Writing your own wedding vows seems romantic and exciting—until the panic sets in because, “Holy cow why did I agree to write my own vows?” While it’s a beautiful chance to tell the love of your life just how much you love them, it’s also a lot of pressure if you don’t consider yourself a writer. (Or, sometimes, even if you do.)
Unfortunately, there’s no formula for writing the perfect wedding vows. But when there’s no formula, that also means there’s no wrong way to do it. The best thing you can do is pretend you’re writing just to your fiancé, and no one else will ever hear you. You know that’s not true, but it’ll help the writing process.
And in case that doesn’t work, here are some practical tips to help you along.
1. Take Notes
In the middle of picking out flowers and registering for bathroom towels, notice the things your fiancé does that make you smile. You may not use any of those moments in your vows—but by paying closer attention, you’ll feel more prepared to write when the time comes; you’ll already be in the habit of reflecting and appreciating.
2. Recall Moments
All relationships are built up of moments—and it’s usually the seemingly insignificant ones that stick with us. What are some of your favorite vacation stories? Or tales from when you first moved in together? When did you know you wanted to marry them? These moments stand out for a reason, and may be special enough to work into your vows.
3. Make Promises
Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I’m excited to do with this person for the rest of our lives?” Maybe you’re excited to have a travel partner for life. Or you’re happy to spend every Sunday morning cooking them breakfast. These promises make your wedding vows personal, while recognizing the traditional promise-oriented wedding vows.
4. Read Other Love Notes
If you’re worried that reading someone else’s writing is going to make it harder to write your own—don’t be. Reading what other people have written will spark ideas that you wouldn’t have come up with by staring at a blank page.
Bonus Tip: If you’re not a reader, you can always listen to love songs, or watch romantic movies with love-y monologues.
5. Be True to You
Remember that there is no wrong way to write wedding vows. As long as you’re writing out of love for your fiancé, you can’t mess it up. Many people feel the pressure to write long, whimsical, romantic vows to show how much they love their soon-to-be-spouse. But that’s not what vows are for. Your vows are a promise to your spouse, and you can be as whimsical or as practical as you feel comfortable with.
6. Practice Them
It’s one thing to read them silently to yourself from your laptop or notebook. But you’ll be reciting them in front of all your friends and family—and the love of your life! Nerves will be at their worst. So practice in the mirror a few times, to feel comfortable saying the words out loud. Memorize them if you feel so inclined, but we do recommend bringing a printed copy—just in case!
Bonus Tip: Practice reading in front of your bridal party or groomsmen to get their opinion, and to get used to reciting it with an audience.
7. Don’t Procrastinate
Unless you’re absolutely sure you thrive under pressure, do not leave your vows for the weekend of the wedding. They may still come out great, but there’s no need to put yourself through that much stress that close to the wedding day! Set calendar reminders on your phone to help you draft and write the vows starting a few weeks before you exchange, “I do.”
Bonus Tip: Ask a best friend to keep you accountable so you don’t end up writing them at midnight the night before.
It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking to write your own wedding vows, but these tips should make the process a little easier. Never forget that, even though other people will hear them, these vows are only meant for your betrothed. It’s a privilege to write something so important—even if it doesn’t feel like it in the middle of writer’s block!