To Have and To Hold: Writing Your Own Vows

I had decided long ago that I would write my own wedding vows.

I never had any emotional connection to the traditional vows. Some brides will say that they love the idea of saying the same vows their parents and grandparents did. My parents wrote their own vows, so unless I wanted to say theirs, we were on our own.

Because C and I were getting married by a friend, we had to write our entire ceremony from scratch, including our vows. A quick Google search would have gotten us some pretty nice things to say to each other, but it wouldn’t have been personal.

If you’re for tradition, then traditional vows are for you. But if you’re not, writing your own vows gives you a chance to add a personal touch on the most important promise you will ever make. You can include the things that are important to you, your partner and your marriage, while nixing the things that aren’t.

Personally, don’t think wedding vows are one size fits all, just like marriage isn’t one fits all.

You can go one of two ways.

You can write your vows with your partner, or you can write them separately, which seems to be the more common route to take. It’s also what we see on TV and in movies when you have a couple that has decided to write their own vows. Then there’s always that scene where the guy rips up the card and speaks from his heart, bla bla bla bla bla.

Like my parents did, C and I wrote them together.

Yes, you can actually write your vows together.

We sat on the couch and talked about the promises that we wanted to make to each other. We thought hard about the things that were important in our marriage and jotted them down list-style.

Then I took about an hour turning that list into something that sounded just right. Being that I’m a professional writer, I put a lot of stress on myself to make everything sound perfect. After sending to my friend, I ended up nixing proper grammar for something that sounded better rhythmically. Blasphemy, I know.

I … promise you …. to be your best friend and trusted companion. I will support your dreams and always be faithfulI promise to stand by your side in sickness and in heath, in times of laughter and in times of tears. I will honor these vows as our love grows stronger, every day of my life.

Getting Started with Yours

Since writing your vows is about as popular as chocolate, there are a number of examples on weddings sites and blogs. Google “personalized vows” and you’ll also find some nice things to say to each other.

But, I think your future life together with your spouse is all the inspiration you need. There’s a reason why you’re marrying this person. Consider all of those reasons and how they will matter during your life together.

Your vows be long or short, funny or serious, it’s up to you.

If you want to vow that you will clean the kitchen every night or that you’ll never get fat, go for it. These are your vows and yours alone. No one should judge. I don’t LOVE when girls vow to honor and obey their husbands, but if that’s an important part of their marriage then who am I to say it’s wrong?

The one thing I do ask, and this sort of goes against what I just said, is that you actually vow something. I’d say 9 times out of 10, the personalized vows I hear don’t actually include a vow. The couple talks about how much they love each other and why they love each other and all that wonderful good stuff, but in the end, they don’t ACTUALLY promise anything.

This is not a vow.

This is a proclamation of your love. And that’s fine, but call as spade a spade. Unless you promise something, at any time, your vows are not vows. If you want to proclaim your love and then do traditional vows, then you’re fine. But if your love proclamation is not followed by any sort of vow, then you have not vowed anything.

And if you don’t want to vow anything, that’s cool, but use the proper terminology.

I’m sorry for the rant. This has been a pet peeve of mine since my father pointed it out while we watched an episode of Bridezillas.

So key points:

  • It’s OK to write your vows together.
  • Look to your future marriage and your reasons for marriage for inspiration.
  • Don’t be afraid to add your personality to your vows. They are a representation of your and your partner.
  • Actually vow something.

Happy writing!

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