How to write the perfect wedding vows for your big day
12th January 2022
by Tara W.
You’ve found someone you love, care deeply about and you’ve decided to get married. It’s coming up to the big day itself and you or your partner suggest writing your own vows – but where do you start?
If you haven’t done any creative writing since school, starting to write your own vows can be a formidable task. Even if communicating the way you feel about your partner might seem like a normal thing to do, thinking of your closest friends and family listening in can make the task much more challenging. The key to writing successful vows is simple: don’t panic. Take a deep breath, think about how you feel when you think of your partner and start putting pen to paper.
What are the traditional wedding vow basics?
Writing your wedding vows doesn’t have to be a chore. The reason most people write their own wedding vows is to express themselves completely to the person they love and to tell your guests the story of your love and make honest, reliable promises to your partner for the world to hear on your big day.
Tell them you love them
Telling your partner you love them is the best place to start! It can be an easy thing to forget, only because it seems so obvious, you wouldn’t be marrying someone you didn’t love. It can be as simple as saying those three words, or an essay on every little thing about them that you adore, but remembering to say I love you is a fundamental rite of passage in writing your own marriage vows.
Reassure them you’ll be there for them
“In sickness and in health” is the traditional wedding vow that promises your partner you’ll be there for them no matter what, but it can seem a little outdated or even cheesy nowadays. The sentiment is an important one: I’ll be there for you.
Of course, every relationship has boundaries and promising to be there for someone no matter what isn’t always the exact wording you might want to use, but saying that you love them for how they are, you will stand by their side through hard times and you’ll remember to turn on the heating when it gets to winter are all conveying your support for your partner.
Share some stories
Giving your wedding vows authenticity might seem superfluous, they know you love them right? And they were there for all those funny stories anyway. But it’s not about that. It’s about telling them your favourite little quirks about them, a time that you overcame the odds together or just appreciating the time that you’ve spent falling in love with each other. Sharing personal stories also allows your guests an insight into your relationship, so if you have a slightly rocky relationship with your nearest and dearest, it’s a way of telling them “I’ve got this and I really do love them”.
Promise them realistic things
Never lose sight of why you’re getting married in your vows. You can have funny stories and tell them you love them, but marriage is a serious commitment to someone. You’ve gathered your loved ones together to promise in front of witnesses that you will love and support each other in a legally binding way, so don’t skip the promises! The promises don’t need to be serious or heavy, they can be symbols of your love – like promising to help around the house or promising to always be there when they need a cup of tea. Realistic promises are the foundation of a good relationship, so keep it real and maybe throw in some more mundane commitments amongst the “I’ll love you forever and ever” part of your wedding vows (although they are important too!).
Ask the people you love to stand by you
The reason you’ve brought all your friends and family together isn’t just the legal requirement for witnesses, all of your guests are part of your wedding. The people present on your big day all care about you, they are also entering into this new phase of your life with you as you decide to dedicate yourself to your partner. Acknowledging the help that you will need from them – and the support and love they’ve shown you up until now – is a fundamental part of your wedding day. Telling stories about your friends and your partner in your vows is a great way to help them feel truly included in your wedding day.
Top tips on writing your wedding vows
First things first, starting to write your vows is the biggest task of all. Once you have a few ideas of your direction and what you want to say to your partner, the words will flow out as if you threw two coins into the Trevi fountain (it’s rumoured that if you throw two coins into the water you will fall in love). Here are some tips on how to start writing your wedding vows:
Take your time
There might be a date in the diary, but take your time writing your vows. A last minute rush never looks good on anyone, especially not if you’re rushing to promise you love someone! The time you take to craft and refine your vows is a reflection of the care and love you feel towards the person you’re marrying, so set aside some time and start writing your vows as far in advance as possible. That way they will be perfect on the big day itself.
Start with a list
Or a brainstorm, or a selection of doodles. A blank page is the most daunting part of writing anything, the sooner you get something (anything) down in writing, the serious work can begin and you can start putting together your ideas and editing out the less-than-loving ones. However you organise your thoughts, you should feel free to express yourself and get in touch with your feelings. Remember that as well as writing something for your partner, you’re writing something for you.
