How to Write Your Wedding Vows: Wed Mayhem
4 min

How to Write Your Wedding Vows

wedding vows

It seemed like a good idea at the time. The two of you would write your own wedding vows, telling your own story, perfectly summing up your relationship thus far, and personalizing the promises you’ll make to each other. But when you sat down with that blank page…nothing. How could mere words sum up your overwhelming love? How could you perfectly phrase how much you appreciate his support? Why can you talk for an hour about a single Taylor Swift lyric but writing vows give you a total mental block? 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ll take you step-by-step through what can be the daunting process of writing your own vows, from how long they should last to what you can leave out to what should definitely be included.

But first, some quick don’ts and a do about what you’re trying to accomplish:

What your vows don’t need to do:

  • Chronicle every minute of your relationship
  • Make everyone cry (they might, but they certainly don’t have to)
  • Express every feeling you’ve ever felt
  • Go into TMI-land
  • Lay out every promise you’ll make to each other over the next 60 years

What your vows need to do:

Be an honest representation of your love and relationship thus far and express commitment to your shared future. 

That’s it! All your vows have to be is an authentic reflection of the two of you. They don’t have to win any awards or create a new literary genre. Now that we know what you’re trying to accomplish with your personalized vows, here are 8 tips for when you’re ready to sit down with that blank page again.

1. Find examples

Google “wedding vows” and you’ll get more than 62 million results—surely one of them will speak to you. We’re not saying to steal Sam and Kasey’s vows word for word, but maybe a sentiment or phrasing will light a spark for you, which will then ignite the flames of your perfect-for-you vows. Or at the very least, you’ll know what you don’t want to say. 

2. Start writing

It doesn’t have to be what you end up using. It doesn’t have to be great. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be coherent. It just has to be words on a page. You don’t want to force anything, but then again, you don’t want to be stuck with this herculean task the night before you say “I Do.” Flashes of brilliance come to the prepared, so put in the work of jotting some thoughts down, and something great will emerge. 

3. Mind your past

Before embarking on all the wonderful promises you’ll make, go back to what got you to the altar. Was there a moment when you knew they were The One? Are they the only person who can pick you up when you’re down/make your morning coffee just right/crack your poker face? Think specifically about what you love most about them and share that. Speak to them as only you can, and everyone will appreciate it.

4. Look to your future

This is just the beginning of your lives together, and while you can’t predict how the next several decades will go, you can talk about what you’d like them to look like. Maybe you want international adventures, children, or a gaggle of pugs. Share a bit about what you hope is to come, and how you’ll love them throughout the journey. 

5. Make a joke if it feels natural

The great thing about personalized vows is that they’re, well, personal. If you’re not a sappy couple, you don’t have to pretend to be. Joke about her crappy cooking or his technological ineptitude. Bring up the hilarious way you met. If you’re comfortable cracking jokes, by all means, crack ‘em. 

6. But don’t embarrass them

This is your wedding ceremony, not a Comedy Central roast. 

7. Make your promises

Yes, you want to cover the whole for richer or poorer, in sickness and health commitment thing, but feel free to also promise to laugh at every joke they make, no matter how stupid; to take only one bite, even when what they ordered is better; to never watch the next episode without them; and to leave cilantro off of their taco every Tuesday, for as long as you both shall live.

8. Practice

Rehearsing your vows, whether in front of a friend or the mirror, accomplishes a few things. First, the more familiar you are with what you’re going to say, the better it will come out on your wedding day. Second, these are very personal words, and they could very well stir up a lot of emotions. While it’s totally fine if you shed some tears at the altar, you want to finish your sentence without ugly crying, and repeating the vows beforehand will get you ugly cry-free on the big day. And last, saying the vows out loud will give you an idea of how long they’ll take. You want to make sure they’re a good length—no more than a couple minutes, but probably longer than 20 seconds.

