Guide to writing your own vows
Updated: Feb 22
What to think about when writing your own vows
If you are planning to write your own vows for your ceremony, it can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, hopefully once you’ve read this you’ll be able to make a start.
There’s probably a whole series of flashbacks to magical moments in your head and things you love about your partner you want to articulate so start by making a list. Sitdown and think about everything and get as many of your thoughts, feelings and ideas out of your head as possible whether that’s into a notebook or computer or a voice note on your phone. It really doesn’t matter how it's written it could just be a long list of a few words, just get them out of your head when it pops in.
Some things to consider
What do they mean to you
What you love about them
What are you thankful for
What promises do you want to make to them
What are you looking forward to most in life together
Should my vows be funny or sentimental?
Think about whether you want to include any inside jokes or whether you want them to remain sentimental - there is nothing wrong with either approach. But it’s always good to check with the other person what tone they are taking so that they fit well.
Some of the funny things that have been included in some of the ceremonies I have conducted include:
I promise to not come home with any more cats
I promise to continue to not spray my dry shampoo near your xbox
I will try not to kill you as you snore through the night
Thank you for changing the suit
I promise to continue to love, appreciate and be kind to you, and to provide support and guidance to curb your takeaway addiction.
How do I write my vows?
When it comes to writing, write how you speak and use words you would normally use (eg if you regularly say words like promulgation include them, if you don’t then leave it out); try and keep your sentences short and punchy, they will be easier to read when emotions are running high on the day and you’ll get your point across easier; leave room to breathe and pause so that your partner can take in what you have said and so that people have time to digest and laugh if you’ve said something funny.
How do I structure my vows?
You can structure them however you like, but think about the beginning, middle and the end so it might be as simple as:
Beginning - what you love about the person / your relationship
Middle - what your promises are (both funny and sentimental)
End - what you are looking forward to in the future
You might decide that you both want to just make promises to each other and they might be the same promises - there are no hard and fast rules here, you can do it however you like.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll crack them on your first attempt at writing them, so leave them for a day or two and come back to them and see if they need tweaking. Read them out loud to yourself to see if they flow.
How long should my vows be?
It's totally up to you how long they should be, but usually they end up somewhere around 150-250 words, or around 45 seconds to 2 minutes when spoken.
In the run up to the day make sure you practise reading them out loud - the more familiar you are with your words, the less butterflies you will have on the day.
If the thought of reading them out yourself totally freaks you out, talk to your celebrant about them reading them for you - or reading them for you to repeat - again there are no rules here!
If you are a couple I am performing a ceremony for I’ve pulled together a few examples of some of my favourite phrases, so that might inspire you; from traditional, to funny, to tear-jerking!