How to Write Wedding Vows
with guest blog writer and officiant Emily of Rooted and Wild
We are so excited to share with you this new blog on how to write your vows!! To us, this is the most important part of your elopement day, sharing your words + promises with each other. This is one of the most special things about elopements because, its just you two sometimes, meaning you get the whole world to yourselves for this moment. While this is the most connected part of the day, for some it can be the most challenging to do. Why? Welp, marrying someone is HUGE! You love this person so much, how do you communicate that?? We hope this blog helps!
We have brought in an amazing officiant, celebrant and vow workshop provider, Emily, the owner of Rooted and Wild. She is based out of the great Pacific Northwest and I highly recommend her if you’re looking for someone to hold your ceremony on your elopement or wedding day. Let’s dig into what advice and tips she has to give!
- Adventure + Vow’s Tips on Including your Vows in your Elopement Day
- A Celebrant’s Tips for Writing your Vows
- Looking for an Elopement Photographer?
Adventure + Vow’s Tips on Including your Vows in your Elopement Day
How do I start my Vows?
Some eloping couples have an actual ceremony with an officiant – that could be us or one of your guest that is ordained! This is helpful in getting your vows started as they are apart of a planned out ceremony. However, many of our couples choose to elope just them two or read their vows privately outside of the formal ceremony. In this case, how do you start your vows? Easy, you just do!! To be more exact, you decide who will go first + start reading. Some couples start this ahead of time. Some couples play paper, rock, scissors to decide who goes first. Remember, this is your day your ceremony, do it your way.
I think it is also important to note, you do not have to stand to read your vows! We have also had couples sit to read their vows to each other. Be comfortable – that is key.
How to end your vows?
You can end your vows with a kiss! Or you can end your vows by going into your ring exchange or any other type of thing you plan include in your ceremony. If you have someone officiating your ceremony, typically your vows will end by starting the repeat after me legal binding vows.
Can you write your vows together?
Totally! We wrote your vows sitting side by side each other in our van. We didn’t share with each other what we writing, but we enjoyed each other’s company throughout the process. In past elopements we have had couples write their vows together while sitting in a bubble bath! We have ad couple’s get together at sunrise on their elopement day, hike down to a river, sit back to back and write their vows! For some people it takes months to write your vows – noting ideas, putting together drafts, etc – so you can always write your final copy like this if you do not want to do the whole thing that morning.
As an eloping couple + elopement photographers, here are our take aways…
When we wrote our vows in 2021 it was a new experience, just like it is for you. We have heard hundreds of vows, which makes it quite daunting to need to write your own all of a sudden. We wrote our vows over a 3-4 week period (key here: give yourself time to write these!). We wrote our vows on our computers so it was easy to edit, delete, add and rearrange. We wrote them separately and together, without sharing. Then before our elopement we transferred them into vow books. Key here: put your vows in a special place, not your phone 🙂
What helped me the most (Traci) when writing my vows was to think about these things and in this order:
- What’s our story, how did we meet, what stands out
- What do I love about this person
- What do we want for the future
- What can I promise him as his forever partner
- Bonus: We backpacked 76 miles to our ceremony, so last minute I made some add in changes that related to the experience we had to get here.
A Celebrant’s Tips for Writing your Vows
Vows are my favorite part of the wedding ceremony. I love hearing the sincere bravery of an undefended heart, the hilarity of inside jokes, and the raw honesty of hope. It is a powerful exchange of promise. Because of that, vow writing can be a daunting process for many people. It might feel impossible to distill the contents of your heart. And how will you know if you picked the right words?
I’m here to tell you that there is no wrong way to write your vows. Yes, there are reflection questions and potential structures that might help but at the root of it, you are the only one who can write your own vows. It’s your unique love story. I have heard a lot of different vows as a Celebrant and I can honestly say that they have all been utterly beautiful because they came straight from the heart. So, that’s the good news. You can take a deep breath. You’re going to be fine, they’re going to be beautiful, and I promise that writing your vows can actually be a fun part of your wedding planning process. And we all know that you could use something fun to focus on in these uncertain times.
