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How to Write Heartfelt Wedding Vows

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Looking for advice and assistance in writing the most beautiful, heartfelt wedding vows for your ceremony? Get top-notch assistance from the suite of tools from Provenance!

Do you have so much you want to convey in your vows, but you are feeling stressed about where to begin? Couples often share that the hardest part is simply starting to write. To overcome that anxiety and to make sure your vows feel unique to your relationship and reflect your love story, check out this advice from experienced officiant and CEO & Founder of Provenance, Steven Greitzer, about how to write the perfect vows, without the stress.

According to Brides, celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss usually recommends Provenance, a site that offers easy-to-use tools and professional speech-writing support to help you create personalized and meaningful ceremonies, vows and toasts. “They have a great Vow Builder tool that our clients love,” she adds.

Is there a Template or Outline for Writing Wedding Vows?

There are many templates for writing wedding vows, but using them runs the risk of sounding generic, of sounding like you copied and pasted someone else’s words. These vows should be as personal and genuine as possible. Instead of leaning on someone else’s template, we recommend you weave together your vows by incorporating specific examples and stories that apply to you, your partner, and your relationship

  • Express Appreciation and Share Your Love Story (1 minute): Begin by expressing your appreciation for your partner and recounting your love story. Don’t just focus on the high points; it can feel more ‘real’ when there is an acknowledgment of the bumpy roads that you’ve traveled together.
  • Make Specific Promises (1 minute): Promise actions or commitments that are unique to your relationship. This is your chance to be sincere and genuine. Don’t just promise to cheer them up when they’re sad; promise to drive 30 minutes to the specific restaurant that has their favorite Diet Coke and superior ice.
  • Acknowledge Your Community (30 seconds): Recognize the role your friends and family have played in your journey and express your commitment to integrating both your communities.
  • Conclude with a Declaration (30 seconds): Summarize your vows with a heartfelt declaration that encapsulates the essence of your love and looks to what you plan to work towards in the future together.

The Provenance Vow Builder provides a series of thought-invoking questions to guide you through each of these considerations, ultimately weaving together your personal thoughts at the click of a button.

Tips for Writing Wedding Vows:

DON’T use cliche, overly flowery language: Be honest and authentic to who you are. The best vows are not generic platitudes about love, but instead feel hyper-specific to you, your partner, and your relationship.

DO balance your partner’s vows: Writing your vows in solitude to be shared for the first time with your partner on the wedding day is a beautiful tradition, but it is not without risk. It can be super awkward discovering live in front of the audience that your respective vows are of completely different lengths or tones. Use the Provenance Vow Builder to ensure your vows are of similar length and tone to your partner’s before the big day, allowing you each to tszuj toward general balance and parity to avoid any awkward discrepancies.

DON’T share overly embarrassing stories: While humor can be a great addition, steer clear of sharing anything that might make your partner or guests uncomfortable.

DO keep your vows a surprise for each other: It is a really special moment to share your vows for the first time on the big day. That said, it can help relieve stress if you ask a mutual friend to review each of your vows beforehand to confirm general balance. Use the Vow Builder privacy settings to hide the contents of your vows from your partner, while letting your officiant or wedding planner see them both.

DON’T read your vows off your phone: Opt for a printed copy or vow booklet instead of reading from your phone to maintain a more intimate and genuine connection with your partner, and to avoid looking like you are scrolling through Instagram.

DO have an extra copy for the officiant: Give an extra copy of your vows to the officiant so they can assist if needed or in case you misplace your copy.

DON’T wing it: Practice your vows beforehand and avoid improvising on the spot to ensure you convey your emotions and sentiments as intended.

DO stay hydrated and prepared: Have a water bottle and tissues nearby in case you need them to stay comfortable and composed during your vows.

DON’T let your officiant photobomb the grand finale kiss photo!: Ask your officiant to move to the side before pronouncing you as married and introducing the kiss. Make sure it is written into the script (these cues and others are included in the Provenance Ceremony Builder, as demonstrated below).


How to Begin Writing Your Vows

It is completely normal to have swirling thoughts and ideas of what you want to say, but no idea how to structure them into coherent vows. Here is a step-by-step guide (and a gif!) to show you how to get started.

STEP 1: Set your length and tone

We heard from many couples (and observed ourselves as experienced officiants) that they were anxious that their partner’s vows were drastically different from theirs in length and tone, creating an awkward imbalance during the ceremony’s critical crescendo. And so, we included within the Provenance Vow Builder a way for you to view your partner’s vows’ relative length and tone without revealing the content of their speech.

