Writing Your Own Vows

Want something a little more personal than the standard (and outdated) promise to "love, honor and obey"? Couples who have a nontraditional wedding usually decide that nontraditional vows are in order, as well. Plus, writing your vows adds a nice, personal touch to the ceremony. Here are some tips for penning the perfect vows:

  • If you’re having a religious ceremony, talk to your officiant to see if there are any rules or restrictions you should be aware of.
  • Decide whether you want to sit down together and write one set of vows that you’ll both say, or work separately to create different vows.
  • Traditional vows can be a great place to start. Look for a structure you like, then add the personal touches that make them your own.
  • There are lots of great examples of wedding vows in books and on the Internet that you can use as inspiration. Feel free to borrow wordings or structures that you like.
  • Be personal but not too personal, and avoid being cutesy or suggestive. Picture watching the videotape of your wedding on your five- or ten-year anniversary (perhaps alongside your children!). Will you be embarrassed or proud?
  • Try reading your vows out loud. You can also tape record them and listen to them played back. This will give you a better idea of how your words will come across than reading them on paper will.
  • Make sure there are no awkward sentences you’ll stumble over on your big day; if you’re having difficulty with a particular passage, edit it for readability.
  • Practice your vows, but think twice about trying to memorize them. Vows are something you don’t want to blank out on. Either read them from a slip of paper or repeat them after your officiant.

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