So, where do you begin with writing your own vows?
I love this quote by Hilary T. Smith: “People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”
So, where do you start with vow writing? You start by writing down the details in reverence for the cracks in the sidewalk and the secret rooftops of your lover. You fell in love with a unique person and there are so many specific things that you love about them. We rarely reflect back to our partners that we love the freckles on their shoulder or the way they always cry during Hallmark commercials. There is such reverence in these little details. Start there.
Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- Make a list of songs, places, inside jokes and favorite memories that are significant to your relationship. Nothing is too small or seemingly insignificant to mention.
- How does your partner show you that they love you?
- How does your partner make you laugh?
- How have you changed since meeting your partner?
- What promises do you want to make to your partner?
Next, take a look at what you’ve written and notice what jumps out at you. More than likely you won’t include every single thing that you just wrote down in your vows. You’ve got your entire marriage to keep sharing these details with one another, so don’t worry about cramming it all into your vows. But take a look at the things you’ve written and consider what rises to the surface. What feels juicy and important to include in your vows? Make note of these things.
When you sit down to write, take a deep breath and imagine looking at your fiance on your wedding day. Let the words flow. Be honest, be brave, be vulnerable. Most of all, be yourself. If you are a serious person, no need to turn into a comedian when writing your vows. You be you.
How long should my vows be?
There are no rules, though I typically see them range between 1-3 minutes (½ to 1 page typed). If you’re worried about your vows being way longer or shorter than your partner’s vows, talk about it before you sit down to write and agree on an approximate length. No need to time them and get all analytical with it because the length of your vows has no correlation with how much you love your partner. Say what you want to say in as much time as it takes you to say those things.
**Adventure and Vow’s Answer to this question: We eloped just us two, out ceremony was close to 30 minutes, which was basically us just reading our vows to each other! At an elopement, your vows can be 1 minute or they can be an hour! This is your ceremony, your day and your time to connect, be together, embrace the moment. Do not stress about their length if they are long or short. You do you.
Can you show me an example of a wedding vow?
Here is an excerpt from vows that were written by someone who came to my vow writing workshops claiming that she wasn’t a writer and didn’t know where to start:
“For me, home is in your arms. A feeling of calmness runs through me. It’s where I feel most safe and tranquil. Your infectious, bright smile is the first thing I fell in love with. More specifically, the gap between your two front teeth. Laughing with you is my daily medicine. I love your perpetual quest for meaningful connections to people and animals and your thirst for adventure, nature, pleasure, travel and excitement. Your ability to learn anything you truly care to is a thing of beauty and your ability to see people for who they are and not just the surface, is a true gift. You inspire me each day by working to be your best self. I am proud of the ambitious, courageous, compassionate woman I am becoming by way of illustration. You have contributed more to my life than I thought anyone ever could. You are always there when I need you, supporting me in whatever I do.”
Our hearts are beautiful writers. Let yours speak.
If you’d like additional guidance, I encourage you to come to a vow writing workshop! It’s a fun evening of reflection and connection, available online or in-person in Portland, Oregon. I believe in creating inclusive and fiercely loving spaces in my workshops. All love stories are welcome and honored.
Celebrant and Owner of Rooted & Wild: Spirited Ceremonies
Portrait by Marissa Solini Photography
Looking for an Elopement Photographer?
Here at Adventure & Vow we are here for you every step of the way. We love providing blog posts to help you plan your day and get ideas for your elopement. Once we start working with a couple we help them connect with other vendors they need, finding the best locations and helping them plan the logistics. Your elopement day should be the day you are most connected to each other. We are here to help you a have a day that allows this in some of the most beautiful places in the world. As a planner, photographer, guide and friend we value your experience. We are beyond blessed to capture couple’s love story the day of to help you two preserve these moments forever.
If you are looking for even more help and inspiration on writing your vows check out Wandering Wedding’s blog post, How to Write Wedding Vows Guide. One of the recent elopements I photographed was featured along with their wedding ceremony and vows.