Writing your own wedding vows is a very romantic idea, but it’s not for everyone. Some folks freeze up at the thought of writing anything creative at all, some get scared at the sight of a blank page or screen, and there are also those from whom words flow like water. Which kind are you?
When the words are easy
Some people think more in words than anything else. If you’re that sort, then you might not need anything more than some time to think about your future spouse to get the ideas flowing. For you, letting it all out is exactly what you want to do first, but remember that everyone needs an editor. Human brains tend to filter out anything that is familiar, like the words you yourself wrote; that makes it hard to spot your own misteaks. It’s just our wiring. You’ll also want to try reading aloud whatever you come up with in front of a friend. Sometimes the words we choose as we write don’t sound as good as they look, and might take some tweaking to nail down the sentiment. You also want to know about how long it takes to read aloud; if you are going to repeat after your officiant, double that time. Ideally, both sets of vows should take roughly the same amount of time.
When you can’t find the right words
Words don’t come as easily to everyone, and that’s okay. All of our brains work differently, and yours might be more focused on colors, or emotions, or sensations, or music. You might need a little bit of prompting to find words that match how you feel about someone you’re about to commit to in a big and amazing way. Try breaking it down into smaller pieces with this rule of threes. Block out some time, by yourself or with someone close to you like a parent or friend that you would want in your wedding party, and jot down the following:
- three things you love about your partner
- three dreams to share
- three promises to make
Once you have three of each (or two, or four; don’t sweat the numbers too much; when you’re done, you’re done), just write ’em up: “Robin, I love that when we met you were wearing my favorite shade of green, I love the sound of your laugh, and I love that you’ve never been to Muskogee. I want to raise puppies with you, and get season tickets to the Panthers together, and live in a purple house together. I promise that I will never criticize your driving, that I will not water the plants because I always kill them, and that you will be happier married to me than you ever have been before.”
You can also mix it up: “I love the sound of your laugh, I want to live in a purple house together, and promise not to water the plants.” Once you have the base material, it’s just about rearranging it—but skip that part if you are the sort to overthink it. If you’re grinding your teeth, you’re done, okay?
When writing is always stressful
For some of us, writing and reading are a major headache. If you get massive anxiety at the idea of writing vows, you might want to focus your creativity on other wedding planning and give this part a pass. There are a lot of lovely wedding vows out there on the internet that you can choose to use instead. It will be lovely either way.
On the other hand, if you don’t like to write but you really, really want your wedding vows to be in your words, talk to me! I’ve been interviewing people since I was 13 years old, and turning what they tell me into a written words. Talking uses a different part of the brain than writing, and I can help you find words to match how you feel. Helping you tell your own story is what I’m here to do.