Stuck Writing Your Own Wedding Vows? Start With This Guide!

If you’re thinking about writing your own wedding vows, you’re probably feeling a range of things. Excitement over all the heartfelt emotions you’ll get to express towards your SO in front of all your loved ones… Worry that you might not say all that you want to say. Anxiousness over speaking before a large number of people. (This must have been the kind of pressure Freddie Mercury was talking about!)

But trust us, you can scale ANY mountain. And this one is backed by some TLC… plus, in today’s case, some advice from the experts! So buckle up and settle in because today we’re joined by Katelyn Stanis of Wedding Words who is serving up her top 5 tips for writing personalized wedding vows that will have everyone a puddle in the best kind of way!

wedding inspiration - photo by Be Light Photography https://ruffledblog.com/coastal-oregon-inspiration-with-a-show-stopping-wedding-gown
Photo by Be Light Photography from this coastal Oregon wedding inspiration

So let’s hear from Katelyn below, shall we?

“How long have you been staring at that flickering cursor on your computer? Blank paper. Too many emotions to articulate. As if wedding planning was not stressful enough, now you have to write personalized wedding vows that will somehow do justice to how you feel. Plus, you have to be emotionally prepared to recite those vows in front of everyone you know? No pressure, right?

Breathe. I’ve got you covered. As a professional wedding vow and toast writer and the creator of Wedding Words, I work with frazzled couples to turn their stressed out worries into eloquent love notes that they’re excited to publically recite come the big day.

I’m here to share my insider tips with you so you too can feel prepared, poised, and ready to write vows that will impress your fiancé and all of your guests.

Industrial and Intimate Wedding Inspiration for Two Grooms #samesexwedding #loveislove #industrialwedding
Photo by Serena Genovese Photography from this industrial same-sex wedding inspiration

Step 1: Brainstorm Vow Material

Most brides and grooms sit down to write their vows and they’re instantly plagued with writer’s block. Don’t expect writing to be your first step. First, you need to do some pre-work to get you prepared for the writing part. I recommend a brainstorming exercise. Dedicate 15 to 30 minutes to writing down any idea, memory, or feeling that comes to mind when you think of your fiancé and your future marriage. Don’t judge what you write down. It’s a brainstorm so any thought you have is a good one. Another way to gather material for your vows is to answer some writing prompts. Here are a few of my favorite vow writing prompts to get you started. Write down your answers to these questions to create more vow material.

  • Why are you choosing to marry this person? How is your fiancé different than anyone else you’ve dated?
  • How does your fiancé show you love? How do they make you feel special?
  • What has changed about you since you two have been together?

bougainvillea wedding ceremony at the Carondelet House
Photo by Wild Whim from this bougainvillea-filled wedding

Step 2: Identify Themes

Now that you’ve created a list of ideas for your vows, it’s time to identify themes. A theme is a general topic that stands out from your notes. For example, you may start to notice that many of your notes talk about your partner’s sense of humor or the strong communication you two have. These are themes and you can use them to organize your vows. You may start by describing why you love how kind and thoughtful they are. Then you can tie that concept into why you know they’ll be a strong partner as your husband or wife. Themes are useful because they not only organize your thoughts but they also help to drive your vows forward.

floral print wedding dress and blue groom suit
Photo by Sophie Epton from this sunrise elopement

Step 3: Write the First Draft

You have material and have started to organize your thoughts. Now it’s time to actually start writing your vows.
Here’s a vow writing outline I recommend couples follow as a way to structure their vows:

  • Address your partner and detail out how you feel now that you’re about to get married
  • Communicate what your partner means to you
  • Communicate what you appreciate about your relationship
  • Make specific promises
  • Describe how you envision your marriage
  • Close with a line about how you love them

illusion back wedding dress and navy blue groom suit
Photo by Cheers Babe from this glam Bay Area wedding

Step 4: Edit Your Vows

Any good piece of writing needs to be edited. After you’ve written the first draft of your wedding vows, reread them. Is there anything you need to expand on with more detail? Is there anything you can trim down and get more to the point? Do you say the same thing in two different sections? When you make your vows more concise and articulate, you’ll have greater impact in communicating how you feel.

pampas grass wedding ceremony backdrop and dusty blue layered organza wedding dress
Photo by Allen Tsai from this fine art elopement inspiration

Step 5: Practice Reciting Your Vows

Writing your wedding vows is only half the battle. Next comes public speaking panic! Practice reading your wedding vows out loud three to five times before your wedding day. Rehearse in front of a mirror or to a friend who you can trust to provide constructive feedback. You can also record yourself using your phone.

While it may feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable, this process will help to ensure that you’re poised and polished for the wedding ceremony. Here are the most popular public speaking tips I always share with clients:

  • Speak louder and more slowly than you think you need to
  • Make sure the venue has a microphone for you to use
  • Print your vows or write them on paper and bring multiple copies with you. Do not read your vows off of your phone or tablet. The light will cause your face to be discolored in photographs and video.
  • When you start to feel like you may get too emotional, take a deep breath and give yourself a moment. Remember why you’re doing this and allow that to motivate you to make it through reading your vows without going into the ugly cry!

groom tearing up during vow readings
Photo by Simply by Tamara Nicole from this seaside PNW wedding

Are you still struggling to write your wedding vows?

Vow writing can be one of the most daunting wedding planning tasks but it should also be one of the most fulfilling. Don’t let stress get in the way of delivering beautiful wedding vows. At Wedding Words, a vow and toast writing service, we’ll remove your worry and deliver customized wedding vows that will capture exactly how you feel.”

Our Most Popular Ceremony Moments of 2017 https://ruffledblog.com/romantic-garden-wedding-at-arlington-hall
Photo by Menary Weddings from this gilded Arlington Hall wedding

Okay that outline for writing your vows in Step #3 is a serious GOLDMINE of information, am I right? We love the way personalized vows level up on sentiment during the ceremony, and by now, you should be well equipped to express yourself in the best kind of way. For further advice in this arena and even for your MOH or BM who might be needing some advice to kickstart their speeches, look to Katelyn of Wedding Words for guiding light. It’s easy, breezy, beautiful from here!

This post was sponsored by Wedding Words. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!

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