How to Write the Perfect Wedding Vows
Your wedding vows will set the stage for the rest of your wedding. Here’s how to write the perfect vows.
What is a Wedding Vow?
Wedding or marriage vows are promises made by each partner in a couple during their wedding ceremony. They are the most significant part of a wedding as it is the crux of your whole relationship; you're promising that from that moment, you will work as a team and face the world together.
Church weddings and many civil marriages adapt their vows from the Book of Common Prayer, dating back to 1549. However, one of the first occurrences of vows dates back to Medieval England 476 A.D. The Sarum Ritual relied on a set of procedures that are followed for any kind of public Christian Worship including weddings, masses and liturgies. The most common vows you'll hear at the majority of English speaking ceremonies and at Anglican churches are;
"I [bride/groom] take you, [bride/groom] to be by [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, till death us do part, according to God's holy law, and this is my solemn vow."
If you're getting married by an officiant who permits you to write your own wedding vows, then you want to make sure that you're taking it seriously. When you say your vows, you are making an oath to be with someone for the rest of your life and accepting that person for who they are (flaws and all). Your marriage vows should be a fluffier version of;
"I promise I won't coit anyone else. I promise I won't hate you when we're both screaming at the kids after getting 2 minutes sleep in six years time. I promise I'll stay with you even if you start balding. I love you."
When it comes to writing vows, it's easy for couples to forget that this is the part where you make blood oaths for the rest of your life. It shouldn't become a competition to impress the guests, and it certainly shouldn't read like an Instagram caption. Your vows should be personal to you as a couple, and avoid clichés. Here are a few tips on how to write the perfect wedding vows!
Keep your wedding vows short and sweet
Just because your wedding vows are one of the most important parts of the entire day, it doesn't mean they should drag on until dusk. Make sure you're not repeating yourself - just because you're saying something meaningful doesn't mean it should be said a million times. If your wedding vows last longer than two minutes, then you need to edit them and shorten them down. Funny stories and guest related topics should be saved for the toasts - you're here to make an oath, so cut out the fat and only have the good stuff.
Come up with some serious promises
The aim of wedding vows is to make promises to your partner, so why not add your own. This shouldn't be silly promises like "I promise not to eat all the Ben and Jerry's in the fridge'. They need to be serious - along the lines of "I promise to love you everyday for the rest of my life." There should be of some broad scope and specific ones to the pair of you - for example, if your partner already has children from another relationship then you should vow to love them for the rest of your life as well.
Agree on the style and tone with your fiancé.
Both you and your fiancé need to discuss how you want your vows to come across to each other, and look at the logistics. Will you be writing them together or separately? Do you want them to be different or do you want to make the same promises to each other? Some couples do a little of each. Finally, are you sharing them with each other or do you want to keep them a secret until the wedding day?
Do your research
Take some time to read through a variety of wedding vows as well as passages, poetry and love stories. Whether you want to pin them or print them out, you'll find that they spark an interest and help you to say what you really mean. If you're practising a religion you should look at the sort of vows they say and use that as a starting point.
Answer the basic questions
Take some time to reflect on your fiancé and future life partner. Remember how you felt when you first met. What made you fall in love? Can you remember that exact moment? When did you know that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them? Write it all out to get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few questions you should answer, which will get you started:
Why did you decide to get married?
Have you been through any hard times together?
What have you supported each other through?
What challenges do you think you'll face?
What do you want to achieve together?
What makes your relationship work?
What do you admire the most about your partner?
How has your life improved since meeting them?
What about them inspires you?
What do you miss most about them when you're apart?
Practice Makes Perfect
Read what you've written out loud friend or family member. Ideally someone who knows your relationship. They may have good suggestions to help you, or the simple act of reading it out loud will help you find places where you need to improve. After re-working your vows, you'll feel much happier. Once you've got a final version together, write down your vows on a notecard and give an extra copy to the best man or maid of honour.