As a professional wedding vow writer, brides and grooms come to me for help most often because they have no idea how to begin writing their own wedding vows. I totally get it. You’ve finally found the love of your life and you’re about to make this huge commitment. Which words could possibly be capable of capturing your emotions and honoring this milestone of entering into marriage?
I can see your computer screen now. A flashing cursor on a blank sheet.
When I work with brides to write their wedding vows, it begins with a video call where I ask a series of questions to understand their relationship, feelings, and marital wishes. I’ve found the key to writing true and meaningful wedding vows starts way before you attempt to put pen to paper. It starts with asking questions. And not just any questions. It begins with asking the right questions. With my background in journalism, this completely makes sense to me. The right question can lead to the perfect quote or the factual find that ties a story together. When working with brides, the right question can mean discovering an entire section of her wedding vows that will make the groom's heart melt.
So how do you know what questions to ask yourself when you sit down to write your own wedding vows? Well, I’ve made it easy for you. I’m going to share with you three of my favorite questions I ask my clients. These questions get to the heart of how you feel and will inspire you to instantly start writing. Here we go!
Question #1: When you think of your relationship compared to others you’ve had, what makes this one uniquely special?
Unless you are high school sweethearts, you’ve likely had romantic relationships prior to this one. And there’s a reason those other relationships did not work. As weird as it might be to consider your old boyfriends while sitting down to write your wedding vows, try it. Recalling why a past relationship failed will bring to light characteristics about your current relationship that make this one so right.
Did your college boyfriend prioritize keg stands and nursing his hangovers over spending time with you? Did your most recent ex skip out on attending family events? Maybe you saw kids in your future and he didn’t. Once you’ve identified what didn’t work with your exes, highlight how it’s different with your fiancé. Perhaps he’s a huge family man who loves getting together with your nieces to play with them. Or maybe, unlike your college boyfriend, he comes home early from bar night with his buddies because he knows you’re sick and wants to be there for you.
It’s human to draw conclusions based on comparisons. Now you can put all of those past relationships, and the tear soaked pillowcases they caused, to good use. Jot down a list of qualities you always felt were missing in the past that you now joyfully experience with your fiancé.
Question #2: What hopes and dreams do you have for your future husband?
Wedding vows are an opportunity to not only recap what you love about him and why you love him but it’s also about looking into the future and announcing what you desire for him in your marriage. When the words just aren’t flowing, it’s sometimes effective to turn to a different medium, like visual art.
If you’re an artsy type, pull out your water colors, charcoal, colored pencils—whatever! Determine your creative weapon of choice, put on a playlist of music that captures your relationship vibe, and think about your future. Now just start making art. Draw a picture. Connect the colors. Afterward, sit back and reflect on the image you’ve created. Set your phones voice recording feature on and start to describe your piece of art the way you would to a friend or if you were presenting it in front of a classroom. Don’t overthink it, just speak from your heart about your creation. You’ll discover that many of the words you use to describe the piece will be applicable to answering this question.
If paint brushes aren’t your style, I suggest the brain dump exercise. Still turn up the tunes (there’s something about music that helps tap into your subconscious and that’s where all the really good stuff resides), and spend 15 minutes scribbling down every thought, word, doodle that comes to mind when you think of your future marriage with him. The key is not to judge any one thought but to just get it out of your head and onto paper. In the end, you’ll have a list of notes that reflect how you see your future together and hopefully some good nuggets to pull from for your wedding vows.
Question #3: Why are you marrying him? Why did you say yes to this guy?
This is hands down my favorite question. Most often because it’s the question no one asks. It forces you to dig deep and consider why this person of all the people. Because of this, it’s powerful beyond imagination.
Start to consider your answers but with this guideline in mind—avoid all non-specific answers. Things like, “he’s sweet” or “he’s so thoughtful” are too vague. Your fiancé may very well be sweet and thoughtful but so are a ton of men. What makes his version of sweet and thoughtful unique? What makes these universal qualities in him so special to you?
Maybe “sweet” really means he makes every day feel like your birthday by brewing your coffee before you’ve even stepped out of bed. Thoughtful might translate into him leaving you a little love note in your lunch bag for you to open at work on a day he knows you’re going to have a stressful meeting. What makes your man, the man for you? Why couldn’t anyone else take his place? Once you dive deep into this question, it will become so delicious. These are the reasons you’re so in love with him and these are the things that make you excited to share the rest of your life together.
Those are my three questions to help jumpstart writing your vows. I’d love to hear from you. How did this help? What other questions did you ask yourself while writing your vows? Follow me on Instagram @katelynstanis or shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy wedding writing, girlfriend!