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How to Write Meaningful Wedding Vows: 5 Tips (With Samples)

Updated on June 25, 2014
Vows are the central part of a marriage ceremony. They should be meaningful to both of you. Consider writing your own vows together as a couple...we did it! You can too with our 5 tips.
Vows are the central part of a marriage ceremony. They should be meaningful to both of you. Consider writing your own vows together as a couple...we did it! You can too with our 5 tips. | Source

What Are Traditional Vows?

Roman Catholic:

"I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."


Episcopal:

"In the name of God, I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death -- this is my solemn vow."

Protestant:

"I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my 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, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith/myself to you."

Source

Tip 1: Consider Why

A wedding is a celebration of marriage. While it is easy to get caught up in the wedding itself, the vows are your promises to each other and they're the central part of a wedding. It's why everyone has gathered. They are a sacred covenant. A wedding without vows is just a party.

Traditional vows are beautiful, and some may prefer their simplicity. But consider, what are you saying when you commit to those vows? Are you aware of them ahead of time? Are traditional vows rote or are they truly meaningful to you? If they are meaningful to you, consider combining parts that resonate with you most with some of your own words.


1. It personalizes your commitment.

  • What things do you tell and/or do for each other to express your love? Use words you already say or things you already do for each other that you commit to continuing for the rest of your lives.
  • No other couple will have the same exact vows you do!

2. It provides opportunity for you to be on the same page before you are married.

  • What have you observed in healthy, happy marriages that you'd like to emulate?
  • What does marriage mean to you?

What if we're still not sure?

If you're still hesitant about writing your own vows...don't. That's right, you don't have to. It's your wedding! But please do read through the traditional vows together before your wedding so you are confident you want to make all those commitments to each other. Marriage is sacred!


Tip 2: Check With Your Officiant

Saying our vows at our picnic wedding.
Saying our vows at our picnic wedding. | Source
Wedding planner binder: covered in wedding words and vows, and easily personalized.
Wedding planner binder: covered in wedding words and vows, and easily personalized. | Source

In order to be legally married you need a marriage license signed by an officiant (minister, pastor, etc.). The specific vows you say do not determine your marriage eligibility. However, it is important to note that before proceeding with writing vows, you should check with your officiant to make sure it is acceptable with him/her, particularly if you are being married in a more traditional church.

Writing your own vows is becoming more acceptable, but it is always best to ask first. Our officiant actually beat us to the punch and asked us if we wanted to use traditional vows or write our own before we asked him!

Source

Tip 3: Read Vows Other Couples Have Written

It is okay if your vows are not completely original. It can be helpful to take lines you like from other couples and use those as a springboard for your vows! There are many samples online. You can also ask friends and family if they would be willing to share theirs with you.

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By Rob & Marissa Fedorow

I ____ take you ______

My constant friend, my faithful partner, and my love from this day forward…In the presence of God, our family and friends…I offer you my solemn vow…to love God and to love you… to keep Christ as the center of my life and of our relationship…and because I love you, I promise to keep it that way… I promise to allow God to work in me… to help me love you unconditionally the way he loves us… And I promise to communicate fully and truthfully… in humility and love every day… for the rest of my life.

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From the Movie "The Vow"

"I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands. To speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they're not, and to live within the warmth of your heart -- and always call it home."

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By Jen Girdish on "A Practical Wedding"

I promise to curate a faithful and fantastic marriage with you.
I promise to treat you with kindness, respect, appreciation and silliness.
I promise to participate in our relationship, even when it might be hard.
I promise to let you know when you are getting too arrogant at backgammon.
I promise to roll my eyes with you, and not at you.
I promise to make laughter an integral part of our family.
I promise to love you until I am extinct.
Thank you for marrying me.

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By Nina Callaway on "About.com"

My dear beloved. Today I am yours and you are mine, forever. My love for you is so strong that it feels limitless, boundless, able to weather any storm. I promise today to you that should storms come, I will be your shelter. I will comfort you if you are sick, keep you warm if you are cold, and find laughter and joy with you if times are hard. This is my promise to you, for now and forever.

