How To: Write Your Own Vows

Depending on the comfort levels of you and your partner, personalized vows can be a beautiful addition to your wedding ceremony. People often have an overwhelming feeling when beginning to write vows because there is so much emotion attached to them. Whether it be because you don’t know where to begin, or because you have so much to say, these tips should help you get out of your writing rut.

Start the process as soon as possible

Having as much time as you can is super helpful because it allows you to have more time to explore your feelings in writing as well as create and edit multiple drafts.

Drafts, drafts, drafts

Once you get writing, try to write down everything that comes to your mind. It doesn’t have to be cohesive at this point, but getting as many thoughts on paper as possible helps you to have more material to choose from when you create your final draft.

Take pieces from other writing

There are many sources of writing that contain perfect material for your vows, and writing your own vows doesn’t mean that you can’t throw in pieces from other places as well. You can find vow books, poetry, lyrics, or even just quotes online that resonate with you and your relationship and make perfect additions to your vows.

Make it personal, but not too personal

Be sure to share stories and moments of your relationship that reflect who you are as a couple, but be careful not to share stories or anecdotes that are too personal. You want your partner to be comfortable with what you are sharing, and you also want your guests to not feel like they are left out of an inside joke.

Include actual vows

Vows are just another way to make promises to your spouse. These promises are a big part of writing your vows, and whether you make silly or sweet promises, make sure you include some form of written vows to your partner.

Have a third party read both you and your partner’s vows

Having someone outside of the relationship read both sets of vows can be incredibly helpful in making sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Since personalized vows can be done in so many ways, it is always a good idea to make sure that one partner isn’t overly funny while the other partner is pretty serious, as an example. Having a quick conversation before either of you begin writing can also be helpful to avoid that problem.

Keep it between 2-4 minutes

Especially if you aren’t particularly comfortable with public speaking, keep in mind that your vows do not have to be lengthy. You want to say enough to capture the moment and show your partner how you feel about your relationship in it’s past, present, and future, but you want to do this in a short enough time that people don’t begin to lose interest in the story you are trying to tell.

Practice

Make sure you take the time to practice saying your vows out loud. It may feel silly, but this is a key step in making sure that you don’t stumble over your words during the wedding. If you still do, don’t worry about it! People will remember your stories more than they will remember how you spoke them.

That’s the end of the tips, so now it is time for you to get writing!

For a more personal and detailed example, here are the vows my husband and I wrote for each other:

My dear, sweet Jacob,

I love you so much. Before you, I’m not sure I loved anything more than pie (just kidding mom). But actually, before you, I didn’t believe real gentlemen even existed anymore. You are the sweetest, most gentle, and most selfless man I know. I could never have asked for someone like you, but now that I have you, I have everything I could have wanted in a husband. Somehow you always find a way to make me feel better even on my lowest days, and I hope that I can do the same for you throughout our life together. I can’t wait to have endless days with you watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, exploring thrift stores and eating more than the suggested amount of ice cream that two people should have in a lifetime. I am excited to be able to say that I will do life with you, through all of the highs and lows it will throw at us. I know that we are going to have good and bad days, but I hope in all our days, whether they be days where we love fiercely or argue frequently, that we will always demonstrate through our love for each other that we have a fervent love for God. I vow that in all our years together, I will never make you play Jenga, though I can’t promise that I won’t still ask. I promise to give you all the kisses on our good and bad days because I know that sometimes that is all you need. The last two years together we have had some of the best days of my life, and I know we will continue to share adventures and explore the world together as we change and grow closer as a couple. I am certain that my future with you will be even better than the past that we have already shared, and I can’t wait to begin this new chapter with you as your wife. I love you a coffee.

Jenna Marie,

I love you with the force of a thousand lightyears. The love I have for you is second only to the love I have for Christ my savior. You are a gift. You’re a gift I never dreamed I could want or need and everyday I will show you that you’re a gift I deserve. You make me the best person I could ever want and hope to be and I want to spend, learn and love the rest of my life with you. I pinky promise todo my best to make God the steadfast pillar of our marriage so we may lean on and hold to Him everyday. I vow to do my best to lead, support, and strengthen you through times of plenty and in times of less so. I vow to hold your hand, kiss your cheek and massage your back until I no longer can. I vow to be honest, caring, patient. To be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Our marriage will be testing, humbling, gratifying and God-glorifying and a million things we could never prepare for. But I want to be by your side and face with you every victory, failure, smile and tear. You make me so proud to be myself and to stand by you yesterday, today and every day hereafter. I love you a lottle. For forever and a week, my love. God has blessed me immeasurably more than I ever thought possible and today I can’t wait to start a new chapter with you.

How To: Write the Perfect Toast

If you are not a huge fan of public speaking, the idea of performing a toast at your event or your loved one’s event can seem a bit daunting. Here are some tips to get you started and ensure that your toast is written and performed seamlessly.

1. Introduce yourself.

This is big, guys! It is so, so important to introduce yourself and your relationship to the guest of honor (unless of course, YOU are the guest of honor). Letting guests know who you are helps people to understand and relate more to the story you will be telling with your toast.

2. Write a few drafts.

If you’re stuck on where to begin, just start writing anything and everything down! Remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be your last, so jotting things down point form or editing things out later are perfectly fine options.

3. Keep it under 5 minutes.

Some guests of honor will set specific parameters (3 min, 5 min, etc) for how long they want your toast to be, so follow these parameters first. If they don’t set any parameters for you, sticking to five minutes or less will give you just enough time to say what you need to without guests getting bored.

4. Speak about the guest(s) of honor.

This one may seem obvious, but it sometimes gets forgotten when there is more than one guest of honor (think weddings), especially if you have a much closer relationship with one party than the other. It is definitely okay to lean heavier on the anecdotes about the person you are close with, but make sure you include one or two points about the other party, or the couple as a whole.

5. Make sure your toast isn’t too personal.

Of course you want to highlight the guest(s) of honor in your toast, but steer clear of embarrassing stories that they aren’t going to appreciate. Even if you think a story would be well received, it’s best to avoid it or double check with the guest(s) of honor before sharing anything too personal in your speech. It is also a good note to steer clear of any stories or inside jokes that the guests won’t understand.

6. Offer your well wishes.

One of the most important and meaningful parts of your toast will be offering your well wishes to the guest(s) of honor. Keep it simple and sincere so other guests will resonate with the message and toast along with you.

7. Practice out loud.

This is also so, so important! Even if you are a natural at public speaking, practicing your toast will ensure that your presentation goes smoothly and you are within the time frame you have been given.

Writing a toast can be difficult especially when you feel you have too little or too much to say. When all else fails, tell a quick story and wish the guest of honor well, and you will be good to go- this tip also helps if you forget your notes (please remember your notes)! You got this!