Hey, I'm an elopement photographer based in Alaska! I love genuine moments between people and love that I get to document them for a living <3

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If you aren’t usually someone to write down your feelings, writing your wedding vows could seem like a daunting task. You’ve probably googled ‘wedding vows’ ‘wedding vow examples’ ‘how to write wedding vows’ multiple times for inspiration. Luckily, that brought you here and you’re on the right track!!

First off, don’t go copying some other person’s wedding vows and try to pass them off as your own. It won’t be true to you and your heart, and without getting too sappy here, your wedding vows SHOULD be true to you and your relationship with your partner. Okay? So don’t do that.

Tips on Writing Your Wedding Vows

1. Start sooner rather than later

Nothing worse than pre-wedding jitters and stresses kicking in to waylay your vow writing, so start now! Jot down all of your favorite memories, things you love about them, how you met, stories, etc. Collect them all in one place. I’d recommend a notebook, or if you want more flexibility when you’re out and about keep a folder in your notes on your phone specifically for this. Voice memos work too!

Think about anything that makes you remember your favorite person. The way they smile when you tell the worst joke ever, times you’ve felt so proud of them or that they made you feel so encouraged, the first time you laid eyes on each other. I’m talking EVERYTHING you can think of over time and things from daily occurrences, like them bringing you your favorite drink when you’ve had a bad day or a time when you guys just spontaneously went and did something together, what was it like? This is how you will TRULY customize your wedding vows to be so much more than just the traditional vows repeated time and time again at almost every wedding.

Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:

What is my favorite memory from the last year of being together?

When was a time I felt the most proud of them?

When did I know I loved them?

What do they do that makes me laugh like crazy?

What’s something quirky that they do that I love?

What personality trait do I love the most about them, and why?

What is the best adventure we’ve been on? Why was it the best?

Keep this train of thought going, you’ll find some goooood stuff!

2. Go somewhere quiet that inspires you

Revisit your favorite places, spend time walking through parks you frequent, go back to where you first met, etc. Anywhere that will inspire and stir up those feelings to make for the perfect wedding vows. Then find a nice quiet place to sit down and let the words flow out.

3. Say you love them and make promises

These are your wedding vows after all and you want to be sincere here. Think about the ways you want to love your person and how you want to say that to them. Don’t be afraid to get emotional here, like I said these are your WEDDING VOWS. They are meant to be honest and loving. Bonus points if they make even the hardest heart at your wedding cry! 😉

4. Incorporate humor

If it is natural for your relationship to have some added humor, then include that in your vows! Do you do all the spider killing? Is there a silly story that you want to recall? A movie or TV show quote you love? This is your time to let your humor shine and get that laugh out of your partner that you love so much!

5. Make an outline

Okay, you’ve brain dumped everything and have the content, how do you flesh it out? Similar to an essay actually, but I promise it’s not as boring!

Go through everything you’ve written out and underline your favorite parts, the golden nuggets you want in your wedding vows. Start bullet pointing them in the general order you want them in until you find a structure that flows

6. Practice reading your wedding vows out loud

Reading your wedding vows out loud multiple times will help you truly fine tune everything. You’ll find word redundancies and words that don’t flow well so that you can clean it up. You’ll also likely start memorizing it as you go, which is never a bad thing! Make sure the text is easy to read, especially through teary eyes if you’re going to cry.

Don’t read them too fast or too slowly, do allow time for emotions to play in between your words. Allow times for laughter and times for tears so that you’re not barreling through the whole thing.

7. Handwrite or print your wedding vows

Write them down. No matter how easy your phone seems, there are lots of things that could go wrong. Your phone could die, could ring during the ceremony, accidentally drop it on the way to the ceremony, you get the point. Have a digital copy of your vows for sure, but make sure the ones you’re reading up front are on paper or in a book. Not planning on having vow books? You should reconsider! If you don’t want vow books then at least having them on nice paper is a good idea. Not only will it be more special, but it is also a keepsake you can store with your album or wedding memories.

Bonus Wedding Vow Tips!

Are you having guests at your ceremony but don’t want them to hear your vows? Read them in private during your first look, or after the ceremony during your bride and groom photos!

Have tissues on hand always, they fold up easily and tuck into pockets and bras. You can also ask your photographer, planner, MOH or someone else that will be with you to hold them for you.

Your wedding vows can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be. Maybe talk with your partner about what lengths you’re both comfortable with and go from there. Reading them during your ceremony and worried they’ll be too long for guests? Don’t worry about that! This is YOUR wedding and your ceremony, so you do you!

Be realistic in your promises and stay away from absolutes that are impossible to live up to. I don’t want to be a debbie downer, but we are humans, and relationships aren’t always perfect. You will argue and fight and do normal couple things. That’s OKAY! Just be sure to be honest and true in your promises.

Get on the same page about stories and humor, the goal is some laughter, but not at the expense of your loved one! Make sure the memories you include are ones they are okay with other people hearing. If you’re sharing them privately there is some more flex with this, it’ll just be the two of you and your photographer (it’s okay, we don’t judge!!)

Woohoo!! You made it! Hopefully this gave you some solid guidance in writing our your wedding vows. You’ve absolutely got this! Which tip was the most helpful?

Are you eloping in Alaska or considering the possibility? This next blog is all about How To Elope In Alaska!

Have more questions and want to chat? Reach out!

bride listening to groom read vows surrounded by mountains and lush greenery


How to Write the Best Wedding Vows

  1. this is a really sweet guide for writing vows. i appreciate how you included reading them not in front of everyone – it’s okay if that is private!

    • Donna Smith says:

      Thanks so much!! It is 100% okay for vows to be private and I always want to encourage couples to do what feels true to them.

  2. Amy says:

    I love all the questions to ask in the process!

  3. Steph says:

    Ah, so much amazing advise for something we have really been struggling with.

    Thanks so much, Donna, this is exactly what we needed.

  4. Lucy says:

    Such a great resource! Writing is so hard for some people, especially something so specific and vulnerable like this. This is such a helpful guide!

    • Donna Smith says:

      Thank you so much!! I am so glad I’m able to help any couples that might be having a hard time putting their feelings to paper!

  5. Oh my goodness this is a brilliant Blog idea. So much good advice in this. Amazing job

  6. Jessica says:

    These are amazing tips for writing your own wedding vows! It is my favourite part of weddings and elopements and I wish I had done it for my own wedding!

  7. Thijsiena says:

    So wonderful. I love all your emotional pictures!!

  8. What a great guide! I especially like the questions, they will fix the whole wow in a split second! Great post.

    • Donna Smith says:

      Thank you so much!! I appreciate it!! My goal is to give couples all the tools they need to rock this part of their wedding day! Because I know it’s daunting!!

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