How To Write Wedding Vows Step by Step: Useful Tips, FAQs and Examples

Marriage is a huge commitment. Thankfully, it is a responsibility that comes with plenty of perks like love, promises, and intimate moments. Naturally, when tasked with how to write wedding vows, you want to make sure you go above and beyond. Whether you approach writing your own wedding vows from a silly or serious angle, you need to understand the ins and outs of custom vows. Follow this guide and example wedding scripts to understand how a bride and groom can find the right words of love and devotion. 

How To Write Your Own Vows

There are a few different approaches you can take to crafting your own custom wedding vows. Whether you’re a fan of following tradition or someone who wants to break from routine and try something new, the words you select when you write vows will play a big part in how the vows come across. However, you still will need a general layout to work with in order to find the perfect words and phrases. Use this template to come up with the right flow for your marriage oath and keep the task as simple as you can.

how to write wedding vows - rings

First Words

Perhaps the best way to begin is by immediately addressing the person you’re marrying. Use the actual name or the person, or say some type of term of endearment like: “To my best friend.” Then, move into some personal details. Discuss what you love about your significant other. What has made this person so special to you over the years? Is there a particular moment where you first fell in love? Cutting to the heart of your relationship with tangible details and memories can make the wedding vows more personal and sentimental.

Layer in a Story and Concrete Details

A quick anecdote can be a fantastic way to add some life to your words. When thinking about how to write wedding vows that reflect the unique nature of your relationship, a personal story about your love will always help flesh out the details of the vows. This is a perfect lead into the promises you will be making with your partner. The classic “I promise to stand with you for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…” doesn’t need to be the route you follow. 

Some couples prefer infusing personal promises into the mix. A vow to never root for the wrong sports team, for example, is a great way to make your vows more your own. Plus, you’ll definitely get some smiles and chuckles from the crowd. This is a point at which you can be as serious or silly as you would like with your words. Romantic vows help to personalize your promise in a way that cuts to the heart. A funny promise or two is a nice way to keep the festivities light and the mood agreeable. 

Wrapping It Up

Before closing out your personalized vows, take a beat to mention the future. Have you discussed plans for married life yet? Toss in a reference or two like “I can’t wait to be sitting on the shores of Ibiza with you as my lawfully married spouse.” Be as specific as possible and keep the tone positive, as you want to look toward tomorrow with a strong sense of optimism. Think about what you’re excited for most about married life and be sure to mention it in your vows. 

Vows should always end with a final promise of your love lasting until the end of time. Some say “for long as we both shall live” while others prefer “until death do us part.” No matter the specific phrase you use, the general idea should be a final promise that helps to wrap up the entire vow part of the ceremony. 

Tips for Writing Wedding Vows

Now that you have an idea of what a wedding script looks like for your personal vows, you’re ready to start putting in the work. Of course, there are still a few pieces of advice that can help you deliver the best results. These tips on how to write wedding vows are perfect to keep in mind as you write. 

how to write vows - tips

1. Start Early

Waiting until the last minute is a terrible idea when you’re writing your own vows. You want to give yourself at least three weeks of time before the actual event to come up with the perfect words. The rehearsal night is your chance to test out the vows and make any final adjustments.

2. Write Down Preliminary Ideas

Don’t feel like you need to write the vows perfectly when you sit down with pen and paper. In fact, you’re better off keeping a running list of ideas before you try to write the actual vows. Jotting down some early thoughts can be a huge help when you tie it all together.

3. Write a Few Drafts

Some people are able to write a draft and feel confident that it is perfect the way it is. For everyone else, a few drafts can make a world of difference. Write two or three drafts and don’t finalize the words until you feel totally confident that it reads how you’d like. 

4. Keep It Simple

Your vows are not a speech. If you find yourself rambling on and on, it is time to make some serious cuts. You won’t be able to include everything, so try to be selective and focus on what comes to mind as most important. 

5. Avoid Absolutes

Making promises of eternity is one thing with your wedding vows, but you want to avoid absolutes as much as possible. Making statements like “I will always…” and “I will never…” can be problematic. Humans make mistakes, so you’ll likely stray from some of your vows. Avoid promising perfection as a reminder that there will be some struggles ahead. 

6. Be as Sentimental as You’d Like

Worried you’re being too cheesy with your words? Toss that concern right out the window! These are your vows and the entire purpose is to pull an emotional response from your partner and guests. Dive into the deep feelings and don’t feel ashamed of it!

7. Make Them Laugh

Laughter has a way of breaking the ice and making everyone feel comfortable. Plus, infusing some well-timed jokes into your speech will make your partner feel more at ease while you stand before your friends and family.  

8. Feel Inspired 

For most couples, art and entertainment plays a big part in romance. From songs to poems to movies, there are likely many sources you can draw from when you need inspiration. Whether you use a favorite quote or reference a film you saw on a first date, these little details can definitely deliver powerful results. 

9. Hear Your Words Out Loud

Reading words in your head doesn’t help you fully comprehend them. Endless studies show that reading out loud helps a writer understand if the words make sense, the tone sounds natural, and spot any potential errors. 

