An experts guide to writing vows for your wedding

If you’re wanting to start writing your vows and need a push in the creative direction, here is a guide from an expert (a real life bride to be, aka: me)! I’m the type of chilled out bride in that I know things will go wrong, I am not fussed on minor details, but I have placed undue pressure on myself on saying the right things during the ceremony. It is the most important part of the wedding, after all. So, here it is, a guide to writing vows:

An experts guide to writing vows for your wedding

An experts guide to writing vows for your wedding

So after successfully finishing my vows, (32 days out from my wedding), after three very different versions and probably too much deliberation, I want to tell you more about the process and give you some tips on how to manage the whole vow writing thing.

An experts guide to writing vows for your wedding

Firstly, the basics. How do you write vows for your wedding?

And.. what even actually are vows?

They’re the part of the wedding ceremony where you look into each other’s eyes, maybe hold hands and say some cute stuff about each other, and generally, make some promises. In the movies, it usually goes like this:

“I, (name), take you (name), to be my (husband/wife) to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward, until death do us part.”
But these days, most people write their own version. And I assume you are one of those people if you ended up here.
An experts guide to writing vows for your wedding

Warnings/Heed this advice:

Okay so before I give you the golden advice, please heed this advice specifically: Please do not “wing it” or forget what vows actually are. They are meant to be promises, and if you do not go in that direction, you risk disappointing your spouse to be, as they will expect vows to be as they are supposed to be. If you’re not keen on the whole “promises” thing, then say that to your partner straight out. Maybe you could do a reading instead! There are options here, people. Just don’t want you to end up like my friend, who stood at the front with their spouse to be and instead of actually saying any vows, thanked the guests for being there… that’s what the speeches are for!

Happy bride and groom

The legal requirements:

In Australia, you must say:
“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (name) take thee, (name), to be my lawful wedded (spouse)” or words to that effect. Keep that in mind, as it’s not the most romantic wording of all time.

Chat to your fiance

Firstly, talk to your fiance about what kind of tone you want to go with so that at least the expectations are set from the beginning. Also, logistics. Most couples choose to keep these secret until the wedding ceremony. But maybe you two hate that idea? Think about this together and decide based on what you want for your ceremony.

Groom and bride in white dress on background of the arch. Wedding ceremony. Happy family

Writing prompts:

What drew you to your partner? Why do you love them?
Why do you want to spend the rest of your life with them?
How does your partner make you feel? What do you want to promise your partner for the future of your relationship? What has your partner taught you? Are you grateful for them? Why? Why are you marrying this particular human?

If this isn’t enough for you, read through your favourite poems, books or anything else that inspires romance deep in your soul. For me, this was Lang Leav, but everyone is different.

Talk to your celebrant:

If you’re going for a marriage celebrant– then they will definitely be able to give you some tips on vows. They’ve heard so many before and know what works and doesn’t work. Our amazing celebrant gave us the advice that we should each send our drafted vows to a mutual friend to read so that just in case one of us goes down the hilarious but endearing vows route, and the other goes earth shatteringly emotional, then it may seem like there is an imbalance in the ceremony. BEST TIP EVER. So, here comes the next tip….

Send your drafted vows to a friend:

My partner and I chose a friend of both of ours that knew our history and our relationship dynamic pretty well. We chose her because we knew she was comfortable being honest with us about anything that needed to be changed and she could tell if you vows reflected our true relationship vibe. She ended up splicing all three of my versions together to make some beautiful Frankenstein-esque vows that I am now super proud of! So, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your close friends will be honoured to be included in your wedding day in any way, and will probably love getting a sneak peek into how the day is going to pan out and the whole vibe you and your fiance are planning on creating.

Send the draft to your officiant:

Once your pal has helped you make sense of your romantic word vomit, be sure to send the final version to your celebrant or officiant so that they can give it the final once over. They can give you any last minute feedback and let you know if you wrote DOUBLE what your partner wrote or anything like that. They can ensure a cohesive ceremony for the two of you.

Decide on how you want them presented:

Some celebrants offer vow printing as part of their service and will print them for you onto a card. Otherwise, consider how you’d like the vows to look in your hand. An A3 piece of paper will look odd. As will an A4, in most cases. A small card or even deciding to memorise your vows would be a nicer option. You can even get vow books these days, and give these to your celebrant to give to you on the day, containing your vows. So give some thought to how you’d like yourselves to appear at the altar and keep consistent. Don’t let your partner print off an A4 sheet while you read from a tiny palm card or memorise your vows. Awks!

If you need more tips on writing your wedding vows, click here.

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