Writing your own vows is an extremely intimidating process, even if you are a natural writer. It involves reflecting on all of the time you shared with someone and figuring out how to narrow every experience down into just a few paragraphs or pages. On top of all that stress is the stress of knowing the words will be spoken in front of everyone you love most. These doubts overshadow the real importance of vows — writing something beautiful for your partner to hear — and many couples skip this part of their ceremony because of daunting task writing brings.
I am 100% an advocate for writing your own vows because there are very few times in life that you’ll have a chance to stop, breathe, and completely dive into a microscopic view your relationship and its future. Though, I also understand what it’s like to have writer’s block 99% of the time.
I tend to get stuck on what to write, too, from time to time. But as someone who gets paid to write, I don’t have the choice to skip the writing process because, well, deadlines. I’ve developed a few methods to help me stay creative, and I hope these tips help with your vow writing, too!
- Find reliable sources of inspiration
The internet is a great source to get some ideas rolling, but I suggest finding inspiration that really kicks you in the heart. Most of the content you’ll find on the internet is dry and generic because it would be just plain weird for anyone to share their actual, personal vows to the world. If you’re not into poetry, reading, or anything written, try watching a favorite cheesy love movie. You can’t tell me you don’t have one. Everyone has one — even if they want to deny it publicly. While you’re watching or reading, take notes of the way the characters or writes express their feeling. How can you relate this back to the way you feel about your partner?
2. Write your vows as if you were actually talking to your partner.
Your vows are going to be read to your partner. So why would you write them as if you were saying them to a wall? When you begin writing, imagine that you’re already present at your wedding day, just hanging out during the ceremony, ready to tell your partner how much you value them in your life. Even though everyone will tell you there’s no right or wrong way to write them, you’ve got to embrace this concept fully when you’re writing. If you’re writing your vows envisioning your guests or envisioning some other sort of audience, you’re going to write to them instead of your partner.
3. If you’re stuck on words, record your voice.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m either tired of writing or just plain brain dead is to go for a drive, put on Coldplay (don’t judge me), and record what I’m thinking. Yes, I just wrote record. Almost every phone has a recording app that you can use, so no excuses here. Record every thought that comes to mind when you think of your partner. What do you love about them? What do you hate about them? How do you contribute to your relationship now and how will you continue to in the future? What does your marriage look like in five years? Ten? Start with recording your answers to these questions and go from there. When you get home, you can listen to it back and start dissecting the best parts.
4. Try journaling your thoughts at least 30 days before you want to complete your vows.
I used to think journaling was more effective when I was ten and writing about the boys in my class with the cool Spongebox boxers, but I didn’t want to tell anyone but my diary that. To my surprise, after journaling every day for the past 10 months, I’ve found it to help me reflect back on how my life has been and how I felt about things. It’s impossible to remember how we feel every day, even though we claim love is unforgettable. Try thinking back to what you ate last week for lunch. I’m betting absolutely no money because I’m not that rich that you can’t remember. So why would you remember exactly how you felt about your partner every day for the last however amount of time you’ve been together? Journaling is a great way to capture every single feeling, and when you’re ready to write your vows, you’ll already have the content ready to go.
Well, those are just some starting tips to get your thoughts rolling! If you try any of these and they worked well for you, give me a shout! I’d love to hear about your experiences writing your vows through some of these methods.
Still stuck? We offer vow sessions meetings with our couples, and we’d be happy to help you, too. We’ll also be releasing a vow journal this winter (which I’m super stoked for!). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some more help!