from a professional vow writer & officiant
By Maria Cid, Founder and Lead Officiant of Vows & Forever
You’ve said “yes” to the dress, chosen which flowers you want in your bouquet and know who you want in your wedding party – but you’ve set aside the daunting task of writing your wedding vows. Penning your proclamation of love just isn’t as exciting compared to what’s on your wedding checklist, right? Or maybe you feel overwhelmed about putting your thoughts onto paper.
The thing is, your wedding vows are some of the most meaningful words of your ceremony and can be the most memorable – good or bad. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.
As an officiant who customizes every wedding ceremony for each couple I marry and also ghostwrites wedding vows, I offer these six powerful and simple tips for getting started on writing your vows.
Start from the beginning.
You know your love story best – so why not start with why you love your fiance(e). You can weave in sweet or funny stories about how you met, fell in love and your journey to the altar. It’s a great way to start crafting your vows. You can go back later to finesse what you’ve written. Getting started is sometimes the most difficult. Write about what you know first and the rest should follow.
Keep it simple.
Even if you’re a word connoisseur or a professional poet, it’s important to keep your vows simple and avoid a lyrical maze that your guests will get lost in. Instead, focus on writing straight to the point. Have some fun with it, but try not to use your wedding as a stage to show off your wide knowledge of the language you speak.
Time is of the essence.
Literally. Wedding vows should fall between 45 seconds to three minutes – anything longer than that and you’ll find your guests (and maybe even your fiance(e)) will start zoning out or fidgeting. Even the best writers should keep their vows under three minutes or they risk losing everyone’s attention.
If you keep it simple, you’ll find no trouble in keeping your vows short, sweet yet profound. In the same token, anything shorter than 45 seconds and it can appear as if you wrote your vows minutes before you walked down the aisle.
Pro Tip: Make sure your vows are not more than double the length of your partner’s vows or they’ll feel disproportionate. For example, if your vows are 2 minutes long and your soon-to-be spouse’s are 45 seconds – their vows will feel more like 15 seconds.
Don’t forget your promises.
Custom vows take the place of traditional vows that you recite after the officiant. So, don’t forget to actually list the vows you promise to uphold throughout your marriage.
Your vows should explain the depth of your love, commitment, and trust in your partner and relationship. They can echo traditional vows, but don’t be afraid to pepper in vows that are light and playful. For example: I vow to root for your favorite sports team even though we know they’re going to lose this season. Just like they’ve lost the last 15 seasons.
Tell a joke, but don’t be the class clown.
You may be witty, but are you telling a joke at your partner’s expense? Were you intending for comedic relief with your vows, but now every other sentence is a quip? While a perfectly timed joke or humorous personal story can make your vows memorable, try not to get carried away. After all, your vows are meant to be about the lifetime promises you’re making to someone you’ve chosen to marry. Stick to the script.
Speak from the heart.
Be you. Be raw. Be honest. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable on your wedding day. Your genuine words will shine and leave a lasting impression on all those around you, especially your partner. Don’t be afraid to cry or become emotional. Your wedding is one that will go by quickly. You’ll want to look back on the moments that made them unforgettable, like your wedding vows.
PRO TIP: Write down your vows in a wedding vow book or print them out. Avoid reading your vows on phones or tablets in case technology fails. It can also look tacky holding a phone at the altar. Or in your pocket (which will stand out in wedding photos).
If you still need help, we can help ghostwrite your vows or use one of our wedding vow writing templates at www.vowsandforever.com
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Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.