Your wedding day is a time you and your spouse will remember forever. You'll spend a lifetime telling stories about how good the cake was and what your four-year-old cousin yelled during a serious moment during the ceremony that made everyone laugh. The day you declare your love to one another and make your partnership official is already a special day, but you can make it even more so by writing your own vows. These tips can help you convey every sentiment you want to get across.
In Full Knowledge of Each Other
One benefit of writing your own vows is that it lets you share the things that are unique about your love. Start your promises by talking about the things you love most about your partner and how you became a couple. The first part of your vows should answer at least one of a few common questions:
- What specific need does this person fulfill? Is she your life partner? Is he your best friend?
- How did you meet? Was it planned, or was it a happy accident?
- When did you first know you were in love?
- What do you love most about your partner?
Ideally, your vows are more than just a list of information. The best way to convey any of these answers is by telling a story. Keep it simple and sweet, and insert humor where you can.
In Good and Bad Times
Traditional vows mention the ups and downs of life, and your personal vows should do the same. Of course, you want your wedding day to be a happy one, but you also want to acknowledge that even during days and circumstances that aren't good, your love for and commitment to your partner will remain. Be as specific as possible about the things your partner can expect from you. You may want to start each statement with a phrase such as "I promise," or "I pledge," or you may decide to use a speaking style that better reflects your personality and your relationship.
While it seems romantic for each of you to keep your vows a secret until the ceremony, it may be more helpful to discuss them ahead of time. You don't have to completely ruin the surprise by going over every line together, but having intentional conversations about what each of you expects out of marriage can help you choose the promises that will mean the most to you as a couple. It's also a good way to establish healthy boundaries. For example, you may think it's charming to mention how you will always keep up with the laundry so that your partner can forget how bad he or she is at it. Your partner, on the other hand, may reveal during this conversation that this is a sensitive topic. Talking about your vows as you're writing them sets a precedent for the thousands of decisions you will make together in the future.
In Your Future Together
Finally, your vows should paint a picture of how your life together will look. Mention specific experiences you're looking forward to sharing. You don't have to limit them to big rites of passage, either. If you plan to be parents, it's good to talk about that, of course, but leave something of the ordinary days you will spend as a couple in the vows, too.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with traditional wedding vows, you may decide you want to make your promises more personal. Writing your own vows lets you and your partner share a glimpse of your relationship with loved ones and gives you something specific to remember and reflect on in the years to come.