Tips for Writing Traditional Wedding Vows

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Wedding VowsWhether you are a groom to-be, bride-to-be, or the mother of the bride or groom, it’s important to understand that the actual wedding vows represent the true ‘heart and soul’ of any wedding.  As such, these words require deep thought, which makes the process of finding the perfect words a great opportunity to solicit feedback from people you care about.  Generally speaking, I advocate that the happy couple write the wedding vows themselves first, and then ask their parents for feedback.  But of course this begs the question; what is the best way to find the inspiration for writing the vows in the first place?

Determining the Structure of Your Wedding Vows

First, you will need to decide on a couple of things.  The first consideration is the personalities and religious affinities of you and your significant other.  For example, do you want the vows to be heart-tugging or a little more light-hearted?  Do you want your vows to be true to your religion or would you prefer them to be more agnostic in nature?  You will also need to decide if both you and your spouse-to-be will be saying the same exact words, or if you’ll each have your own version.

Once you’ve figured out the overall structure, tone and context of your wedding vows, it’s time to get down to the business of finding the right words to convey your feelings.  And the good news is that there are a few ways to go about this.

Finding Inspiration

The most obvious approach is to do some research online.  Do a Google search and you will easily find dozens if not hundreds of examples.  Highlight snippets that you like – these can be used as tools to write your own, or you could even mix and match a bunch of snippets and use the end result as your wedding vows.  Here is a good example of a site with lots of wedding vow examples.  You could also “borrow” key phrases from other things that you love, such as your favorite book, song, poem or film.

Whatever you decide to put down on paper, do not make any changes right away.  Basically, what you are doing here is a brain dump, so you want the thoughts to flow freely without interruption.  Just write what you feel, and go back and make updates, revisions and other edits a couple of days later.  This will allow for a period of reflection, which will lead to a more thoughtful and sincere end result.  Once you’ve polished up the final version, handwrite it in a high quality journal or on your wedding stationary.  This way, you can keep your vows in your collection of wedding memories forever.

Rules of Thumb

As you write down your vows, remember a few rules of thumb.  First, do not forget to include a phrase such as “I would love for you to be my [spouse]” or something along those lines.  This phrase represents the actual vow and thus your wedding vows would be incomplete without it.  Also, keep your vows relatively short.  Anything more than a couple minutes per spouse will quickly become tedious and boring.  To ensure that your vows don’t bore your wedding guests, keep them to 5-10 sentences.   Finally, rehearse your vows in advance.  This will allow you to determine whether your vows are too lengthy, and will allow you to practice your voice tone, inflection and volume.  No doubt, rehearsing your vows will boost your confidence and will make for a smoother and less stressful experience during the actual wedding.


The bottom line is that writing your wedding vows is an important process that requires time, effort and sincerity.  These words really do mean a lot, so don’t skimp on the process!  Take your time, research examples, and think long and hard about what you want to convey.  Do it right, and at the end of the day you’ll be glad that you did.  Good luck!

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