This is the feature that went viral on TikTok (linked here). Couples were excited to find that they can finally avoid that awkward “I poured my heart out for 6 minutes and they only said 2 sentences?!” risk.

STEP 2: Reflect on your love story (past, present, and future)

Additionally, couples we have shared that the hardest part of writing their vows was simply staring at that intimidating blinking cursor on the blank page.

The Provenance Vow Builder has curated questions to help you overcome writer’s block, remember the moments you want to share, and draft the promises you want to make.

We have had couples share that they made “date nights” out of using our tools because it helps them reminisce on moments that they would not have remembered otherwise.

STEP 3: Put it all together, review, and share with a trusted person

Your vows are a significant part of the ceremony, so it is essential to strike a balance between expressing your love and keeping your audience engaged. While there is no strict rule on length, aim for vows that are between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. As for the tone, some people lean sentimental, while others like to incorporate jokes. What matters most is that they reflect you, your partner, and your relationship while also feeling balanced.

You can edit the vows directly, as well as control whether you would like to (or not!) share its contents with other collaborators. And finally, once ready, we enable you to download and print before heading to the altar.

What is a Group Vow or the Declaration of Intent?

In addition to personal vows, weddings will have a Declaration of Intent, and sometimes even a group vow.

The Declaration of Intent is a legal part of the ceremony where both partners confirm that they come of their own free will. It is often worded from the officiant as “Do you take…,” to which each person responds “I do.”

The Group Vow has become increasingly more popular as a way to bring community into the special day. The officiant will ask if everyone here promises to support the couple, to which they respond “We do.”

A variety of options for both scripts can be found in the Provenance Ceremony Builder.

Closing thoughts

Crafting your wedding vows can be one of the most meaningful parts of wedding planning. By following these steps, you will create vows that are heartfelt, authentic, and a true reflection of your unique bond.

FAQs

Q1: How long should our wedding vows be?

There is no strict rule for length, it is most important that you are balanced. It is common to aim for about 30s-3 minutes of speaking time each. This ensures your vows are meaningful without being too long. Keep them concise and from the heart.

Q2: Can we include personal anecdotes in our vows?

Absolutely! The more specific, the better. Personal stories and anecdotes can add an authentic touch to your vows. Share special memories of how you felt when you first met; just keep it relevant and not too lengthy.

Q3: Is it okay to use humor in our vows?

Using humor can be great, but be mindful of your audience. Keep it light and tasteful, and consider your partner’s (and their family’s) sense of humor. Laughter can make your vows memorable.

Q4: Should we write our vows together or separately?

This is a personal choice. Some couples prefer to collaborate and write their vows together, while others like the surprise of hearing unique vows on the wedding day. Discuss what feels right for you both.

Q5: Can we incorporate traditional vows into our own?

Certainly! Many couples choose to include traditional vows as a starting point and then add their personal touch. Feel free to mix tradition with your unique promises.

Q6: When should we finalize our vows?

We recommend having your vows ready at least a few weeks before the wedding. This gives you time for revisions and practice. Don’t leave it to the last minute!

Q7: How can we overcome writer’s block when writing our vows?

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, take breaks, and return to your notes later. Read love poems or quotes for inspiration. Sometimes, just talking with your partner can spark ideas.

Q8: Is it okay to read our vows from a piece of paper during the ceremony?

Absolutely! It is common to have a written copy of your vows on hand, especially if you are worried about nerves. Some people print them out, while others use a vow book. We don’t recommend reading from your phone. What matters most is that you practice reading them aloud ahead of time

Q9: Do we need to memorize our vows?

Memorizing vows is a personal choice. Reading them is perfectly acceptable and more common.

Q10: Should we share our vows with each other before the wedding?

Again, this is a personal preference. Some couples choose to keep their vows a surprise until the ceremony, while others share them in advance. Do what feels right for you.

Q11: Can we get help with our vows if we are struggling?

Certainly! You can seek assistance from one of our professional wedding vow writers.

Q12: What if we get emotional while saying our vows?

It’s entirely natural to get emotional during this momentous occasion. Embrace the emotions; they make your vows even more genuine. Have a tissue nearby, and take your time.

Lawrence “Steven” Greitzer founded Provenance with the goal of making the ceremony building process more collaborative, more authentic, but less stressful. Provenance has been featured in outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to The Knot.