Whether you want a traditional church wedding or a more modern ceremony, wedding vows can make your special day even more memorable. After all, what could be more impactful than sharing your innermost feelings, hopes, and promises with your partner in a few short minutes?
Yet, as beautiful as wedding vows may be, they are also not easy to write. If you and your partner have decided to exchange them during the ceremony, you’ll need to put some serious thought into it all. And luckily, this article’s here to help with a few tips and ideas.
What Are Wedding Vows?
As the name implies, wedding vows are promises each spouse makes to the other during their wedding ceremony. They are typically found in the Western Christian tradition, while other religions, including Eastern Christianity, don’t usually have them.
Although they are common in the West, no law actually requires them. In fact, a couple can choose not to have them at all, and their marriage is still as valid as anyone else’s.
Regardless, wedding vows are an important part of the ceremony for many couples. They are an expression of each partner’s love for the other, as well as a summary of their hopes and dreams for the future.
Sharing wedding vows is an intimate, meaningful moment that neither spouse is likely to forget. So, it’s no wonder that quite a lot of thought has to go into writing these words.
Not everyone chooses to write their own wedding vows, though. In fact, Christian churches usually have wedding vow templates you can use instead. Those come in forms that may already be familiar to you from films and other media. For example, a typical wedding vow may go as follows:
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
Depending on where you are and what kind of church you’re in, this template may have slight variations. Still, it’s unlikely to deviate much from this example.
How Long Should Wedding Vows Be?
Although wedding vow templates can be convenient, you may feel that they are too generic and impersonal. In that case, you’ll want to write your own wedding vows and show your partner exactly how much they mean to you. However, that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, and you may face many doubts and questions before you begin.
And one of the first questions is how long the wedding vows should be. Is there some sort of a limit or a word count expected of you? Well, not quite, but a good rule of thumb is not to make them too short or too long. You don’t want your spouse to think you have nothing to say, but you also shouldn’t make the guests listen to your 10-minute speech.
In fact, most wedding vows last between 45 seconds and two minutes, so you should aim for that length too. That, of course, means you’ll have to rehearse and edit the vows a few times as you write. But all of that is worth it — it’s what your partner deserves, after all.
How to Write Wedding Vows
So, we got length out of the way, but that doesn’t mean everything’s clear about wedding vow writing. Actually, now that you have a time limit, figuring out what to say and how to say it may seem even more difficult. Luckily, here are a few tips that will help you write a perfect set of wedding vows.
1. Start on Time
In films and TV shows, it’s not uncommon for a character to sit down a few hours before the ceremony and, overwhelmed by inspiration, write fantastic vows that bring tears to everyone’s eyes.
But this sort of thing never happens in reality. In fact, if you wait until the last minute to write your vows, you’ll be stressed and won’t have any time to rehearse. And that can only end in a disaster.
So, make sure to finish writing your vows a few weeks before the ceremony. That way, you’ll have plenty of time for rehearsal and any changes you might want to add.
2. The First Draft Shouldn’t Be Perfect
When you begin writing your first draft, allow yourself the freedom to jot down whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about structure or length at this point — just put your thoughts about your spouse and marriage on paper. Once all your ideas are out there, it will be much easier to choose your favorite ones and focus on those.
3. Be As Sentimental As You Want
Are you worried that your wedding vows might sound cheesy? Well, don’t be — if there’s ever a time for sentimentality, it’s on your wedding day! What matters is letting your partner know how much they mean to you and speaking from the heart. Nothing else is worth thinking about.
4. Use Books, Poems, or Movies As Inspiration
Of course, you shouldn’t copy your vows from a book or a movie. But if there is a sentence or an idea that sums up your feelings well, you should include it or use it as your starting point. Or, if you and your partner have a favorite song, putting some lyrics into your wedding vows can be quite effective.
5. Don’t Shy Away from Humor
Wedding vows represent a serious commitment, which is why you may not think humor is appropriate. But we disagree — making your partner and the audience laugh can truly elevate the ceremony. So, while you shouldn’t overdo it with jokes, including a funny anecdote that reflects your feelings might be a good idea!
6. Don’t Include Everything
You may have a lot to say to your partner but remember — the time limit is two minutes. So don’t try to include all your thoughts and feelings in your wedding vows.
Instead, stick to the most important ones that perfectly sum up your relationship and your wishes for the future. You’ll have plenty of time to tell your spouse the rest of it after the ceremony!
7. Practice Reading Out Loud
Putting your wedding vows down on paper is just the first step — now you also need to practice reading them. After all, you’ll be delivering the vows to your spouse and the guests in a speech, so rehearsal is a must. If you go without any, your nerves will likely get the best of you, and you want to avoid that.
In fact, if you have a close friend or relative you feel comfortable with, you could ask them to listen to your rehearsals. That way, you’ll be better prepared for delivering the speech later, and you can receive some feedback and tips.
Wedding Vows Examples
Do you need some additional inspiration for writing your wedding vows? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This article picked a few excellent wedding vow examples to get you in the mood for writing.
1. Romantic Wedding Vows
“I promise to love you for who you are and for who you are yet to become. I promise to be patient, and to remember that all things between us are rooted in love. I promise to nurture your dreams and to help you reach them.”
“I promise to share my whole heart with you and to remember to show you how deeply I care for you, no matter the challenges that may come our way. I promise to love you loyally and fiercely — as long as I shall live.”
“The sun smiles on us today, our wedding day, and how can it not. With our hearts beating together as one, our love warms the world. I love you with all my heart.”
“You’re my love, light, and soulmate. You’re the person that keeps me singing, smiling, and laughing. I give you this ring as a sign of my love that’s forever, eternal, and never-ending, like the circle in this ring.”
2. Religious Wedding Vows
“I promise to love you above all others and to value you in my life as a precious gift. I look forward to raising our family and building our relationship under the care and guidance of God. I promise to stand beside you as your husband/wife and friend in sickness or health, in times of prosperity and decline, in peace and in turmoil, as long as we both shall live.”
“I love you and thank the Lord for the love that bound our hearts and lives together in the spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor, and cherish you always. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God’s grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.”
3. Funny Wedding Vows
“Let’s be dumb together—just plain stupid. Make bad choices, eat the wrong things, take wrong turns, and then let’s tell great stories, the same ones—forever and ever until no one can stand us but each other.”
“I want your worst—give me your bad hair days, your long commutes, your burnt coffee, lost keys, splashed shoes, annoying coworkers, lost receipts, broken copiers. Give me your everyday, and I will give you my love to make it alright.”