Dos and Don'ts for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

wedding ceremony

Photo Credit: Ian Grant Photography

Your wedding vows are the most sacred and meaningful words you’ll ever speak. Some couples opt to use traditional vows, capped off with that memorable "I do," while others prefer to be wed in their own words. My fiancé Corey and I have decided to include both versions at our nuptials. Although we won't be sharing our personal vows with anyone until the day of our wedding (we don't want to give away the surprise!), here are some ways we're making them meaningful to us.

Plus, check out 30+ examples of wedding vows.

1. DO make it personal. The reason why many couples choose to write their own vows is because they want to convey their love for one another in a unique way that is specific to their relationship as a couple. Describe why you care about your partner and how much you value the fact that they've chosen to spend the rest of their life with you.

2. DON'T make it too personal. Remember, you have an audience… and that might include Grandma and Grandpa! Reference personal aspects of your relationship, but avoid mentioning how sexy you think your future husband/wife is or anything else that can be misconstrued as borderline inappropriate. It's probably best to tell them these things in private.

3. DO feel free to add some humor! If there is a (brief) joke or funny story you want to include in your vows, go for it! Who says they can only be serious to tug at guests' heartstrings? If you're a couple that is defined by your ability to laugh together, then lighten the mood by vowing to always fold the laundry since your fiancé is so bad at it (this rings true in my relationship).

4. DON'T make your vows one big joke. Humor can be potent, so use it sparingly to punctuate your vows. You still want to take your vows seriously, even if you're not mushy, overly romantic types.

5. DO consider setting a word count. If one person’s vows are short and sweet, only a few sentences or so, while the other person speaks for 15 minutes about every wonderful little nuance that they love about their partner, then the vows as a whole will seem unbalanced. Don't share too much information with your fiancé beforehand about what you plan to say, but do discuss setting a word limit to ensure that your vows are nicely balanced.

6. DON'T over-think things. Writing your own vows can be nerve-racking—you're confessing your private feelings and making life-or-death promises in front of all the loved ones in your life. But don't let the pressure get to you! Speak from the heart and what you say will never be "wrong."

7. DO keep a copy of the vows to give to your husband/wife afterward. Whether you plan to do a cute DIY project incorporating your handwritten vows or simply want to frame them to read over and over again, you'll be glad that you saved them. 

Tell us: Do you plan on writing your own vows? Why or why not?

— Nikki Stroud


Nikki Stroud is a real bride who is learning every step of the way when it comes to wedding planning. She and her fiancé, Corey Allan (both Ball State alums), will be married in September of 2012 in front of their friends and family in Indianapolis. Glittering ivory lights, exposed plumbing and sleek wood floors depict their romantic yet rustic venue in the Downtown area. The couple hopes to incorporate personal touches to make the celebration truly reflect their relationship.