Writing your own wedding vows can be a challenge but the even more puzzling part is editing your wedding vows. As a wedding vow writer and the founder of Wedding Words, I collaborate with engaged couples to write, edit, and perfect their unique wedding vows.
Editing is my favorite part of the process. I view polishing a first draft as when good is teetering on the edge of sweet perfection, and then we push it over the edge.
Have you written the first draft of your own wedding vows? As next steps, you are ready to enter the editing process.
For non-writers (which most engaged couples are), the editing phase can be intimating, and you may be unsure of what to do or where to begin.
Follow these tips for how to edit your own wedding vows and you’ll be in a stress-free workflow—from the first draft to a fabulous final copy of your wedding vows.
Reread Your Work: When you edit your own wedding vows, you’ll reread it—over and over again. You’ll view the draft through the eye of an editor rather than the eye of a bride.
Each time you read your vows as an editor, you’ll be on the lookout for different things like phrasing, word choice, and length.
Embrace the fact that you’ll be rereading your vows several times and know that each time you do, you’ll discover a new way to improve your wedding vows.
Cut Unnecessary Words: As you scan each sentence, are there any words that don’t add value? Could you say the same thing without including certain words?
For example, look at this sentence: In so many different ways, our love has really grown.
What if you cut out the unnecessary words? It may look like this: Our love has grown in many different ways.
Here’s another example of how you can cut unnecessary words from your wedding vows:
Before sentence: To me, you are my favorite part of traveling this world together. I view adventure as when you and I are exploring together.
After sentence: You are my favorite part of traveling this world together. I view adventure as us exploring together.
Do you notice how it feels more specific and tighter?
Reread each sentence and see what words you can remove to make your vows more articulate. Your own wedding vows will pack a stronger emotional punch when you do.
Remove or Reword What You’ve Already Said: Every sentence should introduce a new idea. If you’ve already said something similar, either find a way to make a new statement or remove it.
For example, you may have written about how your fiancé makes you feel comforted at the start of your vows. You don’t need to mention how comforted you always feel with him halfway through your wedding vows.
In this case, find a new way to articulate how he makes you feel.
Show Instead of Tell: The key to any great writing or storytelling is to get specific. Instead of simply saying what you feel—show it.
You may recall this concept of “show, don’t tell” from your high school writing classes. Here’s how you can apply it to wedding vow writing.
Example sentence of telling: I love how adventurous and spontaneous you are and how your personality inspires the fun trips we take together.
Example sentence of showing: I love your adventurous side—whether it’s planning our zip-lining trip through Costa Rica or encouraging me to start my own business—you’re spontaneous and bold personality makes my life more exciting.
See how by adding some specific details, your vows come to life? The sentiment you’re attempting to communicate is made more apparent through the art of showing and your fiancé will feel it.
Track Your Word Count: Be sure to monitor how many words your wedding vows are. Your goal should be to write unique wedding vows that are between 390 to 650 words. This will be about three to five minutes in speaking length.
This is an ideal amount of time to capture what you want to say while also keeping guests engaged, and your ceremony on track.
Read Your Vows Out Loud: Have you ever read something and thought—no one speaks like that! Sometimes when we write, we can have a tendency to want to make things sound more poetic and fanciful.
Read your personalized wedding vows out loud to hear if they really sound like you. If you wrote something that doesn’t sound like a phrase you’d actually say—change it.
These are your personalized wedding vows so they should sound like you.
Leave the Inside Jokes Outside: Ask your cinematographer, photographer, wedding planner—they’ll all tell you to leave inside jokes outside of your wedding vows.
These jokes will fall flat with guests and this part of your vows won’t stand the test of time on your wedding video.
Want your personalized wedding vows to include some elements that are unique to you two only?
While you should remove inside jokes, you can embrace other unique things like the names you only use for each other or perhaps the way you two say I love you. After all, look at Han Solo and Princess Leia or Demi Moore with Patrick Swayze in Ghost; they each had a unique way of expressing I love you.
Reword What Could be Read as Accidently Offensive: There may be parts within your wedding vows that you wrote with good intent but in reality, do not come across in the best light.
For example, here’s a sentence that has good intention but isn’t ideal: Even with all your flaws, you’re better than my dream man.
Directly saying that your soon-to-be-husband has flaws, while true (we all do!), isn’t something you’d want to express at the altar. Instead, capture the same sentiment but reword it.
Here’s an example: You are better than the man I dreamed of because you’re real.
You highlight the positive (he’s your dream man) while also grounding the statement (by saying he’s real).
Hire a Professional to Edit Your Work: Editing your own wedding vows is tough. You may want to consider hiring help.
At Wedding Words, I work with couples throughout the entire vow writing process. This includes lots of editing to ensure these personalized wedding vows are created to perfectly capture the couples love story.
Get in touch today so we can start your vow writing and editing process together.