Whether you’re an avid poet and can’t wait to profess your love, or you’ve put everything off until the midnight hour and have a big creative block — writing your own wedding vows is no cakewalk. As one of the most important public speeches you’ll make, personalized vows are all about truth, history, connection, and promise. They’re meant as a sweet exchange between you and your sweetheart, but also a public proclamation to your family and friends. So where do you start?
As you sit down to draft your first wedding vows, start with a few basics: length, tone, and spiritual elements. These will help map the intent and effect of your speech.
Lengthwise, set yourself a general timeline:
- 30-second or 1-minute vows can be sweet, funny, and memorable. This gives you a few succinct statements to say what matters most.
- 1 to 2 minutes is the traditional vows length for each partner.
- Anything over 3-minute vows may incorporate additional storytelling, rites, quotes, and contributions from the family.
- The couple may also want to include vows for family and stepchildren, which may take additional time.
For tone, think about what fits your personality as a couple:
PC: David Rosario
- Funny vows are all about specific stories and references.
- Sweet vows are being vulnerable and compassionate.
- Earnest vows are all about writing from the heart.
- Casual wedding vows are simple, low-key, and welcoming to the crowd.
- Idealistic vows are future-oriented.
- Romantic vows are rooted in love, passion, and compliments.
- Quirky wedding vows are creative, unique, and playful.
And depending on your brand of spirituality, you may want to add religious touchstones to your wedding vows. This will help guide your decision to add quotes, music, or rites from your minister.
We’ve built out more insights for writing your own wedding vows below! And in the meantime, take our Style Quiz for tons of gorgeous inspiration from our real brides and latest bridal collections. You can also Find an Authorized Retailer to start shopping for the wedding dress of your dreams. If you want more tips and tricks and #MaggieInspiration for your big day, make sure to sign up for some exclusive text messages:
Why Would You Write Personal Wedding Vows?
PC: Beard And The Bird
The reason for writing your own wedding vows is like any reason to personalize your celebration: Couples like to express their love in a unique and meaningful way!
Of course, it’s no less romantic to do the “traditional vows.” If you don’t want to or can’t write your own content, there are still ways to personalize throughout the celebration. For example, you can include a personal statement in the program, or say something short and sweet as a reception toast.
Talk Your Wedding Vows Through with Your Partner
PC: Alexis Christine Photography
Couples most often choose to make their wedding vows a surprise, so it’s rare to read out your script word for word before the big day. That being said, make sure you are on the same page as far as tone, details, and expectations. It’s a good idea to match each other’s lengths. (One doesn’t want to take up ten minutes if the other is only planning for two.) It’s also nice to know if one partner prefers humor and lightheartedness, or if one only has serious and romantic things to list off. (The mismatch may be awkward.) You should also be on the same page as far as embarrassing stories or inside jokes. (In other words, read the room.)
Syncing up your wedding vows is a key part of bonding and planning as a couple and a good way to kick this off is by practicing some health and mindfulness between the two of you.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
PC: Kelsey Christian Photography
Start strategizing early and write a couple of drafts! If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider taking a writing class to help you out. (The worst is coming up with a meaningful script last-minute.)
Include Your Promises To One Another
Seems like a no brainer, but make sure to say, “I love you” and include your heartfelt promises for each the future. Your wedding vows are a very personal thing, so make sure these promises are personal as well!
These can be traditional vows and wedding promises: love, support, care, humor, and affection — to name a few.
Or romantic wedding promises: connection, passion, date nights, adventure, and spontaneity, for example.
And of course, funny wedding promises: chores you don’t like to do, nerdy things you love about each other, and cute references to family and pets — for example.
Don’t Try to Include Everything
One of the biggest mistakes couples make with their wedding vows is trying to include too much. If you’re telling the entire history of your love story or quoting all your favorite episodes of The Office, your guests will grow weary, quick. If your vows are going over five minutes apiece, here’s how to edit:
- Keep compliments to 2-3 meaningful observations about your partner.
- Choose one quote from a poem, movie, or philosopher.
- Think about your personalized commitments and focus on 1-2 marriage vows to reflect those. Areas like:
- Care and attention
- Creativity and adventure
- Intellectual and professional support
- Starting a family
- Caring for animals, home, and garden
- Giving each other space and independence
- Loving each other unconditionally
Practice Your Wedding Vows Out Loud
PC: Jane Ching Photography
It’s important to test out reciting wedding vows to yourself. Record your reading out loud and with a timer. Ask for general feedback from only 1 or 2 people; your confidante may understand something better about you or your relationship than you do yourself. If you have an especially literary or creative friend, they can help with pacing, clarity, tone, and detail.
Keep Your Wedding Vows Secret from Your Partner
Though you may share general inspiration and ideas with a close friend or coordinate ideas with your partner, it’s important to keep your wedding vows secret so they’re totally true to your ceremony. By design, vows are meant to be shared during a set time—your wedding date—in front of a select group of witnesses and your chosen minister. That’s what makes the act so important; if you broadcast your marriage vows beforehand, it may lessen the impact.
Marriage Vows Examples
PC: Eric and Jamie Photography
Here are a few scripts and outlines to get you started!
Traditional wedding vows generally follow a formula like this:
In the Name of God,
I, [name], take you, [name], to be my [wife/husband],
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
until we are parted by death.
This is my solemn vow.
This script varies within religions and cultures, but the overall intent and focus is fairly consistent.
To add your own spin or write entirely new bride wedding vows, consider the following questions as a roadmap for great content:
PC: Lindsay Rossman
- Where did you and your partner meet?
- When did you know you loved them?
- Where have you traveled together?
- What are your shared hopes and dreams?
- What have you learned from your partner?
- What have you taught them in return?
- What surprises you about them?
- What makes you laugh?
- Do you have pets together?
- When and how did you or they propose?
- What do you love about their family?
Things to avoid in making that roadmap:
- TMI or crude details
- Overly obscure inside jokes
- Digs or criticisms at your partner or in-laws
- Too many sports or movie references (unless that’s totally your thing)
Romantic bride wedding vows:
PC: Haley Nord Photography
- “I promise to adore you and always stand by your side, through all of the highs and lows.”
- “I vow to be honest and faithful, and always be your best friend, no matter what surprises are in store.”
- “I promise to be your top cheerleader and biggest fan.”
- “It brings me joy to love and support you.”
- “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives loving each other madly.”
- “I promise to treasure you for the rest of your life.”
- “With our friends and family here as witnesses, I vow to be all I can be as your partner, soulmate, and best friend.”
- For a bit of humor, look to funny wedding vows:
- “I will help you:
- Spend weekends doing [silly thing they actually enjoy]
- Survive holidays
- Binge [favorite movie franchise] when you’re sick
- Play hooky
- Travel to [dream country] to [do the absurd/ridiculous/nerdy thing they’ve always wanted]
- Stay safe from [thing they’re scared of]”
- “I will help you:
Excited to profess your love in front of your favorite people? Remember, the most important thing about writing your own bride wedding vows is to be short, sweet, and personal to your love story. Don’t let nerves get the best of you; may the bridal muses be with you!
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And here are a few more blogs to help your planning and celebrating:
- Sustainable Wedding Ideas for a Green Celebration
- 8 Tips For The Soon-To-Be Bride During Mental Health Awareness Month
- Sun-Kissed Spring Wedding Colors Inspired by Real Brides
We can’t wait to hear all about your big day! Happy planning and best wishes.