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9 Practical Tips for Writing Your Vows

It’s that time! Your wed­ding is almost here, and if you’ve made the deci­sion to write your vows, now is a bet­ter time than any to get start­ed. Whether you’re a writer or not, here are nine use­ful tips to guide you through the process of putting the words you feel in your heart down on paper.

1. Understand what you’re writing.

Your wed­ding vows are promis­es to your part­ner. They’re words that should mean some­thing to both you and your fiance. They can be big and small, seri­ous and fun­ny, or a mix­ture of all of the above. Bot­tom line: It’s an agree­ment you’re cre­at­ing between you and your part­ner.

2. Plan ahead with your officiant.

Before you begin writ­ing your vows, it’s impor­tant to know what the offi­ciant will and won’t cov­er dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny. Try to have this con­ver­sa­tion at least one month pri­or to your wed­ding. By doing this in advance, you can then deter­mine whether you will need to include the “I do” por­tion in your vows, as well as the exchange of rings, or any­thing else that may be miss­ing oth­er­wise.

3. Write what you know.

This quote by Mark Twain will nev­er go out of style and is prac­ti­cal­ly rel­e­vant for any writ­ing task that may pop up in your life. As it per­tains to your vows, keep this in mind: Regard­less of what you think your vows should look or sound like, they belong to you. They’re your words. There are no rules. They’re your thoughts, your expe­ri­ences, and your feel­ings. It’s OK to talk about what­ev­er you want, as long as it’s true to you.

bride and groom kissing after getting married

4. Think about the present and the future.

How do you cur­rent­ly show up for your part­ner? How do you plan to show up for your part­ner lat­er in life? What does your part­ner need now? What might your part­ner need lat­er? These are all ques­tions to think about because there will be times down the road that aren’t as fun or roman­tic as plan­ning a wed­ding or going on a hon­ey­moon. Words can no doubt be beau­ti­ful, but the true test of their true beau­ty lies in the com­mit­ment to uphold­ing the respon­si­bil­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with those words.

5. Keep it simple.

It’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that you have to pep­per your vows with exquis­ite lan­guage or descrip­tions. This is non­sense. If you’re a writer and you’re up for the chal­lenge, then sure, why not? In the grand scheme of vow writ­ing, how­ev­er, it’s best to revert to lan­guage and a con­text that makes sense com­ing from you, and one that can be eas­i­ly received by your soon-to-be spouse. In oth­er words, stay clear of Shake­speare­an writ­ing unless you and your fiancé are tru­ly into medieval speak.

6. Practice stream-of-consciousness writing.

Some of the best writ­ing out there exists because of this method. To give it a try, grab a pen and paper, or open a new doc­u­ment on one of your elec­tron­ic devices. Then set a timer, say for five min­utes, and sim­ply begin writ­ing. The key here is to not stop. Since the par­tic­u­lar top­ic at hand is your mar­riage oath, use that as your guide. Write every­thing that comes to mind about your fiance and the promis­es you will uphold as a part­ner. If five min­utes seems like an eter­ni­ty start­ing out, try a small­er time frame first, like a cou­ple of min­utes. The goal is to let every­thing free flow, so it’s impor­tant to not get caught up in how words are spelled or if some­thing is gram­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect.

7. Look at sample wedding vows.

At first glance, this may sound awful, but it’s not. Research­ing what oth­er peo­ple have writ­ten is noth­ing more than anoth­er way to stim­u­late ideas. Do a search online and see what you find. Of course, if you steal some­one else’s words com­plete­ly, that’s not good. Don’t do that.

groom putting wedding ring on brides finger

8. Revisit and polish.

It’s best to start work­ing on your vows a month pri­or to the wed­ding because that’s gen­er­al­ly when all of your plans start falling into place. It also gives you a chance to write some­thing and come back to it lat­er, as much as need­ed. In all real­ness, it’s rare for any­one to have the abil­i­ty to write their vows in only one sit­ting. With that being said, give your­self per­mis­sion to write some­thing and revis­it it lat­er (with a fresh mind).  Once you’re in a good spot and you’re ready to move for­ward, look for ways to give it some finesse. Run it through a pro­gram to see if there are any writ­ing mis­takes. Take a moment to see if you’ve used the same word a few times and look for oth­er options.

9. Share your vows with someone else.

When your vows are ready to go, let a trust­ed friend read what you’ve writ­ten, pro­vid­ing you’re com­fort­able with the idea. It’s one last mea­sure you can take to exam­ine what’s there and get a boost of con­fi­dence before shar­ing them with your soon-to-be spouse on the big day.

As a final step, remem­ber to breathe and trust your­self. Writ­ing your vows is a mat­ter of know­ing why you chose your part­ner and what your inten­tions are for the years to come. Undoubt­ed­ly, these nine tips will pro­vide a frame­work for what you need and want to say.

There are so many small details that go into cre­at­ing your dream wed­ding, but that does­n’t mean you should have to stress. Gen­er­a­tion Tux lets you sam­ple your cloth­ing before the big day, in the com­fort of your liv­ing room. See what we have to offer to make your union extra­or­di­nary.

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