So you want to write your wedding vows…but where do you start?
Do you ever get writer’s block?
If you’re planning a traditional wedding or an elopement, this can become quite the task!
Remove the Guesswork
It can be hard to put all those emotions and intentions into words. I’m excited to have Kate from Tapestry Event Co as a guest blogger today to share practical tips on writing vows as well as an incredible resource!
I first met Kate when she officiated Abby + Patrick’s wedding. I loved her demeanor and calming personality, you could really tell she invested in a relationship with Abby + Patrick and their ceremony was truly inspiring! Kate and her team are elopement and wedding planners and officiants and we know her tips and this special resource will be such a helpful tool in writing your own vows! Take it away Kate!
WE ARE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT VOWS. That all caps introduction is a little aggressive, but to write it any other way would just not be accurate. I’m Kate, the Creative Director + Founder of Tapestry Event Co. It’s nice to meet you. Our offerings include planning and officiating services for weddings and elopements. We believe that this is our soul work; that guiding couples through the planning process and into a celebration that embodies their marriage legacy builds a stronger foundation for their partnership.
We see the ceremony as your opportunity to share what this legacy is about. Your vows are an opportunity to give your perspective an equal voice in creating that future with your partner. We know that it can be hard to start putting those kinds of words and feelings and ideas onto paper. So we’re here to share some of our favorite ways to kick writer’s block, as well as some of the common ways you might get stuck while writing your vows (and how to overcome that). Kudos to you for being so intentional with your words. Let’s get started!
Our favorite ways to begin writing vows…
Journal about your favorite memory. We like memories because they have already happened. That fact alone makes it easier to describe what went on, how you felt, and why that impression is still with you today. If you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper, start with a favorite memory together. Pick just one and zoom in. The description doesn’t have to be any one way.
You can start with how things looked or smelled or felt on that particular day; then describe what you experienced or endeavored to do; move to what you did or said to one another; then layer in reflections or emotions. If you can tie that memory into meaning, then you’re off to a great start! Whether this memory becomes a part of your final vows doesn’t matter. Getting into the space where you can write your thoughts and feelings down on paper about the person you are marrying is. If anything, consider this your warm up to get into the vow writing flow. If this story ends up becoming a core part of your vows, then wonderful!
Create a list of promises. At the core, your vows are promises to one another. In essence, vows and promises are the same: a declaration, assurance, or dedication. So if the word “vows” is presenting a roadblock to writing, rename them “promises.” Start a list of the promises you want to make to your partner.
The list can include promises to keep doing things that you’ve learned work well in your relationship; to be mindful of things that do not work; strive towards shared goals and dreams together; to support one another in your distinct ambitions; to care for each other in ways only you know how; and to live in abundance together. This list is by no means exhaustive of the things to write about but it should be a solid starting point. You can keep your list general if that is more your style, but we also love hearing specificity. The small descriptors and inside jokes tend to bring forward more smiles, laughter, and tears.
Reflect on how you or your partner have grown over the course of your relationship. We love a good brag. Lifting each other up is one of the best things you can do for a human (because we all know what an imperfect species we are). You can absolutely use your vows as a platform to share how you’ve watched your partner grow and evolve over the course of your relationship. Chances are you’ve seen ups and downs, challenge and triumph, and those are all something you can celebrate as part of your vows. Write those beautiful experiences down on paper.
Share that you see your partner and celebrate them. Tell them that you are proud of them and will continue to be proud of them. Describe how you have shown up for them before and how you will continue to show up for them in the future. Life has its twists and turns. To choose to witness and show up for each other’s journey, in addition to your own, is one of the biggest gifts of marriage.
Ways that we see couples get stuck…
Relying on quotes. Quotes are a great place to look for inspiration if the idea train just won’t leave the station. They are best leveraged when they come from a place of shared experience, such as a favorite movie or song. Thanks to the internet, inspirational quotes placed on colorful nature backgrounds are in abundance. You can Google just about any kind of quote you please. However, we sometimes encounter couples relying on quotes a little too much. That can look like getting caught in a scroll of quotes, searching for the perfect one, but never quite finding it.
The trouble with quotes is that, while they may strike a chord when considered in an isolated context, they are often hard to apply to your own personal experience, especially when it comes to something as complex and multifaceted as a loving relationship. Finding the perfect quote may not be possible; there may not have been anyone famous that came before and put to words exactly what you are feeling. And that’s okay. Don’t let it trip you up. Instead, take a deep breath and reset if the quote scroll is coming up dry. We have lots of prompts in our Workbook to help get your original thoughts and ideas flowing.
Writing a history of your relationship. If you are considering writing a summary of your relationship as part of your vows, we applaud you for the ambition but caution you before doing some real heavy-lifting. Writing a history of your relationship is a lot of work. We see this come up when a wedding or elopement has guests in attendance, and when you want to make sure the day is contextualized for your witnesses. If that is the case your intention is spot on, but know that providing context for the day is the work of your officiant, not the work of you and your vows. Let your vows be about key memories and feelings, not an oral history of your shared experiences.
We also see this approach come up when couples can’t quite find a direction to begin writing. Something in our monkey brains goes back to school papers where summarizing what you learned before you develop an opinion or conclusion is a way to get words on paper and process your thoughts. If that is your approach, give yourself some permission and space to start with a bit of history but be sure that the end product doesn’t span more than a paragraph or two. What your partner wants to hear is what you feel and intend, rather than a summary of what has passed.
Getting caught up in comparison. Hot tip: Your vows don’t have to be the same. Certainly they can be, and there is nothing wrong with that. But know that your vows can also be distinct, unique, and full of personality if you choose. We see this come up when one person has a first draft of their vows while the other is endeavoring to make their start, and the partner making their start asks or compares their vision against their partner’s to make sure they are “on the right track.” While this might give you an initial surge of confidence, it can also stunt your creativity to work within someone else’s writing boundaries and expectations.
If you can, make a first draft independent of your partner’s input or feedback. They want to hear your vows from your heart, not your vows filtered through their writing style. Some couples also have a hard time knowing what is important to keep the same versus expressing in their own creative way. If there are some characteristics of your vows that you would like to stay aligned on, then have a conversation about it. In our Vow Writing Workbook we recommend a few topics and traits to discuss together to make sure that you are allowing for similarities and differences in areas you agree upon.
By now, we hope that all-caps introduction to this article feels justified. We are truly so passionate about the ceremony you are creating. We want you to feel present, confident, and joyous when it comes to the moment where you share your vows. It is our desire that this article gives you the tips you need to get started with the writing process. If you dig what we have to say and want more guidance on what to write about, how to incorporate your ideas into a cohesive set of vows, or whether to calibrate your expectations with your partner, then we recommend checking out our Vow Writing Workbook. It’s the perfect tool to host your individual vow writing processes, as well as a venue to spark important conversations as you ramp into your marriage day. We wish you the best and are honored to have a small part in your journey. <3
Officiating: Tapestry Event Co
Planning: The Greatest Wedding Adventure
Florals: Rusted Vase Floral Co
HMUA: Makeup Artist Angela – Angie Evans