Draft first – then draft again
The best thing to do when writing your vows is to write them, then leave them. Leaving your first draft alone for a week or so will give your brain time to rest and will let you get some better perspective on what exactly you want to say or if you’ve missed anything out. Drafting and redrafting takes time, but it will help you get to the core of what you want to say without rambling. Redrafting will help you feel confident saying your vows in a room full of people and will help you figure out the most important parts of your relationship.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep! Even though traditional wedding vows favour phrases like “always” and “never”, promising an ideal that is impossible to achieve. Try substituting absolutes for promises about making each other happy and treating them how they deserve to be treated.
Tell them how you really feel
Be as cheesy as you want to. This is your opportunity to seize your emotions and write the love poem you’ve always been afraid to write for the person who you love. Embrace your sentimentality and lay it all on the table.
Make them laugh
Funny vows are underrated. Making your loved one laugh is the best way to kick off a marriage.
Don’t be afraid to borrow a couple of lines
If your partner loves films, books or songs then don’t be afraid to plagiarise. Some people find it difficult to say the right thing – but there’s no need to be overly creative when Taylor Swift can do it for you.
Reading out loud and adding pauses where you can gather yourself (or let people laugh/cry/both) is a great way to make your vows sound natural, authentic and improves the way that you might structure the vows themselves.
Get a friend to help
Find someone that can give you constructive criticism and maybe even can provide some insight into which parts of your vows need a little editing work.
Re-write or get your vows printed for your ceremony
There’s nothing worse than meticulously preparing your vows and re-reading and re-writing until they are perfect only to get to the big day itself and have a sad scrap of paper left to read them off! Re-writing or re-printing them on fresh paper or even using a vow book will help you get in the marriage mood on the day.
Keep them a secret
Don’t tell your partner what you’re going to say – no matter how much they ask. Vows should be an expression of love and a gift to start your marriage together with a loving surprise. Keeping your vows secret lets you have space from your partner when you’re writing them, too, which is key to being able to truly express yourself.
Five questions to answer in your vows
After you’ve started your vows, you need to keep going. For those experiencing a little writer’s block, it’s best to find questions to answer in your vows. Answering the key questions helps with your structure as well as your content – so, without further ado, here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re writing your vows:
• 1. How long do I want this to be?
• 2. Should I share our private jokes?
• 3. Do I go for laughs or cries?
• 4. Shall I keep it traditional?
• 5. What would I say to them if I could say anything?
The best (and most original) wedding vow examples
If you’re still struggling for wedding vow inspiration, here are some of the tried and tested vows from years passed. Although love is universal, building on the example of these vows will personalise your wedding day and show your partner you truly care about them.
Traditional wedding vows
• I love you and I know that this love is from God. I want to be your partner so that we might serve Christ together. Through all of the uncertainties and trials of the present and future, I promise to be faithful to you and love you. I promise to guide and protect you as Christ does his church, as long as we both shall live.
• I take you to be my life partner, before God who brought us together, to love and cherish you even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to lead you and share all of life's experiences with you by following God through them.
• In faith, honesty, and love, I take you to be my wedded one, to share with you God's plan for our lives together united in Christ. And with God's help, to strengthen and guide me, I will be a strong spiritual leader for us in our life, for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health, in joys, in sorrows, until death do we part.
• I love you and thank the Lord for the love that bound our hearts and lives together in the spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honour, and cherish you always. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God's grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.
• I promise to love you above all others and to value you in my life as a precious gift. I look forward to raising our family and building our relationship under the care and guidance of God. I promise to stand beside you as your partner and friend in sickness or health, in times of prosper and decline, in peace and in turmoil, as long as we both shall live.
Wedding vows for him
• Give me your bad hair days, your long commutes, your burnt coffee, and lost keys. Give me your everyday, and I will give you my love to make it alright.
• Today, I promise to be your navigator and sidekick in all of life's adventures. I promise to be your best friend and your husband. I promise you myself completely.
• Your love gives me hope. Your smile gives me joy. You make me a better man.
• When I am with you everything else fades to the background. You flood my senses with joy. You are my life, my greatest gift. I'm so lucky to call you my loving wife.
• My life is forever entangled with yours from this day on. My dreams are your dreams, and I'll build it all around you.
• Forever with you simply will not be enough, but from this day forward, I vow to make the most of every moment.
• Today I join my life to yours, not simply as your husband, but as your friend, your lover, and your biggest supporter. Let me be the shoulder you lean on and the companion of your life.
