Put together beautiful wedding vows with our help
Even the most seasoned writer can be faced with crippling writer’s block when it comes to putting together their wedding vows, for good reason. You’re trying to encapsulate everything you feel, your hopes, dreams and promises in a simple, short speech.
Opening up your heart like this in front of your future spouse and an audience of your family and friends can be a major challenge. That’s why we’ve put together a few simple tips to help you get started and create wedding vows which say everything you want to say.
1. Discuss your expectations with your partner
It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about whether your vows will be as good as your fiancé(e)’s. You can stress about whether theirs will be longer or shorter, whether theirs is sentimental or funny and make yours seem lacklustre in comparison.
Rather than starting your marriage off in competition with each other, sit down and have a talk about what you’ve been thinking you’d like to do with your vows. This isn’t about telling them what you’re going to say but rather agreeing some basics like:
- How long will your vows be?
- Are you going to have a theme or include any inside jokes?
- Do you want to include any elements from traditional/religious vows?
Talk about everything you’ve been considering and come to a consensus. Once the pair of you have agreed some basic ground rules, it’ll be easier to get started on your vows.
2. Start with a list
Crafting your wedding vows requires your full attention, so don’t try to do it with the TV on in the background or when you’re stressing about work. You need peace and quiet to reflect on your relationship as you write.
Rather than jumping straight into full sentences, simply make a list of everything you’re thinking. Include things you love about your fiancé(e), what you’re looking forward to about being married and what promises you want to make. Then leave it for a day or so before re-examining it. Pick out the items which are most important to you and use those as the basis of your vows.
3. Take your time
After you’ve written your first draft, leave it. Let it percolate for a few days before going back to reread it. This will help you to spot anything you’d like to change to improve your vows.
Do this for a maximum of three rewrites. You can always find things to improve and different ways of phrasing your words, but that way lies madness. Put a limit on yourself and let it go, knowing you’ve spoken from the heart and changing it too much will lose that indefinable quality.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to do all this though! Plan on having at least three weeks left before your wedding after you’ve completed your vows to give yourself the opportunity to practise them before the big day.
4. Remember the important things
There are some things which should be a no-brainer yet are frequently overlooked. Like saying ‘I love you’! Isn’t that the whole reason why you’re getting married? So say so!
Likewise, we all know about staying together through sickness and health, for richer or poorer. We hear it so often that those phrases have become meaningless. Think about different ways of expressing those sentiments. How will you get through the tough times together? Express that. Talk about how you’ll stick together – and it might not be during moments of drama either. Sometimes, marriage is dull and boring, or you’re simply too busy for each other. How will you support each other then?
5. Make actual promises
Sometimes when people write their own vows, they get so caught up in writing sweet anecdotes that they forget that a vow is meant to be a promise, the commitment you’re making to your partner in front of the gathered audience. You can make silly promises in among the serious, like promising to make breakfast in bed every Sunday or be the one to take out the rubbish, but be specific about what exactly you’re committing to.
6. Make sure you can keep them!
Whatever promises you’re making, they need to be realistic and achievable. You might be caught up in the romance of the moment, but no marriage is perfect and promising it will be only leads to disappointment.
In fact, it would have more impact if you acknowledged in your vows that, at some point, you’re going to make a mistake. Think about including something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to mess things up, but if I do start to drive you crazy, I hope you feel like you can talk to me about it and we work it through together.’
7. Keep it simple
There’s always the temptation to cram absolutely everything into your vows, cute little stories, declaration of love, promises you’re going to make, but unless you want a wedding which will go on for hours, keep to the highlights and the most important aspects. (See tip #2 and don’t choose too many bullet points.)
8. Make it personal to you
I know, I know. We’ve said not to make it nothing but personal anecdotes, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them out altogether. People love hearing about your unique quirks and why it is you’re choosing to be together. They pay more attention as well when you say something unexpected. After all, there may well be people there who don’t know all the details about your relationship, so telling a story about why you’re getting married won’t just have an impact on your partner; the audience will love it too.
9. Watch your language
While it’s tempting to include words like ‘always’ and ‘never’, you’re only setting yourself up for failure if you do.
Rather than promising to always do your best, tell your future spouse they inspire you to try to be your best, that they make you want to be a better person. Talk about how you’re going to focus on self-improvement while you’re together and as you learn more about each other. Recognise the only person who can ‘fix’ you is yourself.
10. Be creative with your inspiration
You don’t have to start from scratch. Maybe there’s a line from a book, movie, song or poem which perfectly expresses the way you feel. Use that as a starting point to get the creative juices flowing.
A surprising source of inspiration can be children’s books. Due to their very nature, they frequently manage to communicate deep emotions in a very simple, straightforward fashion, so don’t be afraid to browse through some of the classics.
A more traditional approach if you’re really stuck is to look at standard vows and then adapt them to reflect your personal feelings. Try looking at vows from cultures and faiths which are different to your own for fresh ideas.
11. Don’t censor yourself
Often people limit themselves because they worry about sounding cheesy. The thing to remember is that this really isn’t something to worry about. If you can’t be sentimental when writing your wedding vows, when can you be?
Nobody is judging your writing ability, so just let your heart speak and say whatever you want to say.
12. Read your vows out loud
Once you’ve finalised your vows, it’s a good idea to read them out loud to make sure it all sounds right. It’ll help you notice if you’ve used some strange phrases or it doesn’t quite fit together. Reading aloud immediately highlights any issues so you can edit them to get your vows just right.
13. Practise on a friend
While it’s natural to want to keep your vows a secret, it’s probably a good idea to use a trusted friend as a sounding board, particularly if you’re not used to writing or public speaking. Trying out your vows on a friend will give you constructive feedback and let you know if you’re on the right track.
14. Make a beautiful copy of your vows for the wedding
While you might think it romantic to use the original copy of the vows you wrote on a napkin in a bar, think about how that will look when they’re pulled out for the ceremony. While people will be focusing more on what you’re saying than what your words are printed on, do you really want a crumpled piece of paper in your hands when you watch the wedding video?
Write your vows in a pretty notebook or print them on a fresh sheet of paper neatly folded for use in the actual ceremony. Then you can frame them and hang them up after the wedding is over for a lovely keepsake.
15. Keep them secret!
Now you’re done, remember to keep your vows a secret from your partner until the big day. After all, these are your gifts to each other, something beautiful to be unwrapped when the time is right.
As we said before, you don’t want to get caught up in competitive vow writing. It doesn’t matter if yours are longer or shorter or your tone is different. These are YOUR words. They’re perfect just as they are.
Kippure Estate in County Wicklow is a very popular wedding venue. You may want an outdoor wedding, with stunning countryside or mountain views, a traditional church wedding or something entirely different. We can accommodate up to 200 guests.
All our wedding packages include decorations and flowers, and from there we have a wide range of personalisation options. We can host traditional wedding, civil wedding and partnerships, humanist ceremonies and handfastings, which particularly appeal to those who follow nature-based spiritualities.
Whatever type of ceremony you’re looking for, Kippure Estate would love to help you celebrate in style.