with an outline of what you want your vows to say. This can help you stay organized and revise your train of thought more easily once it’s time to write.
- Write for your partner, not for your guests. Your wedding vows are not to impress or entertain your guests. It is meant to speak from the heart to tell your partner that you are fully ready to spend the rest of your life with them. At the same time, though, keep the inside jokes to a minimum unless you want to have to explain to everyone what most of your vows meant when they ask at the following wedding reception.
- It’s OK to read your vows. Not everyone is a master at memorizing their lines, so it’s OK to bring a copy to read. But practice reading your lines before the wedding so you don’t spend the whole time staring at the paper.
Final Note If You’re Having a Church Wedding
Should you decide to hold a church wedding and have customized vows, you may need to have your vows pre-approved by the church’s priest. Some churches are particular about couples’ vows and whether or not they are appropriate for a sacred ceremony. And some churches reportedly prohibit couples from saying their own wedding vows and only allow the traditional vows.
When choosing your church venue, one of the questions you should ask is whether or not they allow couples to say their own vows. This way, you can see ahead of time if the church will accommodate your wish to have your own written vows said.
Author: Justine Lubag
Justine loves costumes, puns, horror films, and blue dresses. A literature graduate from the south, she writes online content for a living but is super shy about others reading her fan fiction.