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Writing Your Own Vows: Getting Started

Many couples choose to write their own vows for their vow renewal ceremony. You two have been through a lot together over the years, so saying something that reflects your history together is a wonderful touch. It’s not uncommon though to find yourself stuck when the time comes to sit down and put words to paper. We’ve put together some brainstorming ideas and a guide as an exercise to get you started.

Getting Started Writing Your Own VowsFirst you need to decide if you are going to say the same vows to one another or are you each going to write different vows? Either way, we have some suggestions to make this process easier! Remember, when you write your renewal vows that the definition of “vow” is a “pledge or promise”. Just because you included certain things in your original vows doesn’t mean that you can’t vow those things to each other again. At the same time, you may find that there are new things that you would like to include, having been together for years. Feel free to interleave the old and new to create vows that say exactly what you want them to say.

Writing the Vows for Your Vow Renewal Together

If you are going to say the same custom vows to one another, then you need to write them together.

  1. First, schedule a couple of hours of private time for just the two of you to work on them.
  2. Print off two copies of our vow writing exercise below.
  3. Spend 30-45 minutes working on the exercise independently in separate rooms.
  4. Next, come together and either switch papers or take turns sharing your notes and letters with one another.
  5. Discuss what you thought were the best parts of each of your letters and notes. Select pieces that you want to say as vows. Since this is a vow renewal, you’re not limited to following the structure of traditional vows, but you can if you wish.
  6. Create a first draft of your combined ideas. Start them with something like “I ______, take you, ______.” or, “I ______ choose you, _______”. This should get you started. Continue writing, using the sentences and words you found most meaningful to you and your relationship. Make a copy for each of you.
  7. Try a dress rehearsal. Stand up, hold hands, and recite the words to each other. Be sure to look into each others eyes and pretend that you are actually standing at your vow renewal ceremony. If you find yourself coming close to tears, they’re a success!
  8. If you are using a formal officiant to preside over your vow renewal ceremony, you should discuss them with your Officiant. They may want to approve them and/or offer suggestions.
  9. Hot Tip: If you have a copy of your original vows, you may also want to include parts of them.

If you are each writing your own vows, you should have a good basis from which to start. Organize your notes and letter into a single document that flows like you want and you’re done!

Writing the Vows for Your Vow Renewal Separately

If you are writing your vows individually try the following:

  1. Set the ground rules for your vows; how long they should be (ex. 2 paragraphs of 3-5 sentences), any words that you should include like “You are my best friend” or “I love you” and so forth.
  2. If you are using a formal officiant to preside over your vow renewal ceremony, you should discuss them with your Officiant. They may want to approve them and/or offer suggestions.

Vow Renewal Writing Exercise

Print out two copies of these questions. Take one and give the other to your spouse with an extra piece of paper. Each of you should complete this exercise.

  1. Are there any scriptures or other readings that you had at your wedding or that you have planned for your vow renewal? If so, gather copies of them or write them down. Think about what they really mean to you. Why did you choose them?
  2. Are there any lines in songs that you had at your wedding, that you have planned for your vow renewal, or have become favorites over the years that have special meaning to you? If so, make note of each of them.
  3. Are there any quotes or sayings that have special meaningful to your relationship?
  4. Have you read or heard any vows or parts of vows that you like? If so, gather copies of them or write them down.
  5. Now, write an elaborate, creative love letter to your spouse using the following format:
    • Heartfelt salutation; i.e. “My dearest…”
    • Paragraph 1: Tell your spouse how much they mean to you and your life.
    • Paragraph 2: In the beginning and today; tell your spouse how you felt when you realized you were in love with them and how that has evolved over time. “It seems like only yesterday that…”
    • Paragraph 3: What your marriage has meant to you over the years. Think of two or three of your favorite times together:
      • Think about the good times you experienced over the years (the birth of a child, a vacation, a favorite holiday, etc.). What role did your spouse play in these times?  What specific memories do you have of your spouse in each of these times? What feelings do these memories bring back?
      • Think back to a time when you and your spouse laughed so hard you cried? Do you remember why and how you felt about your spouse at that moment?
      • Was there a time when you did something new and challenging together? How did you feel about your spouse at that moment?  How did they help or support you?
      • Think about the trying times in those years (money issues, illness, a death, etc.).  What about being together made it easier? Why?
      • Have you been able to forgive each other in all situations?
    • Paragraph 4: Your hopes and dreams for the future. Is there anything that you want to do differently than you have in the past? How about things you want to continue to do the same?
    • Closing: Give thanks with words of love and thanksgiving for your spouse.

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