Writing your own vows is romantic and intimate. But, starting an important task can also be overwhelming, too, so we put it off until we absolutely need to. You may be the type of person who thrives under pressure—the counting clock sparks your creativity and you’re good to go. But we’re not all like that, and the clock can be more of a hindrance once you actually sit down to write. So before you go into full-blown panic, take a deep breath, let it out, and follow these four steps for writing last-minute wedding vows.
In this post, we’re going to walk you through a simple format for your wedding vows: First you share why you love your partner, then you make promises to them, and finally, you look ahead to your future together. Be prepared to make a lot of lists for this one! But we promise it’ll be worth it in the end.
When you and your partner decided to write your own vows, you probably also chose a tone. Couples choose anything from silly to serious, from personal to romantic. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to ask that you table that tone until we get to Step #4. Writing last-minute wedding vows is stressful, and we want to unlock your creativity and romance. So for now, focus on the list-making, and we’ll come back to your tone later on.
Make a list of your favorite things about your partner or your relationship, the reasons you’re marrying them, or your favorite memories.
This step—and Steps 2 and 3—are all free writing exercises. As you sit down to write these lists, write down every idea. Right now, you’re not writing for perfection, and no one has to see these lists. Instead, just write whatever comes to mind; don’t think about it.
For your first free-writing lists, you’re going list all the things you love about your partner and your relationship. This can include inside jokes, favorite memories, and even just reasons why you’re marrying them. But at this step, you’re reflecting on all the good things in your relationship that made you pop the question or say Yes. If you’re having trouble starting, you can always look at pictures of your partner or watch vacation videos to jump-start the process. Just don’t get distracted by your computer or phone in the process!
Write down some promises that you can make to your partner related to your lists.
Whether they’re last-minute or not, wedding vows are promises that you’re making to your partner. So once you’re done with Step #1, it’s time to create a new list of promises. But you’re not starting from scratch this time! You can use the list from Step #1 to come up with promises for your last-minute wedding vows. For example, if you wrote down that you love how your partner wrinkles their nose when they smile, you could promise to make them smile at least once every day.
By using your first list to create this second list, your lists will be similar. And that’s a good thing! When you’re writing last-minute wedding vows, you want the vows to have flow to them, much like writing a story or a song. So if the content of your vows (i.e., your lists) is related to one another, it will be easier to massage your words into a polished paragraph.
List out the things you’re excited to do with your partner, what adventures you’re excited to have, and any dreams or goals you share.
For the final list, you don’t have to tie it into the first two lists entirely. We recommend free writing this list as well, to start. Just think about all the things you’re excited to do with your soon-to-be. Maybe you want to travel more or get a dog or simply just grow old together. Whatever it is, write it down! Then, once you’re out of ideas, compare your new list to the other two. If there are some similar sentiments, then you can skip to Step #4. But if there isn’t any overlap, take a few minutes to create some.
You can certainly keep the travel and the dog, but for your vows to really flow, you should call back to something you’ve mentioned already. For example, if you’re promising to make your partner laugh at least once ever day because you love how it crinkles their nose, then you can mention how you’re excited to spend the rest of your life laughing with them. It’s simple, but it will make for strong vows. (And maybe a few tears, too.)
Choose your favorites from each step and type them up together.
At this point, you should have three lists with some related content on each. Now it’s time to choose your favorite few points from each list. Unless your lists are super short, there won’t be time to say everything you wrote down in your vows. (Although you can certainly share them with your partner post-wedding!) We recommend choosing roughly the same number of items from each list, too, for balance. As you’re doing this, remember the tone that we discussed previously. Make sure the items you choose match the tone for your wedding and your vows.
Once you’ve narrowed down your lists, type everything up together, adding filler words and transitions as needed. Don’t forget to add I love yous and your partner’s name, too. At this stage, you’re turning your notes into a speech, so it should be cohesive and make sense. Be sure to practice reading your vows out loud, to get more comfortable with the words and to make sure it all sounds good—literally. As you practice reading out loud, don’t be afraid to make changes to improve flow. And when you finish this step, you’re done! Congratulations!
If you get stuck…
…read some love poems or listen to some love songs for inspiration
If you draw a blank at any point of this process—it’s OK! When we’re under pressure or on the spot, it’s easy to forget things that we know. So if you find yourself stuck at any point, step away from the lists and read some love poems or listen to some love songs for inspiration. This can include poems or songs that remind you of your partner, or they can just be romantic in nature. The goal is to simply hear or read how other people talk about love and the people whom they love. It’ll get your romantic, creative wheels turning as you write your last-minute wedding vows.
Writing your own vows can be stressful, and saving them for last-minute can add to that pressure. But don’t worry—it really only takes four steps to write heartfelt vows. Begin your vows with a few things you love about your partner, follow that up with promises to your partner, and then end by looking to the future with your partner. And don’t forget to read it out loud a few times, too, for practice. Bonus points if you read it in front of a few friends to practice reading it in front of other people!
Do you think writing your own vows is romantic or too much extra work? Share your thoughts with us below!