Ten Tips for Writing Your Perfect Wedding Vows
1.Start with a nice clean piece of paper (lavender is good, but
any kind will work). Down the left side of the page, write the
numbers 1-10. Now – without stopping to think about it, fill in
this page! Write down the first 10 things that come to mind in
response to this sentence: “I love (my partner’s name) because .
. . “ Set this piece of paper aside.
2.Now – how about YOU? What do YOU bring to this union? What
promises will you make? Take another sheet of paper, and write
‘em down – don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or anything else
at this point. Just write down 4-5 things you want to promise
this very special person with whom you want to spend your life.
•Do you promise to be there in bad times as well as good?
you promise to be faithful with your body as well as with your
mind and heart?
•Do you promise to support your partner even
when he/she isn’t perfect?
•Do you promise to share all your
•What about if he/she gets sick? What about if
you have a serious fight? You get the idea . . . what are you
promising in this union?
3.Think about the language you will use to claim your partner
and name your relationship. When you introduce your beloved,
what words will you use? Husband? Wife? Spouse? Partner for
Life? What energy does each of these have for you? If you don’t
like one for some reason, throw it out. . . but before you start
writing you vows, decide . . . what language will you use? This
is a decision you need to make together . . . so start early,
and give this as much time as it takes.
4.OK, after you’ve done steps 1-3, and you’ve got at least two
pages of writing and one decision made – set it all aside. Do
something else, preferably with your partner, and preferably
fun. Like Christmas trees, weddings get too much “stuff” hung on
them, Make yours beautiful, by stepping aside from the stress
for a day or two. Go out and remember WHY you love . . . go and
5.Done that? Now it’s time to make a BIG DECISION. Are each of
you going to write your own vow, or do the two of you want to
say the same thing? You don’t have to, you know – some of the
most beautiful ceremonies I’ve celebrated had each partner
saying something different . . . But here’s a trick: If you’re
each creating your own unique vow, why not insert a sentence at
the end symbolizing the fact that you come together as unique
individuals, and, without surrendering your individuality, you
are creating a beautiful, shared union. Here’s an example of
words each partner might use to complete his or her unique vow:
John, I accept you as my husband. I Tracy, embrace you, Susan,
as my partner for life.
6.It’s time to go back to the papers you wrote in Steps 1 and 2.
If you’re working together, you’ll have fun sharing those pages,
and seeing where you overlap . . . Use colored pencils or
highliters to lift up what you have in common – and make those
promises and statements of love just leap off the page.
7.Now, whether you’re working alone or as a couple, it’s time to
prioritize. Which is fancy language for saying, OK, if I have to
cut two of these promises off the list, which ones will they be?
Nibble at your lists, removing the things that are just a little
less juicy, until you’re left with three or four things you love
. . . and about the same number of things you promise.
8.Copy these over onto a brand new, clean page. (It’s amazing
what a difference a clean sheet of paper can make – trust me on
9.One more question . . . this is a wedding, a celebration of
your union, presumably for life. Will your vows indicate a time
frame? Some couples use phrase like: “Through all our years, and
in all that life may bring us . . . “ “For the rest of my days”
“As long as we both shall live” “lifetime partner.” “partner
forevermore.” Whatever works for you, a wedding or service of
union vow should contain a phrase that indicates the duration of
your commitment. ( If you’ve come this far, I hope you’ve
decided to promise your commitment for life.)
10.Read your vow out loud to a trusted someone other than your
partner. Does it sound like you? How does it feel to say these
words aloud? Have you said anything you’d be embarrassed to say
in public? Are there any tongue-tanglers in there? (It’s amazing
how seemingly simple phrases turn complex when it’s time to
speak!) Make whatever minor changes you need, and then Stop.
Feel good about what you’ve done – for you have created one of
the greatest gifts you will ever make.
Blessings on you and on your union ~ Rev. Dr. M. Maureen
Killoran, MA, DMin Life Coach & Spiritual Guide
About the author:
Maureen Killoran is a life coach and Unitarian Universalist
minister who has performed over 300 wedding ceremonies. After 20
years in the parish, she is now a life coach in private practice
in Western North Carolina -- where she is delighted to be
performing weddings & services of union. Learn more at