It’s totally normal to struggle with writing wedding vows – how do you sum up an entire relationship’s worth of love and memories in a few paragraphs? But, eloping is all about being intentional about each part of your day, and your ceremony is no different. This guide will give you some tips for how to write wedding vows that are heartfelt, personal, and unique!
Sure, there are the classic “in sickness and in health” vows that you can repeat, but wedding vows are about expressing your unique love for your partner! This will help you to be more intentional about your vows, so they really feel like special. Writing your own is so important, and here’s why.
One of the most important reasons to write your own wedding vows is that doing so allows you to infuse your personality and your one of a kind experiences into your elopement ceremony. It makes tying the knot unique and special to the two of you. Writing your wedding vows is a more genuine, authentic reflection of your love story.
Sharing your heartfelt vows in your own words means that your ceremony becomes a true reflection of your relationship!
Imagine hearing your partner’s promises, their emotions, their commitment to you in their own words. Of course, it will mean so much more than a generic script would. Writing your own wedding vows allows you to express yourself more fully and more authentically, and it give s your partner that same opportunity! You aren’t simply reciting words, you’re laying it all out there, promising to spend the rest of your lives together.
Writing your own vows also means that you get a keepsake from your elopement! You can keep the vows you wrote to each other, and revisit them on anniversaries, during challenges or happy times, and just because. I really recommend writing your vows with pen and paper (or at least the final draft of them), for a few reasons.
First, during your ceremony it’ll look a lot nicer to read from a piece of paper than holding your phone in front of you will.
And also, having them on paper gives you a more tangible keepsake! There are so many ways to customize your vow books- I personally love working with Ox and Pine because they hand make their leather covers, and you can get them personalized with your names and date! You can always head over to Etsy too for some vow books, which will be a really great way to preserve your vows.
Once you’re ready to get started, here are some tips for how to write wedding vows!
Being intentional about your vows starts early – by being intentional about when you work on them. Make sure to start the process at least a few weeks before the elopement day, so that you have plenty of time to write and edit without stressing about it. It’s also helpful to set aside time where you plan to work on your vows – rather than squeezing it in when you have a few minutes between Zoom meetings.
Give yourself an hour or so where you won’t be focusing on anything else, put your phone away (physically writing things down instead of using the Notes app is proven to stimulate creativity, and it also eliminates distractions), and use this time to work on your vows. You might need a few of these sessions, but don’t feel discouraged if the words don’t start flowing immediately – giving yourself that time, even if you just spend it thinking, means you’re on the way to incredible, heartfelt wedding vows.
Before you begin writing, take some time to just reflect – think about your relationship, how it’s grown and changed, what challenges you’ve overcome and how you’ve gotten to where you are now, and about your dreams or goals for the future. Think about your partner too – what do you love about them, what have they taught you, what do you want to promise to them?
I also recommend writing some notes while you brainstorm – all of these things can go in your vows! But, don’t worry about making things perfect or editing yourself yet. Just write down any anecdotes, thoughts, and memories that feel significant or hold some emotion for you.
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to start writing! That might be easier said than done, but stick with it! Write whatever comes to mind, and start putting those ideas into sentences. Try not to edit yourself as you go – though there will definitely be editing later – and just let the words out. Writer’s block often happens because people are worried about making it perfect, but perfection isn’t the point! The more you write, the easier it’ll get.
When it comes to the order of what you put in your vows, it might help to think of this like a story. Stories have a beginning, middle, and an end, and your relationship has a past, present and a future. Start your vows in the past – anecdotes, lessons, things that made you fall in love. Then talk about the present – what are you promising to your partner, what commitment are you making on the day you get married? And then there’s the future – what are your goals for the relationship, dreams you want to accomplish together, where do you see yourselves in a few years?
Once you have your vows written, it;s time to edit. This is where you’ll go through what you have, make changes, move things around, and add or remove things. It’s usually helpful to take a break – don’t start editing as soon as you’re done writing, but instead, set them aside for a day or two before coming back to it. Sometimes all you need is fresh eyes and a rested mind!
A really important part of the editing process is reading your vows out loud. Sometimes reading silently means our brains fill in words or miss mistakes, and reading out loud forces you to slow down a little and think more about what you’re saying. Ideally, you should read out loud to someone else and get their feedback, but even just doing this on your own is tremendously helpful!
I also really encourage you to practice how you want your ceremony to unfold! So this means the two of you together do a rehearsal on how is planning to speak first, are you incorporating any music or ceremony, are there any other elements youre bringing in and lastly who is officiating (if anyone!)
One of the most important things to remember is that writing wedding vows isn’t about being a talented writer. It’s not about perfection, it’s about speaking from the heart and expressing your love for your partner, in your own unique way.
As an elopement photographer, I’m all about couples who celebrate their love story with intention – and writing your own wedding vows is a huge part of that!