Writing Your Own Vows

Mr. Whale and I wrote our own vows. And I’m so glad that we did. But, truthfully, it wasn’t the easiest thing on earth. When I set out to write my vows, I just stared at my computer screen thinking, “Is there a template for this thing? Should I have a plan? What am I doing??”

In case you’re lost like I was, here is a little suggested road map for how to get from, “Oh no!! The vows!” to a personal declaration of your love.


Because we all want a few tears, right?

1. Decide whether you want to write your vows together or if you want them to be a surprise.

If you write them together, you can probably avoid some of the other issues I’ll mention. If you write them separately, you have the element of surprise. It’s up to you. I personally was a fan of our surprise vows. But then again, I knew Mr. Whale would write something beautiful, because that’s just the kind of person he is. He is definitely the more emotional one of us and is more willing to share his emotions, so I knew his vows would be great.

2. Tie the two vows together in some way.

There are a lot of different ways to tie the vows together. You could both start the vows with, “I promise”¦” Or you could use the same general structure. (“I think you’re great because””¦then, “I vow to do this””¦then, “I love your forever.” Bam. Vows.) Or if you don’t want to be confined to a particular structure (Mr. Whale, I’m looking at you), maybe you at least want them to be similar lengths.

Mr. Whale refused to adhere to any kind of pre-imposed structure. (That’s kind of how he lives his life every day.) But he did agree that we should try to have vows that were similar in length. But how could we check the lengths if the vows were going to be a surprise?? We did a word count. Mr. Whale’s vows were around 450 words, and mine were a little more than 300. (Like I said, he’s the sappy one.) Alternatively, you could time them and make sure they’re similar lengths.


Sappy Mr. Whale

3. Make promises you want to keep.

To write the meat of my vows, I sat down one evening and thought really hard about all the things Mr. Whale had asked me to work on. I have a bad habit of walking away when we’re in the middle of an argument, and it drives Mr. Whale crazy. So I promised in my vows to not do that. Mr. Whale really wants us to always be interested in finding out more about the other person. So in my vows I promised to continually try to know Mr. Whale better.

I highly recommend using the vows to challenge yourself to make yourself a better person.


4. Take the vows seriously.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea of writing cutesy vows. I will be the peanut butter to your jelly. I will pick up your socks. I will let you steal the covers (sometimes! tee hee). And if that’s your thing, then by all means, don’t let me stop you.

BUT, as a silly person myself, I have to say that having heartfelt, thoughtful, sincere vows was the best thing in our wedding. Think about it. You’re about to make one of the most monumental decisions of your life. And what does it say about your relationship if you make the whole thing a joke?

That’s not to say you can’t have something cute. Mr. Whale and I threw in a few lighthearted bits. (And our vows were written on cards shaped like manatees”¦) But if your vows sound like a Dr. Seuss book and you’re not a children’s book writer, then they might sound insincere.



5. Practice saying the words.

“I will be a sanctuary of warmth and peace for you in your darkest hours” sounds all poetic and great on paper. But coming out of my mouth it sounds idiotic. Practice your vows out loud so you can be sure you’re comfortable with the words.


If all else fails”¦borrow.

It’s OK to borrow from the internet. Did someone else’s words bring you to tears? Borrow them! Use someone else’s vows as a template and edit from there. It’s OK! There are only so many ways to promise to be a fabulous spouse. There’s a pretty good chance that a lot of us are working on the same issues.

Hopefully, these tips can help you avoid some of the issues I went through while writing my own vows. If you need a little inspiration, here’s the link to the Blue Whales’ vows. They still make me tear up.

*All photos by Brenda Upton Photography


Mrs. Blue Whale

College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Guest
    Wallis, Guest @ 3:30 pm

    Good advice, I’m sure my fiancé and I will write our own vowels for our wedding next year. I’ll probably record myself saying them and hear it back first to make sure I don’t over do it.

  2. Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 4:11 pm

    All of this is great advice for somebody looking at writing their own vows. I don’t know if my fiance and I will write our own or just do the generic vows. I don’t know if I would be good at writing my own vows. I have a feeling I would be too cheesy because I wouldn’t know what to say. I think it would be a lot harder then most people would think!! Beautiful pictures by the way! :)

  3. Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 4:13 pm

    I think that writing your own vows would be neat and so much more personal. I think you left great pointers for how to do that. But I don’t know if I would be able to write my own! I’m not very good at expressing feelings this way and I think it would end up sounding too cheesy! So cute though. I absolutely love the pictures. Beautiful ceremony!

  4. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 791 posts, Busy bee @ 4:28 pm

    Wonderful advice! We just recited the standard vows that our JP uses in her ceremonies but I do enjoy hearing personalized vows.

  5. Member
    Miss_Mimosa 189 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:14 pm

    I still love what you wrote your vows on! I’m sure this will be a huge wedding debate-to write our own vows or not!

  6. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2002 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:34 am

    These are awesome tips. Especially the advice about taking the vows seriously – the pastor that married us initially wouldn’t allow us to write our own vows because of how many couples have written silly, joke-y vows that don’t make any real commitments. I just re-read your vows and they made me cry – so incredibly sweet and thoughtful. Love them.

  7. Member
    pengoala 27801 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 6:11 am

    These are FABULOUS tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Member
    MrsM914 535 posts, Busy bee @ 3:57 pm

    We wrote our own vows and I am so glad. We tied ours together by discussing ahead of time the keys points we wanted to mention. So we had 4 or 5 key words to express in our vows. Our vows were different but similar in that we basically promised the same things to each other in our own words. Great tips!

  9. Member
    daniellekira 548 posts, Busy bee @ 10:59 am

    Great advice. We wrote our vows and I am so happy we did.

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