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Simple Phrases For Your Vows

  • You are my...
  • My love for you is...
  • I offer you...
  • I promise to...
  • I will be your...

Tip 4: Keep It Simple

Your vows do not need to be a monologue. In fact, the more you boil your words down to the central ideas you want to convey, the more memorable they will be to both of you. It is easier to remember a list of 3 than 15! You need not place undue pressure on yourselves to have the most perfect vows ever spoken, if there is even such a thing. Instead, release some of that pressure and keep your words simple. May your words be few, but meaningful.

It is important to note that another reason to keeping your vows simple is illustrated in the video below. Something can always go wrong, but don't worry! As this video shows, even with traditional vows, a simple miss-pronunciation can cause uncontrollable laughter. That's okay. You will still be married and your vows will still be true! So why burden yourselves with complex vows, keep them simple!

Something Can Always Go Wrong...But That's Okay!

Questions to Get You Started:

  • What things do you say to each other to express your love? Use words you already say or things you already do for each other that you commit to continuing for the rest of your lives.
  • What have you observed in healthy, happy marriages that you'd like to emulate?
  • What does marriage mean to you?
  • 10 years from now what would you like people to say they saw in your marriage?

Did you, or are you going to, write your wedding vows?

See results

Tip 5: Just Get Started!

If you and your fiancé both want to write your own vows, the best tip is to not put it off! Don't wait until the day before your wedding! Set aside some time together and just do it! The words don't have to be perfect, just as no one is perfect, but they do need to be true. I recommend giving yourself about a month for this process (about 15-30 minutes per week).

  • Week 1: Commit to taking 15 minutes to write what comes to mind first. Decide to do this together or separately. If other thoughts come to mind later that week simply jot them down, but don't worry about the wording right now. Right now your vows are a list. Leave it be.
  • Week 2: Commit to taking another 15 minutes together or separately to come back and begin revising your list. How do you do that? Read your list out loud. Can you imagine saying that to your fiancé? If you're not sure, try it! As you do, you will probably begin to have ideas of how to change it. Make your changes, then leave it be.
  • Week 3: Go back and revise a second time by adding some personality. If you are funny, be funny. If you are serious, be serious. Be you. Speak from your heart. As with the week before, read your vows out loud, either to yourself, a friend, or your fiancé. If you don't feel comfortable saying the words or they don't sound like you, make a note and either change the wording or eliminate that part of your vows. If you DO feel comfortable saying the words, they sound like you, and you can imagine saying them to your fiancé, you may be finished! If you aren't sure, leave it be for another week.
  • Week 4: If needed, revise again. But don't spend too much more time on it. As stated before, the words will never be "perfect" so there is no need to stress. But, the words will be true. And that is all that matters!

And before you know it, you'll be married!

We wrote our own vows.  You can too!
We wrote our own vows. You can too! | Source

Take A Moment To Celebrate

You did it! You wrote your own vows! Both of you are on the same page and you know exactly what you are committing to each other. You are about to enter the most amazing relationship of your life! Congratulations!

For ideas on how to have a joyful marriage (including growing in communication, serving each other, learning each others' love languages and being on the same page with money), read our marriage hub here!

About the Author

Thefedorows is a regular contributor to Hubpages, an avid pinner, and frequent blogger.

This Hub was chosen as "rising star" accolade for the "gender and relationships" category on April 30, 2014. Thank you for your votes!

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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, fedorows,

      This is a Great Read. Very interesting, colorful phrasings, and wonderfully-creative. I voted UP and all of the choices for you deserve it. I wish you My Best on HubPages and in all of your writing pursuits. A talent like yours soon meets success.

      I cordially invite you to check one or two of my hubs, then become one of my followers. That would make my day.

      I am now going to leave you some fan mail and be following you.

      Sincerely,

      YOUR FRIEND,

      Kenneth

    • thefedorows profile image
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      thefedorows 3 years ago from the Midwest

      Wow, thank you, Kenneth! Your kind words brought a smile to my face! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and some fan mail for a new hubber like myself. I am finding Hubpages has a great community. After I post this I will check out some of your hubs! Again, thank you for your encouragement.

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