How to write vows: 5 pro tips from a wedding officiant for vows to make everyone cry

Guest post by Jessie Blum
How to write vows that are heartfelt & sniffle-worthy
Photo by Wild About You

There is so much information about how to write vows for your wedding that it can be a little daunting. You can read about it online and in books, and people will offer you advice and give you tons of rules, outlines, and other information about putting your vows together.

But here's a secret: you can do whatever you want. They are your wedding vows, after all! They should reflect who you are, who your partner is, and the relationship that you share.

In my mind, the best vows talk about your past, your present, and your future. They give you a unique opportunity to make promises and ideals that you will build one of the most important relationships of your life on.

Here are my top five tips and tricks for how to write vows that are heartfelt and sniffle-worthy:

Something old:

Do you really want to use the traditional vows, but also want to have an option for personalization too? Talk to your partner about doing some more traditional vows as your “Declaration of Intent” (those are the I Do's), and then following them with personal vows.

Or maybe you can each repeat the same, traditional vows, and add a few lines of personalization at the end. That can be a great way to alleviate some of the pressure of writing your own vows, if you know you only need to write a sentence or two.

Something new:

If you get stuck on your vows, or are having trouble figuring out how to finish them, give them to a new set of eyes. Your officiant, a bridal party member, friend, or family member probably will have some insight and thoughts to help you out. And, if you're not planning on keeping the vows a secret from one another, you could share them with your partner or even write them together!

Something borrowed:

It's okay to edit vows you found on the internet or read in a book or saw on a TV show. No joke — the ring vows I used in my own wedding ceremony were from an episode of Gossip Girl. Don't be afraid to borrow, and don't be afraid to edit the borrowed pieces. It can really help to create a great base that you can build your vows from!

Something blue:

When you're thinking about how to write vows, this is the wildcard. What is that special little thing that you want to sneak into your vows? What do you love about your partner? What do they do that always makes you smile? Is there a moment or a time you are looking forward to sharing? Is there something special you want to promise?

I had a groom who vowed to always love and support his wife (even on Mondays when he had a tough day at work), and a bride who spoke of how much she admired her groom's resourcefulness at tough moments (like when the cat is locked in the closet and they can't find the key). Don't be afraid to include the sweet moments that make your relationship special and unique!

Still not feeling it?

Here's another quick and easy guideline for how to write vows. Write two or three sentences about each of these elements. Combined together, they make beautiful vows.

Begin by talking about something you love about your partner, or something they have contributed to their lives. This is a great spot to include an anecdote or story that brings this moment to life. For example, in my own wedding, my husband talked about the day that we met, and how that was the day that his whole life changed.

Next, include some promises. Ones that you will look to guide your marriage. These can be serious: “I promise to stand by your side, and bring out the best in you, in all adventures.” Or a little sillier: “I promise to laugh at your jokes (most of the time).” In fact, I think the best vows are a beautiful balance of seriousness and humor.

And now, let's end it with a look to the future. What do you look forward to sharing in your marriage? What are your goals, your aspirations, the qualities you want to embody as a couple?

This outline, combined with the other suggestions, can create really beautiful, personal vows, without a lot of extra work!

Need more help on how to write vows? We gotchoo!

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Comments on How to write vows: 5 pro tips from a wedding officiant for vows to make everyone cry

  1. Thank you!!! I always assumed we’d use semi-traditional vows, but my guy told me recently he plans on us writing them ourselves :-p This is a great starting point!

  2. I wanted to write our own vows, but my husband is not as much of. A writer as I am. So we went with a template to base our vows on.
    We each had
    3x I love you because
    3x I accept (something about each other)
    3x I promise (for the future)

  3. With my vows, I aimed to crystallize exactly what I think marriage is and should be. I started by talking about my groom, why I was in love with him. Then I promised to try my best to be a good partner in several different aspects of marriage. I used some language from the apracticalwedding open threads, especially “choose to build my life with you,” “trust the parts of you I do not yet know,” and “companion of your house.” We are iffy about children and pro-marriage equality, and I hope that’s reflected here. The traditional vows show up slightly edited in the declaration of intent, and come back a bit at the end here. It got a little long, so I’ll have to edit down.


    [Groom], today I choose to build my life with you. I love what I know of you: your humor, your passion for justice, your strength in grief and adversity, and the depth of the commitments you make. I trust the parts of you I do not yet know. You are my favorite person.

    I vow to be your friend, to comfort and support you in times of struggle, to celebrate and laugh with you in times of triumph, and to explore life with you in the times between. I will delight in the ways we grow to meet life’s changes.

    I vow to be your lover, to give you the daily gifts of touch, time, and words of love. I will listen closely to your needs and honestly tell you my own. I will be faithful.

    I vow to be your roommate, the companion of your house. I will work not to take you for granted in our day-to-day lives. I will strive to do my part to care for myself, for you, and for the shared stuff of our life together.

    I vow to be your financial and legal partner, to strive to be a person you can trust and depend on. I will work with you to build our future. I will respect your dreams as much as my own.

    If we become parents, I vow to be mother to your children, to love them and support them and delight in them without forgetting my vows to love and support and delight in you.

    [Groom], I love you. Today and for all the days of our life together, I vow to be your family. In sorrow and in triumph, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in closeness and in distance.”