• With this ring I promise you that you'll never have to face the world alone.
• I promise to be there to catch you if you should stumble, carry you over every threshold, and fall in love with you every day.
• I pledge today to have all the patience and passion that love demands. In the laughter and in the silence, I'll be forever by your side.
• You're everything that I ever dreamed of and everything I will ever need. Our love for each other is heaven sent. Today I vow to be here with you and for you, forever and always.
• I love you more fiercely with every second that slips through our hands. With you, I can make the most of my days.
• You have taught me that two people joined together with respect, trust, and open communication can be far stronger and happier than each could ever be alone. You are the strength I didn't know I needed, and the joy that I didn't know I lacked. Today, I choose to spend the rest of my life with you.
• You have made me the happiest man in the world today by agreeing to share your life with me. I promise to cherish and respect you. I promise to care for you and protect you. I promise to comfort you and encourage you. I promise to be with you for all of eternity.
• I promise to love you for who you are, and for who you are yet to become. I promise to be patient, and to remember that all things between us are rooted in love. I promise to nurture your dreams and to help you reach them. I promise to share my whole heart with you, and to remember to show you how deeply I care for you, no matter the challenges that may come our way. I promise to love you loyally and fiercely—as long as I shall live.
Wedding vows for her
• I love you with my whole heart with a passion that can't be expressed in words, only in kisses, glances, and years of adventure by your side.
• I promise to be your honest, faithful, and loving wife for the rest of my days.
• I pledge to honour you, love you and cherish you as my husband today and every day.
• Today I say, "I do" but to me that means, "I will". I will take your hand and stand by your side in the good and the bad. I dedicate myself to your happiness, success, and smile. I will love you forever.
• You are my every dream come true, and I can't wait for the reality we get to build together.
• I promise to be your guiding light in the darkness, a warming comfort in the cold, and a shoulder to lean on when life is too much to bear on your own.
• Give me your hand, and I will give you forever.
• You are loved more than any metaphor can ever try to express – my love, my husband.
• I vow to always protect you from harm, to stand with you against your troubles and to look to you when I need protection.
• "There is no remedy for love" says Thoreau, "but to love more". Today and forever I will follow his advice and seek my remedy in your arms.
• You make me laugh, you make me think, and above all, you make me happy.
• I promise to be your navigator, best friend, and wife. I promise to honour, love, and cherish you through all life's adventures. Wherever we go, we'll go together.
• I choose you and promise to choose you as my husband every day we wake. I will love you in word and deed. I will laugh with you, cry with you, scream with you, grow with you, and craft with you. To be your kin and your partner in all of life's adventures is all I could hope for in the world. Loving what I know of you and trusting what I don't yet know, I give you my hand. I give you my love. I give you myself, the good, the bad, and the yet to come.
• You love me in love and complete me in ways I never knew possible. From this day forth, I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your successes and mourn your losses as though they were my own. I will love you, my husband, and rejoice in your love for me for all of the years of our lives.
• Today, surrounded by all of your loved ones, I choose you to be my husband. I am proud to be your wife and to join my life with yours. I vow to support you, inspire you, and love you always. For as long as we both shall live, I will be by your side–for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. You are my one and only today and every day.
Funny wedding vows
Sometimes making someone laugh is the key to their heart. A wedding can be a long, serious affair, so throwing in some light humour into your vows can be the ideal way to break any over-serious tension that has amounted over the course of the ceremony.
• I vow to always put you first, even during football season.
• I promise to never keep score, even when I'm clearly winning.
• You're the French fries to my chocolate shake.
• When I say, "I do," I don't mean the dishes.
• I promise to hire a professional, even if I really want to try to do it (and probably make it worse) myself.
• I promise to continue to make your friends jealous of our amazing relationship.
• I promise to unclog the tub, even though you are the only one of us with long hair.
• I vow to take your hand when it's too dark, and the dog out when it's too early.
• I promise to love you for eternity and to trust you with my credit card.
Now that you’ve got started writing your vows, have you ever thought about what your wedding ring itself might symbolise? The meanings and origins of the ring-giving tradition are more than a representation of your new life together, it is an emblem of love. If you’re looking to personalise your wedding rings, we have ten romantic wedding ring engraving ideas to inspire you to make your band unique.