engaged couple touch hands

Writing your own wedding vows will make the ceremony much more personal and meaningful for you both.  Having them on paper will make you feel much more confident about the step you are taking.

Start early, to give yourself plenty of time. There’s a lot to do, and your wedding vows are probably the most important part of the ceremony.  They are what your marriage will be based on after all.   will be a lot to think about and you will probably want to talk to other people about it and look on the internet for ideas.

Check with your celebrant. They may insist that you use the traditional vows that are part of your religion.  Maybe they’ll be happy for you to use your own vows instead, or maybe they’ll want you to say the traditional vows and add on a little bit of your own.

Read the traditional vows and think about them. There may be things in there that you really don’t like, like promising to obey your partner, or ones that you want to make clear right from the start, like promising to be faithful (or not).  You don’t want to make a promise, in a sacred place, in front of witnesses, that you have no intention of keeping.  At the same time, there may be things you expect from your partner that he/she is not aware of.

Make this a team effort. You’re going to work as a team for the rest of your lives, so you’d might as well practice!  There’ll be a lot to talk about, so make sure you are both happy with the vows before you commit to them.  One of you might be better at writing things down, the other at talking.  That’s fine; work to your strengths.

Have a look on the internet at what other people have used as their wedding vows. There are some hilarious ones that you’ll want to avoid, but there are some beautiful, moving ones too.  Show what you find to your partner to help him/her think about what they’d like to include.  It will be something nice for you to talk about together.

Speak from the heart.  Don’t worry about fancy words.  If you’re completely open and honest, your sincerity will shine through and your love for each other will be clear to everyone.

Check back with your celebrant. If they’ve already said they don’t mind you including your own vows, they’ll probably be fine with it, but it’s polite to keep them in the loop.

Practice reading them out a few times and imagine yourself, with your beloved partner beside you, declaring how you feel about them. You don’t need to learn them off by heart, and you don’t need to give a polished performance, but a little practise might help you feel less nervous.  Don’t forget, you will be surrounded by people who love you when you say them and they’ll love you all the more if you are just yourself.