For the first time in your life, you’re writing wedding vows – yours! Your future wife turned to you one evening by the fireplace and said, “honey, I think we ought to write our own wedding vows. I don’t want any textbook or Internet stuff – I want our vows to be really our own.”
She also warned you that if you were to hire a ghostwriter, she’d walk away from, not down, the aisle.
Don’t be intimidated at all. If there’s enough love gushing out of your heart and enough passion running through your veins, you’ll find the inspiration for writing your wedding vows – minus an ulcer. Relax and take a deep breath. Find a quiet corner or drive to the ocean, take your pen and start scribbling. Your eternal love will bring out the sentimental poet in you.
Just make sure, however, that your wedding ceremony is non-traditional. This means that you have the liberty of deviating from the more traditional wedding vow form. Check with your officiant if it’s okay to come up with your own personalized version. If he or she says yes, then you have carte blanche to say anything you want – without being offensive to your guests.
Basics of Writing Wedding Vows
A few rules to remember when writing your wedding vows:
- length – you may be madly in love and inspired to the gills but you can’t take up too much time. Your officiant will get nervous, the next wedding ceremony will be delayed and your guests will wilt if your wedding vow runs longer than two minutes. You know the saying, the shorter the more eloquent. Don’t cheapen this special moment by rambling. If you want to say more, leave the rest for the wedding reception when certain members of the wedding party get to say their piece.
- relevance – don’t be carried away. You’re there to make a vow, acommitmentto love and behold till death do you part. You can’t narrate a story of how the two of you met, what led you to propose or what you did together before deciding to tie the knot. While you’re free to craft your own wedding vow with the officiant’s permission, don’t deviate from the main purpose of a vow.
- tone and behavior – even if you’re writing your own wedding vows, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it the importance and solemnity that they deserve. For example, don’t write a wedding vow that’s all humor so that people can practically hear you giggle as you’re reciting it. The extreme – too serious – is also discouraged. Take the middle ground and play safe. This reminds us of a day many years ago when we were rummaging through our mother’s old shoeboxes where she kept her love letters. In one letter, she wrote in the opening line, “to my luscious, screwiest screwball…” This kind of wording – we think – has no place in a ceremony.
- choice of words – writing your wedding vows does not have to be a complicated exercise. Don’t attempt to sound like Shaespeare or Jay Leno. Choose your words carefully – don’t make it sound like you plucked the hardest words out of Webster. There’s elegance in simplicity. Don’t recite a legal document. The K.I.S principle (Keep it Simple) is key.
- practice – you can practice reciting your wedding vow solo, or you can ask a friend to listen to you. Seek constructive criticism. You only have one opportunity to say your vow, so you might as well do it right the first time.
Writing Wedding Vows: Examples
Bring out the romantic poet in you. Don’t be shy.
Here’s an example from Nina Callaway:
“(Name), I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life.”
And here’s another example – actually an extract – which we took from a book compiled by Eleanor Munro. Ms. Munro took it from a Hindu marriage ritual – the “Seven Steps.” It’s a little different but is equally moving.
“We have taken the seven steps. You have become mine forever. Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours. Hereafter, I cannot live without you. Do not live without me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning, united. You are thought and I am sound.”
Here are more examples that we offer. They’re homegrown – from our own backyard – not that we have any wedding vow experience. Fact is, we’ve never marched down the aisle before but that doesn’t mean we can’t write wedding vows!
Example # 1
“This is my magic moment. I am delighted to take you ____(name) as my wife. I look forward to happy days because each happy day we spend together is a miracle. I shall always treasure you, listen to your every word and respect your views. I seek your support, both emotional and moral, and I give you mine. We may fight, argue and disagree, but the down swings in our marriage will not obliterate my undying love and devotion to you. You can always count on me.”
Example # 2
“(Name), I have always blessed the day I met you. I’m the luckiest man alive. You have made a huge difference in my life. You brought me happiness and peace of mind. What else do I want? I promise to love and cherish you. Together we shall build a life of joy filled with happy children. You will always be mine and I promise to be faithful and supportive, even in our darkest days. I am yours and yours alone.”
Example # 1:
(Name), the first time I saw you, I knew then that you were the ONE. And here I am today, feeling more convinced than ever that you are indeed my knight in shining armor. I love you deeply, you have captured my heart, my whole being. I shall be there for you – always. Know that you are the only human being I want to spend the rest of my days with. I know that with each coming day, our love will grow stronger. Our love for each other will nurture us, sustain us, and unite our souls, today and forever.”
Example # 2
“(Name), I take you as my husband and I promise to care for you and look after your needs. I shall always cherish you, soothe your troubles away and provide comfort when you need it. This is my eternal promise. I shall be your rock, and you will be the same. You can rely on me, and I on you. As my husband, you shall not want of anything. I shall be there for you, always, in joy and in sorrow.”
We bet that you can do better than the examples we wrote. Why? Because you’re in love! Take your inspiration and create a romantic vow that will be music to your future spouse’s ear.