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 hints and tricks for writing your own vows:
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.
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!
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!
Here's 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 to creating 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.
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!
More help writing your wedding vows: