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Picture this: You’re well-versed in rom-coms and you’re full of ideas for personalized vows that you’re sure will melt your partner’s heart (and probably your mom’s, too). Weeks and months pass, and now you’re a week out from your W day with a recycling bin full of rejected vow drafts. What’s a Broke-Ass to do???
Let’s back it up a sec. Writing your vows can seem scary — especially if you’re experiencing comparison-itis after having just watched some lovey-dovey wedding scene that left you in a puddle, with or without Channing Tatum. (One of my favorite wedding scenes of all time, y’all.) Today we’re going to take the fear out of vow writing, Alton Brown style!
From a purely structural standpoint, vows are simple — and binary! YAY, MATH. If you can count to two, and follow two simple steps, then I promise: YOU GOT THIS.
Before You Get Started: Tips For Writing Your Wedding Vows
- Know that you don’t have to write your own vows. You can follow your officiant’s script and never think up, write down or remember a single word. Only write your vows if you’re moved to do so.
- Sometimes, due to poor acoustics, lackluster sound equipment or an inability to squeak out audible language in the moment, the couple can’t be easily heard by guests while speaking their vows. Bottom line: Your vows are for yourself and your partner. (And of course the officiant legally has to hear you both say “I do.”) Don’t stress about your vows, and don’t worry about what others might think. But do keep them PG-rated.
- Talk about it with your partner. Will you write your vows separately, and surprise your partner? Will you write them together? Will you both repeat the same vows (traditional), or will you each write different vows (nontraditional)?
- Start with a template. (We’ll get to that in a sec.) Whether you’re writing them together or separately, it will help if you choose a template so you’re on the same page.
- Get inspired. Surround yourself with music, poetry, photos and things that remind you of your partner.
- Use the medium that suits you. Type it out, write it longhand, record a voice memo or video on your phone or paint it on a canvas. The more relaxed and creative you are with your medium, the easier it will be for the words to flow.
- Remove distractions. Choose a place where you’ll be uninterrupted and turn off your phone.
- Leave out the inside jokes and embarrassing details, but feel free to share funny moments from your past. Your vows don’t have to be all serious.
- Keep your vows short and sweet. Two short paragraphs — or two minutes — is plenty! Two Steps, Two Minutes. You can handle that, right?!
- Finally, practice speaking your vows out loud — over and over again until you feel comfortable enough to almost go without the paper — and then print out three copies (one for the officiant, one for yourself and a backup for an attendant to hold in case something happens to your copy). Even if you don’t need it, the printed version will be like your security blanket.
Writing Your Vows In Two Steps
Step 1: Write About The Feels
Directly address your partner by name, and say something genuinely awesome about who they are. Name some reasons why you love your partner and why they give you All The Feels, All The Time. Tell them you love them.
Step 2: Write Your Promise to Your Partner
This is the really important part. It’s the part where you say out loud what you are committing to your partner. Each couple and relationship is a little different, but don’t be afraid to use traditional commitment phrases here if it suits you. If your ceremony is religious, this is the section where you talk about how your beliefs will shape your marriage. In this section you can talk about the ring or symbol you’re using to represent your commitment — or not. (It’s usually the point in the ceremony when you would exchange rings.)
Sample Wedding Vows
Quirky & Creative
(Partner’s Name), you are my unicorn. You’re beautiful, compassionate, smart and spirited, and you show everyone around you a kindness that is pure and magical. Loving you makes me better … makes me sparkle. I love you, and I’m so excited that I get to do it forever.
I promise to love you no matter what, and to surf life’s calm or crashing waves with you. I’ll always have your back, and when it’s my turn to lead, I’ll be your shield. I promise to love, respect and support you in every way, every day, for all time.
Classic & Minimalist
(Partner’s Name), every day I’m grateful to know and love you. You are patient, kind and generous with your love. I am the luckiest person in the world to be standing next to you today, and to be sharing a partnership with you.
I promise to be your friend and equal partner in all things, through all life’s celebrations and challenges, and to be a faithful and loving wife for all the days of my life.
So what do you think of the Wedding Vows 2-Step?
– Party on!
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