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I recently went to my cousin’s wedding in upstate New York, and she was really struggling to write her vows. She’s a beautiful writer, but I get it. How could you sum up a world of emotions that you have for a person in just a page or two? Plus we were wondering, is there a protocol for what vows are even supposed to include? She’s a bit of a last minute Lucy. I will say that. So even the day of the wedding, she was Googling how to write wedding vows and polishing things up.
I figured that if my dear, sweet cousin was struggling to write her vows, this is probably something that a lot of people have trouble with.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed about the prospect of writing your vows, this is for you. I have some tips on writing non-cheesy and unique wedding vows. I’m going to help you make it sound like you didn’t copy paste from the internet; that you wrote something real and deeply personal.
Tip # 1
This is kind of going to be in a roundup format, so I’ve pulled different tips from various sites. This first tip from Brides.com reminds us to say “I love you.”
“This might seem like a no brainer, but Monique Honaman, a wedding officiant and author of The High Road Has Less Traffic, says she is often shocked at how many couples leave this out of their vows.”The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows, BRIDES.COM
Number one tip say, I love you.
Number two is share personal stories.
“It’s so much more interesting for your friends or family to hear about your odd quirks and personal moments.”BRIDES.COM
Also, don’t be afraid to talk about the highs and the lows. It doesn’t all need to be this perfectly painted picture.
“Surround yourself with memories while you’re thinking about writing these vows. So whether it’s old photographs, the first love note or a special keepsake, these items will remind you of all the moments that the two of you shared with one another. One moment may remind you of another which may lead to that one time. And the next thing you know, you’ll have too many ideas. Maybe make a list and when you first sit down to write your vows, don’t be stressed about writing complete sentences. Just start jotting down everything that comes to mind.”How To Write Your Wedding Vows, SHUTTERFLY.COM
We’re jumping back to that Brides.com article, which is called The Guide to Writing your own Wedding Vows, appropriately titled. I would say number three is actually make promises. Vows aren’t just anecdotes. They are a promise, a serious commitment that you’re making. Here are a couple of examples that I found:
“I promise to always be there when you have troubles and to know that sometimes simply letting you talk about your problems is enough.”
“I promise you that laughter will always be commonplace in our house.”
Here is another example from a Minted.com. And just to note, these don’t have to be heavy and serious. They can be sweet or silly or romantic.
“I promise to be your lover, companion and friend, your partner in Parenthood, your ally and conflict, your greatest fan and your toughest adversary, your comrade and adventure, your student and your teacher, your constellation in disappointment, your accomplice and mischief. This is my sacred vow to you. My equal in all things.”Romantic Wedding Vows, MINTED.COM
Moving on to number four. Brides.com also suggests to get inspired with books, songs, movies, and poems. If you have a favorite line from a movie or a song that expresses your feelings, use it as a starting point.
I like this idea.
“Browse through some children’s books like Maurice Sendak and Ruth Krauss’s I’ll Be You and You’ll Be Me and I Like You by Sandal Stoddard. Kids books often have a way of communicating deep, complex emotions in simple sentences so they can provide the inspiration you’re looking for.”
On the Knot.com there was an article called Non-Religious Ceremony Readings and I’d like to read just a few of these out loud:
“This is what love does. It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is. This is how it will be.”Every Day by David Levithan
“I no longer believed in the idea of soulmates or love at first sight, but I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you are lucky, you might meet someone who is exactly right for you, not because he was perfect or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Clypis
“People are like cities. We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see as a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person. Even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”Wide Awake by Hilary T Smith
Tip number five is from Shutterfly.com and they suggest to continue by saying what it is you love about your partner.
“What about this person has led you to promise forever? When did you realize you were in love? What do you miss when you’re not around each other? Jotting down all of your ideas and each of the things you love about this person can make it easier to get through your thoughts. Find a theme and focus in on a few items that really stand out. Don’t worry about saying every little thing. If you did, your ceremony might go on forever!”How To Write Wedding Vows Step by Step, SHUTTERFLY.COM
Number six was also brought to you by Shutterfly, and it is to mention specific things the two of you will do together.
“Continue this portion of your vows by mentioning the specific things you will accomplish together using phrases like with you, I will and together. “
The final tip number seven is to shorten your vows to about one to two minutes. Your vows are definitely important, but you don’t necessarily want to drag them on when you say something meaningful. You shouldn’t have to say it over and over, so pick the most important points and make them. If your vows are running longer than two minutes, you may want to make some edits. Then you can put some of the more personal thoughts in a letter or gift to your partner on the morning of your wedding.
Along the same notion, Zola.com says:
“There’s no hard and fast rule about how long wedding vows should be, but most traditional vows run anywhere from 15 seconds to one minute per person.”
15 seconds seems quick to me, but in any event, whether it takes 30 seconds or three minutes, make sure you keep your vows focused on expressing all that you want to share from your heart.
The good thing is you don’t have to cut it short because you’re worried about boring people. Since you’re eloping, no one will be there anyway. This is your moment.
Zola also suggests making sure that you and your partner’s vows are roughly the same length. You can read it out loud to yourself and practice the words. Practice the flow and see how the timing comes out.
Those were my favorite 7 tips! I want to add in one little note about what to write your vows in.
Maybe your first draft, you type it out. Or if you like writing in a journal, that works too. For the final copy there’s some really beautiful velvet vow books on this website. I believe they are based in the UK. They have a really beautiful selection of colors.
Last time I checked they were about £75 pounds, so if you don’t want to spend that much, you could even just get a mini little Moleskine journal. It’s only the vows really are only going to take up a couple few pages or just to fold it up. Pieces of paper. You don’t even need a book necessarily and if he did it that way, it’d be really handy to just keep it in your pocket. I will say it may be nice to have something pretty because it will likely make it into a photo or two.
If you have any recommendations or topic requests for things you’d like me to cover on the podcast, you can head over to my Instagram @runawaytogether.co and send me a message! Or leave a comment here and I will do my best to make this podcast for you. Until next time!