Writing your own vows may seem overwhelming. There’s so much you want to say, but how do you say it all in front of hundreds of people without breaking down or freaking out? If you and your fiancé decide to write your own vows, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share your heart with your beloved and with your closest friends and family. It can be a lot of pressure and definitely will not be easy, but once you’re standing at the altar,  it’ll all be worth it.

Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

The Internet is your friend

Read lots of example vows to get inspired and see what resonates with you. Find some traditional vows specific to your own religion, if you practice one. Then, read some other more  unique vows then see what stands out to you most. Use some of these samples in your own vows and use these samples as a jumping-off point to get started. Reading examples will help make writing vows seem less daunting.

Talk about it with your fiancé

This may sound obvious, I know, but it’s a very important beginning step. Discuss how you want your vows to come across. Maybe she’s thinking more romantic and you’re thinking silly, but sweet. How do you envision your vows? How long do you each want them to be? Also decide on some logistics. Will you write them together or separately? How traditional do you want them to be?

 And finally, will you share them with each other or keep them a secret until the wedding? All of these are fair topics to discuss before you start writing so you know which direction to go.

 Make promises

That’s what vows are, right? What do you want to do for your fiancé? What do you envision your life together like? Your wedding vows are what guide you through your wedding, so be intentional. Will you both make some of the same promises to each other, similar to traditional vows, or will they be completely original? If you get stuck, ‘to love and cherish’ is always a good place to start.

Take notes on your relationship

Talk about what you love and really take some time to reflect on your fiancé.

  •   What is it about your fiancé that makes her so special?
  •   What does she do that makes you laugh?
  •   How does she encourage you?
  •   What are some of your favorite things about her?
  •   Why did you decide to get married?
  •   When did you know she was the one?
  •   What about her inspires you?
  •   What do you miss most when you two are apart?
  •   How have you supported each other?
  •   What qualities do you admire most about her?

Including some of these reflections into your vows can make any heart melt, and it’s always nice to hear why someone loves you. Reminding your fiancé how much you love her on your big day together is sure to make her smile.

Eliminate Anything too Cryptic or Personal

Vows are the time for you to express your love to all of your friends and family. Make sure everyone can feel included in the moment. This means limiting the inside jokes, weird nicknames or code words. Yes, your vows should be personal, but think about how they will sound 10 years from now. It might be a good idea to have a family member or close friend read them over ahead of time if you feel comfortable.

Embrace the Emotion

As much as you can pretend otherwise, you’re probably going to be a little bit of a wreck on your wedding day. Anxious, excited, happy, sad, afraid, thrilled, confused, hopeful, giddy. There are a lot of emotions to be experienced. Don’t feel like you have to try and keep your cool, especially if you’re a crier. Embrace the tears, or the excitement, or the joy. You might not know how you will feel when you’re reciting your vows, but you might have a pretty good guess. If you think you’ll be sobbing, it might not be a good idea to go for humorous vows. Again, just be authentic.

 Ask someone for help

If you get stuck or aren’t sure, ask a close friend for help; maybe the maid of honor or the best man! Having someone else’s assurance that your vows are on the right track can help you feel less nervous about the writing process.

 Do not Procrastinate

Plan to write your vows a few months before the wedding. You will not be as stressed and that will make the vows much better! This requires a lot of thought and writing from your heart isn’t easy. Don’t expect to crank it out in a single night.

Practice Practice Practice

It might sound a little awkward, but practicing out loud will be your secret public-speaking weapon. You might have written yourself a tongue twister, but you’ll never know unless you practice reading it out loud beforehand. When practicing, don’t do the same thing over and over; listen to yourself  and choose something to improve each time. You can even record yourself reading them and play it back so you know what you sound like. Practicing will help ease your nerves on the big day.

Don’t Forget a Copy

Make a clean copy of your vows for the big day. Use a clean piece of paper with no cross outs and is legible. If you’re afraid you’ll forget your vows, ask someone to hold onto them for you or make extra copies to have on hand so you won’t lose them. Planning ahead will help eliminate stress. A little effort ahead of time will save you a lot of anxiety. Having one less thing to worry about on your wedding day is always a good thing!

And most of all… you do you!

Yes, it can feel like there is a lot of pressure to write the perfect vows, but really, it’s not about how they sound to anyone other than you and your fiancé. No one knows your fiancé better than you do, so write the vows you know she needs to hear. If she loves corny jokes, by all means, throw one in. If she’s more serious, keep the tone more appropriate and heartfelt. Your wedding vows are a chance to share your heart with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. Write from your heart and your vows will be incredible.

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This post was written by Bailey Berberich, Ring Cam blogger