Your vows to your soon-to-be spouse are some of the more important words you’ll say that day and likely in your life. Here are some of my thoughts on which words to use.
No doubt many couples think of writing their vows and feel a little overwhelmed. I know I did when I was trying to write mine in 2017! The pressure I put on myself while wedding planning to decide on using pre-written options or write my own words organically was already difficult, but then wanting it to be memorable for both of us simply increased the intensity. I knew I wanted us to skip the repeat-after-me stuff, but I struggled with how to express to my soon-to-be husband, Casey, the depth of my love perfectly. My heart knew what it wanted to say, but my mind could not translate those feelings into words that felt right, no matter how hard I tried.
Classic for me at the time, I put off this daunting and anxiety-producing task until the day or two before our wedding day and discovered what I should have done right away: have a deeper conversation with Casey about what our vows should look like for us as a couple. I wouldn’t say that we had been avoiding the subject in conversations, but had only really mentioned the vows aspect of our wedding casually and more as a “to do” item that we’d eventually get to. Well, it was time!!
He expressed that he liked the idea of us creating a set of vows together that we’d each read on our own, but that would be the same in content. We both believed the standard “I take you…” passage didn’t feel like us, so we did some internet searching for passages on love that we liked. From there, we grabbed pieces from each that resonated with us and pieced them together, tweaking a few words here and there, into something that represented our feelings and that we genuinely loved…
Then I forgot to press send when emailing them to our officiant.
So during our wedding the next day, when it came time to read our beautifully curated vows from our officiant’s tablet, there was only empty space under the “vows” section. It’s not that our officiant was incompetent or didn’t realize they weren’t there, he (as a long-time friend of my husband’s and knowing us as a couple) just assumed we would be bringing our own to read from. We stood there in the middle of the ceremony with 87 family and friends staring at us briefly debating what the heck happened and what we were going to do.
Finally, I looked at Casey and said, “We got this.” Then I turned to our dear family and friends and reassured them of the same thing. Everyone giggled, one of my uncles burst out laughing, and we proceeded to wing it. My impromptu vows were a hot mess. My husband’s however… were also a hot mess, but I loved them so much and they were truly from the heart, off the cuff, and he meant every word. I meant mine, too, but just wasn’t as proud of them as I was of his. For someone who often struggles to have the words, he delivered his on a silver platter and I swooned all over again. As it turns out, our perfectly planned ceremony ended up just like us: goofy, spontaneous, and absolutely wonderful.
The moral of my story is: Your vows don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be right for you.
Whether you opt to use the classic repeat-after-me, pull a newer passage from the internet, write your own words, recite song lyrics, or work together to create something that represents you both, you’re ultimately expressing your love and commitment and that is what it’s all about. All you have to do after that is put a ring on it, kiss, and start the party!
In case you are stuck on where to start, check out the following:
Sentiments to consider when writing from scratch
How do you feel about your fiancé? Your relationship?
If applicable, how has your relationship changed you or your life?
When did you realize you loved them?
What do you love about them?
What do you hope for your future as a couple?
What do want to you promise to them?
Do you have a favorite short story of your fiancé you want to share?
Is there an inside joke or unique part of your relationship you want to appreciate aloud?
If I remember correctly, for our compilation vows, I Googled things like “unique wedding vows” and “modern passages on love.” A couple of websites I found had compiled a variety of short passages and statements that made reading through lots of options very convenient. A few links for your convenience:
“35 Fun Wedding Vows for Modern Couples” by Easy Weddings
“45 Real Wedding Vows Examples to Steal” by Wedding Forward
“110+ Non-Traditional Wedding Vows” by Shutterfly
“27 Romantic Non-Religious Wedding Readings About Love and Friendship” by WeddingWire