How to nail your personal vows!Categories Ceremony tips. Vows.
21 Jul, 2023
Most couples put off writing their personal vows until the last minute because it can be a scary concept, but it really doesn’t need to be! There are a few simple rules to help you along the way and plenty of resources and examples online. Read this blog for some of my tips!
PS – remember, I’m a resource to lean on, so if you’re struggling, shout out. And I’ll ask to see your vows ahead of time anyway so can always provide some feedback or help tweak them (if that’s what you want).
Firstly, why should we include personal vows?
Well, you don’t NEED to include them at all! It’s totally up to you.
The reason couples choose to have personal vows is to publicly make promises to their partner that are personalised and go beyond the standard legal vows (which are mandatory), which are to be said by each party:
Bride/Groom/Partner (repeating after Celebrant): I call upon the people here present to witness that I [Bride/Groom/Partner’s name], take you [Bride/Groom/Partner’s name] to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/spouse.
How long should our vows be?
You seriously don’t need to write chapter and verse! You should aim for maximum 1 minute, or 8 – 10 lines, but your vows can be half that length if you like.
Although you’ll write your vows separately (you’ll want it to be a surprise on the day!), it’s good to sit down, do some research using our trusty friend Google to look up some vow examples, and agree on a structure and length. That way, you can be confident that your vows are consistent with each other and you have a direction to follow when you’re writing them.
Agreeing on a structure is the best place to start. Below are a couple of ideas on how your vows can be structured. If you come to a consensus on this bit, you’ll feel ready to go away and fill in the blanks!
Example 1: Start each line with the same wording and fill in the blanks
The below vow-starters are from this helpful Wedshed vow writing guide:
The first time I saw you, I…
I promise to be…
I promise we’ll…
I promise to love you…
You give me…
Together, we’ll spend our lives…
Example 2: Outline a rough plan of the THEMES you want to cover
The below example plan is from this I Do Drive Thru Weddings article:
The same first line
Second line, what you like about each other
Third line, how your partner supports you
Fourth line, how you promise to show up for them
Fifth line, something silly and self-deprecating about your dynamic
Sixth line, goals for the future
Finish with the same line.
Go back to your secret couple questionnaires that you’ve filled out for me for inspiration – it’s all there!
Reflect on how your partner makes you feel, what they add to your life, what you love to do together, how you will support them and what your hopes and dreams are for your future together.
You don’t need to get too deep or serious. Keep it sentimental but lighthearted in some spots. Don’t try to be a comedian, but feel free to have fun with your vows. Just don’t forget to put in some sweet bits in too – maybe even an “I love you!”.
You need to feel comfortable saying the words out loud so be yourself and use language that comes naturally to you (now is not the time to try new words!).
Hmm… they still seem scary!
Ok, ok, I get it! There are a couple of other options if you want some sort of personal vows but feel a bit weird about writing and saying them out loud.
Ninja vows – or secret vows – are a great way to add a bit of laughter to your ceremony and make the process of writing your vows much more fun.
Instead of writing your own vows, you write vows for each other! So you can be as sweet, cheeky or outrageous as you like. Essentially when you’re writing these, you think about what you would like your partner to say about you and do for you. Some examples are:
I promise to let you have the last McNugget after a late night.
I promise to be interested in all the mansions you show me on realestate.com.au that we can’t yet afford.
I will always let you have the aisle seat on the plane.
I promise to love you even when your weird smelling fake tan is developing.
You can still agree on a format for these but write them for each other instead of for yourself. SO MUCH FUN!
Write down your vows and share them in a letter
If you really don’t want to read out any personal vows during the ceremony, you can still write your vows, but share them with each on the morning of your wedding in a letter. I can always reference this to your guests so they know that you have made promises to each other in a special, private way.
I’ll ask for you to send me your vows ahead of time in case they need a bit of extra love.
On the day itself, I’ll have your vows printed so you don’t need to worry about bringing them. I got you!