There are two general types of wedding vows: traditional and modern. Modern couples forgo traditional vows in favor of writing unique and personal vows. These wishes are a way to express deep feelings for the love of your life, and you’ll want them to be perfect. So how do you go from an idea to a solemn promise? We’ll walk you through the process with some updated tips and tricks on how to make your own wish-writing a piece of (wedding) cake.
Meet the expert
Michelle M. Winner is an ordained non-denominational marriage minister who has performed marriages for twenty years. She has performed weddings from New York to Hawaii, in courtyards and ballrooms, on sandy beaches, snow-capped peaks and inside the belly of the Spruce Goose plane. Her specialty is creating meaningful and personalized wedding ceremonies with her couples.
Modern wedding vow template
If you’re writing your own vows or getting married in a non-denominational ceremony, follow our simple template.
- List the top three things you love about your partner. You can create full sentences later.
- Share how they inspire you to be a better person. Did they open a door in your soul? Did he show you things about yourself and the world that you never imagined? You can develop the way your loved one complements you.
- Make promises for your life together. Include that you will be there for them through the inevitable ups and downs of life. Remember this bit of wisdom: A shared joy is a doubled joy. A shared sorrow is half sorrow. Use your way of expressing these feelings.
- Use your own favorite saying or quote. Do you have a favorite quote that guides your life? A favorite song or a poem with a line that gets you both excited? It may work to include them.
- Incorporate your beliefs and inspiration. If you have a religious basis, you can include it. For some, exploring the natural beauty of the world is like going to church. Maybe you feel a spiritual connection when you hike together and the sight of a waterfall through a massive redwood stand takes your breath away. Incorporate your beliefs and inspirations into your vows.
- Tell them you love them. On your wedding day, the words “I love you” will never be pronounced enough. At the end of your vows, you could add that “I am your husband / wife”.
Advice on modern wedding vows
Now that you have an idea of where to go with your vows, it’s time to organize and write them down. These tips will help you stay on track and be confident in the vows you have written.
- Don’t procrastinate. The sooner you write your vows, the better. You will have time to practice and send a copy to your officiant before the wedding. You owe it to yourself and your partner to spend the time writing and preparing your vows. A rule of thumb is to give the final copy to the celebrant three weeks before the wedding. Some celebrants may not require you to send them your greetings, but at least you will have them ready before the busy weeks before your wedding.
- Feel free to edit, but not too much. Always leave with your first thoughts when writing your wows, but if you feel the need to make some changes, do so. Don’t worry if your wishes are perfect. They are real and they come from your heart.
- Pay attention to the length and style of your vows. There’s a great spot right before guests lose focus and their eyes start to freeze. Read your wishes to a trusted friend who will give you an honest assessment. Of course, if you are writing an “I will” form of vow, you will be limited to writing a short series of questions that will be asked by the celebrant.
- Delivery and style are essential. Practice reading your vows aloud to get the tone right. Familiarize yourself with your own words. Break up sentences, pause to make them meaningful and catch your breath.
- Remember, this is your wedding and your time. Take your time to speak and state in a clear voice. Look at the person you marry, not the celebrant, not the guests. If you read your vows, look them up in your journal as much as you can.
- Make two final copies on nice paper. Your wedding planner or celebrant will recommend that you print your vows on card stock or gorgeous paper to match your wedding colors or use white. Keep one copy for yourself and give the other to the celebrant for their ceremony book, or your organizer, best man / bridesmaid as a backup. These printed greetings make a lovely addition to your wedding photo album.
- Keep your wishes secret. They are the most important and most anticipated gift you give your loved one on your wedding day. Keep them in your heart until you proclaim your love and commitment at the ceremony.
Answer these questions to get started
Modern wedding vows can range from funny to incredibly touching. To determine which direction to go, ask yourself these questions. Above all, what is important is that you write with your heart, wherever it takes you.
- Are you comfortable speaking in front of people? If so, read your vows aloud. Alternatively, you can always write down your vows and have the officiant read them for you in the form of a question to which you will answer “I do” or “I promise.” Your partner should use the same format for continuity, but this is not required.
- What do wedding vows mean to you? Vows are at the heart of your wedding engagement; promises your loved one that you will renew yourself and live every day. They are a public proclamation of your love.
- Can you include your personal love story in your vows? Examples of supporting each other in hardships, sharing a fun misstep at a surprise engagement, or how you first met at the cafe are a modern way to approach your vows. Telling your personal story out loud has the added benefit of keeping things relaxed. It can elicit a laugh from your audience or a knowing smile as your tale of the mundane becomes a moment to be cherished.
Modern wedding vows to inspire yours
“I love you, you are my best friend, where you are is my place. Before you, I never believed in this person who would heal me. I believe now, and I can’t even imagine my life without you. I promise to love you in the banal, through the extraordinary and especially when it does not come easy. I will encourage you, respect you and love you all my days. Your heart has forever a home in mine.
“I love your kind heart, your bright smile. You understand me, sometimes more than I know myself. Your eyes can tell me things without saying a word. I’m happier when I’m with you. You make me understand what the word “friend” really means. I vow today to love and cherish you; I pledge to do whatever I can to make our life together full of discovery, friendship and laughter and to spend the rest of my sunrises and sunsets loving you. ”
You understand me, sometimes more than I know myself. Your eyes can tell me things without saying a word.
“When I looked into your eyes at our high school reunion, I was completely taken with you, just like I was in high school many years ago. When we first met alone, I fell in love with you again. Tonight, in front of all of our friends and family, I want to offer you this ring, as a promise to be your lover and best friend, forever. With all my integrity and truth in me, for the rest of my life, I give my word of honor to keep myself to you and only you. I will be your strength in difficult times, your soul mate as we build our future together, and most importantly, your best friend to laugh with on our life path. I promise you that as we grow old together, I will always hold your hand in mine.
“From this day forward, I ask you to be my husband. Live with you and laugh with you; stand by your side and sleep in your arms; to be joy for your heart and food for your soul; to always bring out the best in you. To share the joy with you in good times; be by your side in difficult times; to reflect you with my soul; share with you all my riches and my honors; play with you as much as I can, until we get old, and we still love each other gently, and we gladly leave this earth.
“Do you consider Kelli to be your rightful wife?” Live with her in marriage, promising to take her to all the Seahawk games and Coachella with you? Will you love her, cherish her, give her the last chocolate chip cookie dough, comfort her, honor her and keep her? You promise to tell her she’s hotter than Ariana Grande, to keep her hair out of the bathroom when she’s sick, to walk the Pacific Coast Trail in good health; share a life of adventures both big and small and abandoning all others, be faithful to him as long as you both love him? ”