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4 min

Your Wedding Toast Questions Answered

Wedding toast

Let us be the first (or close to it) to raise a virtual glass in your honor and say cheers to you, future bride or groom! We know that the wedding planning journey is not always sunshine, cake tasting, and rainbows. Here to answer all your toast and wedding speech etiquette questions is Wedding Wingman Ashley McHone of Always Flawless Design and Planning! 

Who Should Give A Toast?

Instead of opening the floor to anyone, you should decide who you want to give a toast before your wedding. While it is nice to be able to let anyone tell stories and inside jokes, once you let one person, everyone will want a turn.

Wedding Wingman Wisdom

“I recommend you have four people give a toast at your wedding.”

Traditionally, close family members and the bridal party, specifically your maid of honor, the best man, and parents are the ones chosen to give toasts at your wedding party. Even the newlyweds may want to raise their glasses and thank everyone for coming to their special day.

Since you don’t want to force anyone to give a toast, it’s always a good idea to test the waters and propose the idea to them ahead of time. After you decide who you want to speak, always make sure to give them a heads up so they can prepare.

How Long is A Good Wedding Speech

Ashley recommends a time limit of around five minutes maximum. This means you should aim for less than 750 words. This ensures that your guests won’t get bored during the speech and that one giving the toast, who could probably talk about you forever, will stay on track. 

 “We’ve actually had fathers of the brides and best men that talk for over 45 minutes.”

If you do find yourself with more people willing to give toasts than the time allotted for, a great solution is offering them the opportunity at your rehearsal dinner.

When Do You Give a Wedding Toast?

It depends who you are. The groom’s parents tend to give toasts at the rehearsal dinner, as they traditionally host that event. During the wedding reception, it would be the bride’s parents’ turn to give a speech. During the wedding reception, friends, like the best man and maid of honor, should go first, followed by the couple’s parents. Last, the couple can give a toast, if they’re so inclined. However, it’s your wedding your way – this is simply a guideline that some choose to follow, but there’s no right or wrong way!

Toast Image

Is It Okay To Read a Wedding Toast? 

Obviously, as we aren’t your bride and groom, it’s not really up to us. If you are feeling nervous, it would not hurt to ask! We’ve found most people will bring notes on their phone or notecards to refer back to. This gives you the ability to speak from the heart, but have a script to fall back on!

What Do I Do if I’m Nervous About Making a Toast?

Most people have at least a little fear surrounding public speaking, so it’s totally normal to feel nervous. Here are some ways to calm yourself down when you get the jitters: Make sure you’ve practiced. Preparation is your ultimate weapon against wedding day speech nerves. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

1. Make sure you’ve practiced. Preparation is your ultimate weapon against wedding day speech nerves. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

2. Think of yourself as successful. Imagine yourself giving the perfect speech. You hit all the major points, say what you want to say, and don’t stumble. Keep up this positive thinking and your body will follow.

3. Try to focus on the speech, and the speech alone. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone else and worrying what they’ll think or how they’ll react. But the only thing you have total control over is what you say and how you say it. Focus on that, and let the rest fall into place.

4. Admit you’re nervous. Let the audience know this isn’t your jam and they’ll be even more likely to root for you. Everyone knows how tough it is to be in the spotlight, and no one will be judging you harshly.

What To Put in A Wedding Speech 

When sharing special moments and stories, it’s important to set guidelines for what you’re comfortable with. Always consider the audience of your wedding: Do you want your grandmother hearing about a drunk college night? 

It’s totally fair to ask those giving a toast to steer away from anything inappropriate, to try to keep the inside/private jokes to a minimum, and to ask them to not bring up past relationships. By setting a couple of ground rules to toasting topics, you’ll have a toast that everyone can enjoy. 

Not sure what to say or need help getting started? Check out our blog on the Do’s and Don’ts to Writing a Wedding Speech so that your toast is unforgettable! 

Meet Your Wedding Wingman!

Ashley McHone is a wedding planner and designer who founded Always Flawless Productions nearly ten years ago. With hundreds of incredible weddings under her belt, Ashley joined Wed Mayhem to help couples dive into this crazy process with a plan.

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