Maybe he had you at hello, or maybe you took a little longer to come around to his wily charms. Either way, the guy you’ve promised to stand beside forever and ever (yep, that’s a long time) no doubt holds a pretty special space in your heart right now. There are literally handfuls of things you love about him, right? So why, when you try to put them down on paper to write your wedding vows, can you suddenly not think of one?
Image: MM Photos
Don’t freak, this doesn’t mean you two aren’t meant to be wed – almost everyone finds it hard to transform those big, life-altering feelings into a string of coherent words. First up, when you’re writing your wedding vows, you need to make sure you and your fiancé are both on the same page. Some questions to discuss: are you each going to write your own, or will you write them together? Will you show them to each other before the ceremony? Alternately, you can opt to write your vows together and even recite the exact same promises. If there’s more you wish to say privately, say it in cards you exchange on the day of your wedding or on your honeymoon.
It’s a good idea to plan an outline for your vows together, which can help to establish a structure that you both stick to. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiancé is, then about how amazing you are as a couple, then about what you’re vowing to each other. Also consider the overall tone that you want. Humorous and touching? Poetic and mushy? It’s your call; the most important thing is that your vows ring true and sound like they’re from your heart. And lastly, keep it short and sweet.
So, once you’ve discussed the logistics you two are ready to write your wedding vows. Need a hand? Just take it one word at a time – to help you think of words to include, take turns answering this list of questions. When you’re done, look through your answers for the phrases that best capture your message and then voila- you’ll have your vows. Ready, set… go!
Image: MM Photos
What did you think when you first saw him/her? Start from the beginning — maybe you didn’t want to go out that night and now you’re oh-so grateful your friends dragged you to the pub?
“The day we met, __________, and after we first spoke I felt __________.”
When did you realise you were in love? The more specific you are able to be, the more touching the story. Was it when he helped you bring your sick puppy to the vet? Don’t underestimate the power of humour. Throw in at least one more playful sentiment (like when she recited Ricky Pontings’ batting average…).
“I knew I was in love when ____________.”
What do you have now that you didn’t have before you met? Focus on the heart and head, not material possessions. Has she taught you to appreciate beauty differently? Has he helped you learn to savour creating a home-cooked meal?
“Before I met you, I ___________. Now I ___________.”
How has your world view changed? Life has likely gotten better since the two of you joined forces, so tell everyone about it. If you’re having trouble, think about the new things you’ve tried with your mate – what have you experienced together that you never would have on your own?
“Because of you, I see the world __________. “
What do you miss most when you’re apart? This will probably be something mundane but powerful – what about his smile first thing in the morning, or the way she puts out your lucky mug for your morning coffee?
“You are such a part of me that when you’re gone, I __________.”
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? 20 years? 40 years? Go deeper than happily married in a big house. What are your long-term hopes, dreams, and goals?
“I look forward to __________, laughing and __________ as we __________.”
Is there a line from a movie, song, or poem that says it all? It’s OK to borrow, as long as it’s not too much of a cliché (we’re sorry, but “You complete me” is suffering from serious overuse). Instead modify something familiar to personalise.
“I watch you ________, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
Do parts of the traditional vows resonate with you? Maybe you’re not so sure about the obey part, but can you really go wrong with love, cherish, and…? Add a funny reference at the end if you’re keen to keep it lighthearted.
“I promise to cherish, honour and ____________ you, all the days of my life… especially when curled up on the couch with takeaway.”
Can you think of a funny or touching experience that put your partner in a new light? Like how the way he played with your little cousin or helped your grandmother up the stairs showed you that under his macho exterior is a sweet soul and you love him for it.
“When you ____________, I saw you for the _____________ person you are. And that made me want to ____________.”
Is there a harrowing experience that strengthened your bond? Perhaps he took care of you when you needed it most.
“When I ____________, and you _____________ it made me realise that ____________.”
What goals and values do you both have? Stating your common bond may just expose your inner Wordsworth. These ties – whether your shared faith or your mutual love of wine — will also help demonstrate why you’re a perfect pair.
“I love how we share ___________, so together we can ___________.”
What about him/her inspires you? What quality in your fiancé would you like to cultivate in yourself? What do you most respect about your partner?
“Your ___________ has shown me how to be___________.”
What promise can you make to signify your devotion? Here’s an opportunity to personalise your vows — many couples pledge their endless love, but how many promise to take the dog out in the morning, even in the rain?
“I promise to always ___________.”
How will you change together? You know what your goals are — think about the steps the two of you will need to take together to reach them.
“I look forward to ___________ as we __________.”
What metaphor would capture your love? Think of something that describes or defines your love: Is it strong like a castle? Peaceful like a mountain stream?
“Our love is like a ___________ because it ___________.”
Why are you entering the bond of marriage? Think about why marrying your fiancé is so special. You may be surprised how the answer leads you to the perfect words.
“To me, marriage is ___________. With you, it’s ___________.”
What will keep your marriage strong? Find the bedrock of your relationship. What makes your relationship tick? Is it your resilience? Your shared sense of humour?
“Even when ___________, we will have ___________.”
What are you most looking forward to about married life? The wedding is just the beginning.
“I look forward to ___________ as we embark on ___________.”
What do you expect out of married life? Defining your expectations will help you make and keep promises. Think about your dreams, and what you’ll have to vow to do to make them come true.
“I know our marriage will ___________ and I vow to ___________.”
What words do you associate with love? Make a list of romantic terms so you can avoid overusing love — too many repetitions dilute its power.
“My devotion/adoration/ passion is ___________.”
Do you have any tips for writing your own vows, Knotties?
WANT MORE? Real Wedding Vows You’ll Love
by Rebecca Hanley & The Knot