    • I found your vows before our wedding, and my husband and I felt they were the most accurate representation of marriage for our non-traditional family. We did tweak them a little bit to fit us exactly, but I thought you might like to see the outcome.
      The website link is to our wedding video. The vows start around the 10 minute mark.

  4. The last part is the best and easy to implement for everyone:
    – Begin by talking about something you love about your partner – Next, include some promises – end it with a look to the future.

    In my profession, I see wedding vows all the time. Some are really good, some could be so much more personal. I’ll redirect my future couples here. I’m sure these guidelines for impressive wedding vows will be truly appreciated. Great article, thank you so much!

  5. What a great article. I wrote my vows in 10 minutes after reading this. Such a simple and to-the-point framework with the past, present, and future with personalized touches.

  6. This was a fun read. Our custom vows at our wedding were the most fun part of planning, and I’m a nerd who actually listens to the vows at weddings! There was a book we used, (and now I’m the nerd who can’t remember the name of that book), but it had tips for writing vows as funny, too. I think it was 50 Vows and Writing Guide…or something searchable on Amazon, I suppose. Anyway, we made the ending of our vows funny, “…no TV in the bedroom…No Mom jeans…” I say, enjoy writing them, and they’ll be good.

    • It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the actual episode, so I’m going to share what my ring vows were, which were heavily inspired by the vows that I saw on Gossip Girl (and are a variation of traditional vows that I have seen in other places since then, too):

      I, Jessie, take you, Dan,
      to be no one other than yourself.
      I promise to stand by your side,
      bring out the best in you,
      and share my journey with you,
      for the rest of my life.

  7. OMG! What a lovely surprise to click on this post and see a picture of my husband and I! lol! Awesome! We wrote our own vows and at first it seemed daunting but in the end we did it rather quickly. I started by making a word doc for all the little quotes, song verses, other vow wording etc that I found in anything and just cut and pasted it on there. When it came time to look at that file it was daunting, but great for inspiration! So we culled and separated into two files – one for him and one for me. From memory we used the same opening statements for each section of our vows which helped form a bit of a template so it wasnt so hard and gave the vows some cohesiveness. It ended up a nice balance of humour and serious/romance.

    • Oh wow, so apparently they changed out the picture because now it’s my husband and I 😛 This post was written a month before our wedding, so I know we weren’t the original picture in it. Just thought it was interesting because I was super thrown off by your comment at first hehe

      We were also both a little daunted by writing our own vows. I don’t like traditional vows, at least not for me, and I’m not religious, so I knew I needed SOMETHING else. I had also always wanted to write my own vows, but didn’t realize how immense that task would actually be. We wanted to keep them secret from each other, so I gave each of us a spiral notebook with “So&So’s Wedding Vows” written on the front (we aren’t the kind of people to be tempted into peeking). I also bought a book on vow writing (which I definitely did not finish) that had some exercises in it that we did together. Our officiant had ceremony material, which included vow ideas, for writing our own ceremony. While we were writing the ceremony is when we got most of our ideas. Well, I got mine anyway. I wrote my vows and then told him the format I’d written them in because he wanted to use the same type of format. With only knowing that it was an intro, 10 “I promise” bullet points, and a conclusion he was able to write his vows… and they were very scary similar. They both had a nice balance of full on teary moments followed by full on laughing moments.

  8. We wanted to inject some humor so we used some Dr Seuss rhyming vows that have been circling the Internet. However, I have children from my first marriage and wanted to include them, so after that we wrote some vows to the children which were much more serious and snuffle inducing. I couldn’t get through it without crying. I love the vows in the movie “What’s your number”. The main characters sister gets married at the end and I love the vows they use in that ceremony.

    • Would you mind sharing your vows? We are getting married this September and I will be gaining his two beautiful children. I’m trying to find the best way to include them in the ceremony and I’d love to hear how you did it.

  9. just wrote my vows ( wedding in june)yall tell me what yall think please!
    Today we are here because we belive in love. Everyone here is here because they belive in love, that and they heared there would be free food after the ceremony. From the moment I met you i felt something special toward you. As years passed and other came and went, my special feeling for you never went away. Finally, we went on a date. This date was unlike any other date, I didnt feel nervous at all, we talked the entire time. Nothing felt forced, everything seemed right. Soon we went on another date and another date. Pretty soon I knew I had significant feelings for you. Soon we were in a relationship. We have been unseperable ever since, and that was 4 years ago. In these four years together my love for you has only multiplied. You have been there for me in the best of times and the worst of times. You have seen me smile, laugh, scream, dance cry, and even sing and your still stayed with me!Cain I promise today, in front of Friends and Family,that I will be the best friend, companion, wife and Christian that I know how to be. I promise that I will only uplift you, never bring you down. I promise that I will always put God first in our relationship. I promise to stick by your side whether we are millionaires or living under a bridge. I promise to always take care of you, to love you and cherish our life together, no mater what this world has to offer. And lastly I promise never to take you for granted. You are the man that I love and I cannot wait to be your wife.

    • Great job … made me cary…. I am getting married in june ….very soon and I am already nervous 🙁

  10. I’ve been struggling with writing my vows, and w/ your guide I had them figured out in like 1/2 an hour. <3 15 days before my wedding, I was starting to worry! Thank you!!!!

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