My husband and I wrote our own wedding vows, and those words were the very heart of what made our ceremony feel so special — and so very us. Of course, there are plenty of ways to add a personal touch to your big day, and traditional vows can be just as meaningful, but in my experience, written vows were the right choice.
So how, exactly, did we go about writing the words we'd share with each other during one of the most important days of our lives, in front of all the people we love? Well, we each approached it differently. As a writer, I planned ahead, and a few months before our wedding, I started a note on my phone so that I could add and edit words as they came to me. I knew from the beginning that I wanted my vows to read like a poem, the rhythm of the words just as important as the words themselves. A few things I kept in mind as I wrote were:
- The vows should be inclusive. Yes, your wedding is about you, but it's also a celebration for all the people who love you. An anecdote or inside joke can be sweet, but sometimes it's better to be more general, writing words that everyone can understand.
- A vow is a promise. Whether you're reading traditional, religious vows or words you tied together yourself, what you're saying should feel sacred to you. Think about the words and phrases that tug at your heartstrings or those that have some sort of special meaning for you and your other half.
- Edit, edit, edit. In the words of a POPSUGAR editor, one really good word can be more powerful than two. (Think: magnificent vs. really great.)
While I planned, my husband "let his thoughts marinate" in the weeks leading up to our wedding, putting pen to paper just days before we said "I do" because he wanted to pull from the intense feelings that are inevitable in that last week. Somehow, in those final days, he managed to memorize every word, and the exchange of our vows is my most cherished memory from my most special day.
It had been overcast throughout the morning, and that afternoon, in a true movie-like moment, the clouds finally parted when the officiant told us it was time for the vows. I went first, and as I spoke, Radley couldn't even smile, his lips pressed together to keep from crying. But the best moment of the day was all his, because as soon as I finished saying my vows, he turned to our friends and family, saying, "This isn't fair. She's a writer!" Everyone cracked up, including me, and it made the whole ceremony feel so perfectly casual. Even better? He went on to absolutely nail it, sharing such sweet, sincere words that even my most cool, collected friends ended up crying.
Our written vows are in frames that hang in our bedroom, a daily reminder of how and why we love each other. Here are the words I said that day, the ones I live and love by:
My best friend,
My brightest light,
My husband from this day forward:
You are the greatest, most magnificent man I've ever known.
You've taught me peace and charity, strength and integrity,
The beautiful bliss of life's most simple joys.
You've shown me what it means to be good and true,
What it's like to wake up each day
With faith and hope and a fearless, grateful spirit.
I love you for so many reasons, but I love you most for your heart —
Your true and kind and open, compassionate heart.
Our love has always felt both incredible and inevitable,
A miracle that's meant to be,
And my most cherished blessing is to know that I'm yours.
Today, surrounded by the ones we love,
I vow to honor, inspire, and respect you for the rest of our days.
I'm yours, Radley, forever and always:
All that I am now, and all that I'll ever be.