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For couples excited to walk down the aisle be it indoors in a tiny, rustic chapel or outdoors in the sultry desert landscape, writing personal wedding vows can seem like a daunting task.
Yes, it can appear frightening, but it doesn’t have to be.
When you can pen these beautiful thoughts from your heart, be open and honest about your partner and relationship and believe you’re with your only true love, then the words will spill forth.
No matter what kind of ceremony you choose, your vows will define the moment on the most important day of your lives.
We’re happy to share our favorite tips on How To Write Wedding Vows, and we’ve gone to one of the best experts in the universe for smart, simple advice.
Her name is Angie, of Peachy Keen Unions, and she’s our modern minister who has performed numerous “I dos” and brought many loving couples together in Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the world.
“We all envision the perfect day with the perfect minister and perfect wedding vows,” Angie said.
“I believe that every couple’s love story is uniquely personal. Many of you want to march to the beat of a different drummer. You want to write your own wedding vows your way. These are the amazing couples I represent as an authentic Las Vegas officiant. Think of me as the eternal bridesmaid. I enjoy doting on my couples and taking care of every tiny detail.”
Angie has the wedding pedigree to prove it. “My quest to become a wedding officiant, a licensed Reverend, a Ph.D. of ceremonies, if you will, began during the planning of my own wedding. After countless interviews, I struggled to find the perfect minister.
“Not feeling comfortable with a stranger blessing my marriage or someone who was disconnected from “my love-story” or someone distracted by their own beliefs, I chose another option. I sought an officiant who was non-judgmental, unrehearsed and REAL, and that’s who I have become, too.
“I began authoring ceremonies for interfaith and cross-cultural couples. I switched careers, finishing my ordainment/licensure in 2011. I uncovered a passion for representing everyday love-stories. Contemporary, odd, even unexpected, everyone has their own l’il fairytale waiting to be shared.”
When you’re ready to start writing your own vows, we’re sure you’ll have several questions that need answers.
Angie has written up some of the most popular Q & A’s.
Her advice is excellent for those who want a ceremony on their wedding day that expresses promises to your partner in your special way.
Just because your thoughts aren’t 100-percent traditional wedding vows, they still hold the same “rest of my life” beliefs.
You can learn how to write modern vows that still express personal views of traditions like the promise to love, comfort you in times, in sickness and in health, spend the rest of your life with, husband wife, me and you faithfully, etc.
You get the idea.
How to write vows are up to you and yours.
1. What is the single most important thing to remember when writing your own wedding vows?
Be vulnerable; don’t set up for disappointment.
Disappointment typically arises from disproportion.
When a couple exchanges personal vows, we want both to walk away as heroes.
Vows need to be heartfelt and about the same length.
Whether it’s an intimate elopement for two or a full-length ceremony with family and friends watching, the goal is to avoid one party authoring pages of vows while the other replies “ditto” or speaks few words.
The average couple authors 200-250 words each (about 60 seconds of speech).
However, vows can be any length desired as long it’s an equal target.
Personalized wedding vows are a surprise for your partner, a gift.
No need to run versions by each other in advance, but have a conversation to decide on ideal length.
2. Is it okay for the couple to read directly from the paper, or should it be memorized?
I’ve presided over 1,000 weddings; only two couples memorized vows.
Many couples speak “off the cuff,” unplanned and moved by the moment, and that usually turns out well.
But for the two who memorized them, the anticipation put them into a headspace where they couldn’t be fully present and instead, were anxiously awaiting their name to be called.
Reading your vows from paper is the best.
It’s comforting and more sincere than reciting from your cell phone.
I find it quaint when vows are jotted down on the back of an airline boarding pass or hotel cocktail napkin.
However, the most successful read comes from those written/typed on cardstock.
It’s sturdy for gusty winds or being held in one hand if you’re speaking into a microphone.
Vows booklets are a darling addition and photograph well, but the ample pages are overkill.
The clunky size doesn’t fit so discreetly in a pocket/clutch.
3. Does the modern minister need to review or pre-approve the vows?
No. Your minister or officiant doesn’t need to approve your vows unless both partners are coming from very different angles and desire a third-party opinion.
For instance, maybe one of you is comical and the other, more poetic.
4. What should I say in my vows?
Anything you desire, but don’t repeat your minister’s words! If you intend on something traditional such as “I vow to be yours in good times and in bad,” “Til death do us part” or “I take you to have and to hold,” “for the days of my life,” etc., you’ll want to ensure your minister isn’t already using the same lines. Ask in advance.
When considering how to write wedding vows, avoid duplication by choosing specific, personal lines:
- AFFIRM the original feelings and how far you’ve come.
- PRAISE specific qualities about him/her that make your heart beat.
- OFFER your promise for the future.
“Kallie, of all the faces and places you’ve passed, it’s the most powerful and humbling fact to know you’ve chosen to merge your life with mine. I know without a doubt that the universe put you in front of me in that long line for passport photos because we were meant to spend our lives together fulfilling a shared sense of adventure. You’ve given me excitement and offered a sense of peace I’ve never known. You’re my ally and biggest fan. As your husband, I promise to make you laugh when you’re taking yourself too seriously and promise to hold your hand through easy times and during unavoidable struggles. I promise to be loyal and faithful, putting our marriage above all. As we continue to discover what awaits us in life, I vow to give you my words when needed and share in the silence when they’re not; to pick you up if you’re down; to love-you unconditionally; to lay my skin on yours when needed most and to care for you and our families for as long as we shall live.”
5. What is the difference between legal vows and my personal vows?
In some states, your minister is required to include a legal or contractual vow that’s equal for both parties and elicits the response of “I do” or “We do.”
Most commonly, this is satisfied by a traditional vow like that seen on television.
Personal vows to your spouse are slightly different; they’re one-sided with your opportunity to declare love and promises.
Personal vows are optional but always encouraged.
Nothing compares to hearing a couple speak their own heartfelt words!
Wedding planning can be a heady experience for even the calmest couples.
Between penning personal wedding vows to getting the dress/suit to choosing the floral bouquet and photographer, there’s plenty to consider.
Allow us to help.
We’re masters in pulling off the finest modern marriages in Las Vegas. Our team will arrange a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you.
Add A personal touch to your dream wedding with Vow Books.
McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.