10. Practice for Flow

You don’t want to run through your vows like you’re in a race. Pacing is everything, so be sure to read your vows out loud and practice for pauses. Plus, you’ll feel more comfortable if you read through the vows a few times in advance.

11. Work With a Friend

It isn’t always easy to edit your own words. If you need some help, reach out to a close friend or family member. Run through the vows and ask for feedback. This can help you get some fresh eyes and ears when you’re figuring out how to write wedding vows. 

12. Keep a Copy on You

In the days leading up to the ceremony, keep a copy of your vows on you at all times. This is a smart way to run through your words a few times before the actual event. Plus, it will help you get the words into your head so you don’t keep your eyes glued to the page while you state your vows.

13. Don’t Tell Your Partner

Though you might feel compelled to run the vows by your partner, it is best to keep them a secret from each other. You want the reactions to be genuine, so keeping everything under wraps is a great way to make sure you produce a few real smiles with your words. 

Wedding Vow FAQs

If you still have a few questions about how to write wedding vows, there are still more answers to be found! Whether you need help with vow ideas or you’re uncertain about specific rules surrounding the process, these questions will shed some light on the most common concerns couples have. 

wedding vow FAQ

1. Do All Wedding Services Allow Custom Vows?

Custom wedding vows are not allowed for all ceremonies. Civic ceremonies are flexible and allow couples to infuse personal rituals into the event. If you’re marrying in a strict religious institution, however, you need to speak with your officiant in advance. There is a strong chance you will be told that you are not allowed to pursue this option, so be prepared for this news. 

2. Do We Need To Keep Our Vows a Secret?

While it is recommended that you keep your vows a secret, this isn’t a rule of thumb that you absolutely need to adhere to. Some people really want to hear feedback from their partners when it comes to tasks like this. Even though you’re writing personal and emotional thoughts down that you plan on sharing later, there’s nothing wrong with discussing your vows with each other before the big day. Some couples even write joint vows to make the activity a bonding experience. Do whatever feels most comfortable!

3. Should I Mention Children in the Vows?

If either you or your significant other have children from your previous relationships, then you can definitely feel free to mention them in your vows. In fact, couples often refer to other family members as a way of building excitement for the future and the family that is being formed. 

4. How Do Couples Keep All These Promises?

Wedding vows include a ton of promises for the future. Whether you take the romantic approach and make all sorts of sweet comments about the nice ways you’ll treat your partner or you make your vows silly, the promises should still have a ring of truth. Try not to make any promises you know you can’t keep. While breaking your vows is not the end of the world, couples want to make promises and commit to following through. Make it easy on yourself from the start by being realistic with what you promise.  

5. How Long Should My Vows Be?

You definitely want to keep your wedding vows short and to the point. Again, this is not a speech. At most, your vows should each take about a minute to get through. If you time the vows out and find you’re talking for more than three minutes, you have definitely got some cuts to make. It might be difficult to find the perfect cuts, but you’ll see success by committing to the editing process.

6. Who Says Their Vows First?

This is entirely up to you. Tradition states that the groom speaks first, but this is an antiquated point of view. Same-sex couples, for example, follow the path of discussing with each other who should speak first. Heterosexual couples also follow this practice these days, so who speaks first is entirely up to you. 

Wedding Vows Examples

Whether you’re looking to write non-traditional wedding vows or traditional wedding vows, having examples can be critical to your success. These are a few different approaches you can take when it comes to your vows, from funny wedding vows to non-religious wedding vows. Take a look at these examples of vows you can use for everything from your wedding to a vow renewal ceremony. 

how to write wedding vows - traditional wedding vows

[Name], I take you to be my lawfully wedded [husband/wife]. Before these witnesses, I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you with all of your faults and your strengths as I offer myself to you with all of my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and I will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.” – Traditional Wedding Vow

See also: Traditional Wedding Vows for Different Religions

religious wedding vows

“[Name], I love you. I want to be your [husband/wife] so that we might serve Christ together. Through all of the uncertainties and trials of life, I promise to be faithful to you and love you, so that together we may grow in the likeness of Christ and that our home may be a praise to Him.” – Religious Wedding Vow

non-religious wedding vows

“…, I take you as my wife/ husband, with your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.” – Non-religious Wedding Vow

See also: Non-Religious Wedding Vows Examples and Tips for Your Big Day

same-sex wedding vow - how to write wedding vows

“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my lifelong spouse (or wife or husband). I will support, honor, and cherish you through all the circumstances we may face, and I will never stop celebrating our love.” – Same-sex Wedding Vow

See also: 23+ Gay Wedding Vows: Guide to Writing Wedding Vows for LGBT Couples + Samples

funny wedding vows - how to write wedding vows

“I vow to learn all shades of lipstick that you use.” – Funny Wedding Vow

See also: Funny Wedding Vow Examples and Tips That Will Make You Guests LOL

Final Thoughts!

When it comes to learning how to write wedding vows, there are many different paths you can take. You want to stay true to yourself and the relationship you have with your partner. Give yourself time to review different ideas and be sure to consult a wedding script when you need guidance on the layout. The more time you give yourself for this task, the easier it will be to get in front of all your family and friends and exchange promises of love for eternity.