You’re standing before the love of your life, looking them in the eyes. It’s the day you’ve been waiting for—your wedding. The time has come for you to speak the promises you wrote in your vows. If you play your cards right, your words might bring a combination of smiles, laughter, and tears. Whatever happens, it’s going to be memorable.
Personalized vows are a special way to honor your relationship at your wedding or elopement. They symbolize promise, happiness, and lifelong love. It’s your opportunity to express your commitment and excitement for the road ahead.
If you and your partner have decided to write your own vows, this guide will take you through the writing process step by step and provide some practical tips for finding inspiration.
The short answer? Your wedding vows can include anything you want. Generally, they’ll consist of a set of promises to each other and some form of expression of your love. Some people take a more sentimental approach, while others go for humor—it all depends on what feels right for your relationship.
If you observe certain cultural or religious vow traditions, you can lean into these practices or personalize them if that’s your style.
There’s no right or wrong way to write your vows. If you prefer the traditional route of repeating vows led by your officiant, go for it! However, if you want a more personal touch, this step-by-step guide will help you tackle the writing process:
An excellent first step is to do a quick search on Google. Something as simple as “wedding vow inspiration” can go a long way. For queer couples, searches like “LGBTQ+ wedding vows” or “gay wedding ceremony vows” can also bring up different ideas from other people within the community. You’ll see templates and examples—use these to spark some inspiration.
One article I really love is this story featuring a couple’s wedding journey and their personalized vows.
It’s important to note that straight and queer couples alike can follow the steps outlined in this process. Since I work with primarily queer clients, though, I want to remind those folks that drawing on ideas from other people in the LGBTQIA+ community can feel uplifting—I’m a huge advocate for representation at all parts of the wedding process!
Your vows are about your relationship. They’re about commitment, promise, and love. So, as you begin the writing journey, start with a big brainstorming session. Jot down all the thoughts and feelings that come to mind when you think about your relationship and partner. Here are some ideas:
Thinking deeply about these points can help you get more ideas on paper. Remember, just jot them out at this stage—don’t worry about organization just yet.
Now that you have a list from your brainstorm, it’s time to begin writing. The key is remembering that it doesn’t have to be perfect immediately. Just start writing, and let your emotions carry you. Here are some general pointers you can follow:
Take lots of breaks. This allows you to step away and return to your writing with a refreshed mind. Each time you return, read over what you have written and edit as needed until you feel you have nailed it.
Here are some extra tips to keep in mind during the writing process:
If you plan to have guests at your wedding, you might naturally think about crafting your vows in a way that also considers your audience. If this is important to you, go for it. However, keep in mind that at the end of the day, your vows are for your partner and relationship. So, try to keep them personal and meaningful.
If you know others who have written their own vows, ask them about their process. You can also ask other people in the wedding industry for tips, such as your officiant, planner, or photographer!
Start thinking about your vows well in advance. Your wedding is a big deal, and your love deserves lots of time and attention. Planning ahead also avoids rushing and throwing something together at the last minute—which probably won’t bring out your best work.
If one of you tends to be more anxious about public speaking, consider letting them go first so they can sit back and enjoy listening to the other person’s vows without nervous anticipation. This might be less of a worry if you plan on doing private vows or eloping with little to no guests.
While many people will recommend keeping your vows short and sweet, remember that this is your celebration. If something a little bit longer feels right, do that!
If you are still on the fence about whether or not to write your vows, here’s a list of pros and cons to think about:
If the above cons list speaks to you and personalized vows don’t feel like your thing, remember you can do whatever you want to honor your commitment. Your love is never less than just because you choose an alternative route or opt for more general vows.
If you still like the idea of doing something personal but get anxious thinking about speaking out loud, you can also go for something more lowkey. For example, try writing a cute note or letter or sharing your vows privately, away from guests.
Take your time writing your vows. Remember, there’s no right or wrong creative process, so embrace the journey as it comes! You can also talk with your partner during this time to bounce ideas off each other. Simple conversations and memorable moments together can also help inspire ideas.
Looking for a wedding or elopement photographer to help you capture special moments on your big day, like your vow exchange? Reach out to me today—I can’t wait to meet you and learn about your story!
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