Believe it or not, even as someone who has seemingly always had a way with words, I didn’t write my own vows for my wedding day. I’m Roman Catholic, my husband is Ukrainian Catholic, and we got married at the church that he grew up going to, by the Priest he spent his whole childhood and young adulthood listening to. And neither of us really even gave it a second thought. We just assumed that we’d go with the traditional religious vows, and we were okay with that, because by the time we got married, we were 8+ years into our high school sweetheart relationship (and had shared tons of emotional sentiments with each other already - we figured we could stand to go with the somewhat antiquated prose for the day, because we had poured our hearts out to each other over the years).
I’ve actually never been to a wedding where the couple exchanged hand-written, personal vows - and it makes me so sad ☹️. There’s so much authenticity and passion that comes with the union of two people who are sharing promises that they’ve carefully curated. And it’s not an easy thing to get up in front of an audience, basically, and bare your souls - but it’s such a special thing to be able to do it with the one you love, on the best day of your lives.
A few tips, though, if you’ve decided to put pen to paper in celebration of your commitment to one another….
Decide whether or not you want to incorporate any traditional tokens
Vows from scratch take major balls (yah, we said it), but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you want to go with something more conventional - a variation of ‘to have and to hold, for sickness and in health’ - for your wedding, and tailor it with a few unique tokens from your own relationship / what makes it tick - you can! Just discuss IN ADVANCE with whoever is officiating your ceremony, and make sure it’s all sympatico.
Discuss expectations with your soon-to-be spouse
You might be totally gung ho about your personal vows, but just make sure your intended is too. If you’re a regular wordsmith and he has trouble translating his feelings into words, then maybe temper your expectations. Scale back your script and save it to share with your S.O. on the night of the wedding - so that you can be open and honest, while also being comfortable. Also, you’ll need to be on the same page (pun intended) when it comes to the format. You might not want to reduce yourself to an emotional puddle of tears, if his vows are more comical in nature. So whether you want to be super mushy gushy, funny, serious+inspirational, or prophetic about your future, agree on it so you’re not blindsighted at the altar.
Spend your next date night cuddling up and writing your vows. You can do it side by side, or on opposite sides of the room, just do it together!
Take some cues from lyrics, quotes, #somethingborrowed, right?!
Okay, so we’re not saying you need to pull cliches like ‘I, Christina, take you, Craig, to be my best friend, and my captain’ (if you don’t remember where this is from, we can’t be friends) or rewatch the Lucas/Peyton wedding episode of OTH on repeat until you’ve perfected Peyton’s incredible ‘I Dos,’ but you can take some cues from popular culture. You may have heard it before, but there are some AH-MAZE, innocent and articulate passages in children’s books that you can weave into your vows. Just don’t get too carried away, they’re your vows, they should smell like you 😉…. Like literally. Go a little Elle Woods for the occasion and spritz some of your perfume on your promises.
Consider your state-dependent memories
If you’re struggling to come up with the good stuff for your ceremony or recalling your many memories, then maybe think about recreating some of your favorite dates. Maybe you ate at an insanely delicious restaurant and sipped a bottle of wine that got you both tipsy enough to start spouting ALL of the lovey dovey stuff. Maybe you went skiing for the day, and had a huge heart-to-heart, I-want-to-marry-you-one-day discussion on the gondola ride up the mountain. If you can relive those special, milestone moments, they might be able to help you with the vow fodder.
We’ve gone ahead and put together a few prompts to help you prep for the big day. They’ll help you get on that same page we referenced ☝️☝️☝. Take a look and get those happy-sappy sentiments flowing!