Image by Michelle Fiona Photography via Cyle & Dan’s Romantic Mali Brae Farm Wedding

Writing your own vows can be a bit daunting. You’re making promises to the one you love as all your favourite people watch on. You want the perfect words and you’re feeling the pressure. So, where do you start?

First up, there is some legal wording you must say:

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (Bride or Groom’s full name) take you (Bride or Groom’s full name) to be my lawfully wedded wife (or husband).”

We can change these words slightly. For example, you can start with “I ask everyone here today to witness…” but legally, you must say your names and you can’t replace the words “husband” or “wife”.

Beyond the legally required words, you can be as creative as you like. Or not. Don’t feel you must write your own vows. You may prefer traditional vows, along the lines of “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part”. But if you have decided to put pen to paper, here’s some advice to help you on your way:

Make time: Set aside plenty of time – don’t leave it until the night before or even a few days before because you don’t want to rush it.


Image by Kelly Adams Photographer via Lee and Josh’s Modern Brisbane Wedding

Mean what you say, say what you mean: The most important thing is that you really mean what you’re saying. You’re not writing a Hallmark card so avoid clichés and anything that doesn’t ‘feel’ right. We don’t want soppy if soppy is not your style, but if it is, go for it! Don’t use words or phrases that you wouldn’t normally use. You’re not writing for an audience, you’re writing words to live by, dedicated to the most important person in your life. Keep it simple but meaningful.


Image by Tanya Voltchanskaya via Nicole and Josh’s Golden Hour Jewish Wedding

Think of it as a love letter: But not necessarily a long love letter. Ask yourselves, what is it you love about each other? What do you love about your relationship? Why have you chosen to spend the rest of your lives together? What promises do you want to make? What has your future husband/wife brought into your life?

erin and manning

Image by Darin Collison Photography via Erin and Manning’s Romantic Winery Wedding

Don’t overthink it: Many of my couples tell me, “I’m not a writer”. The good news is, we don’t expect you to be a writer! We just want you to sum up what you’re feeling in a style that’s true to you both. If humour is your thing, you can make some light-hearted promises. But at the same time, make sure you respect the seriousness of the commitment.


Image by Jonathan Ong via Vanessa & Hamish Stables At Stones Of The Yarra Valley Wedding

Resist Google: You want your vows to be genuinely ‘you’. If you’re completely stuck and in a panic, ask your celebrant for more inspiration, but try to avoid copying someone else’s words verbatim.


Image by Matt Streatfeild – Matts Photography via Vanessa and Wade’s Relaxed Winery Wedding

Have a ‘vow date night’: If you’re writing your vows together, make a night of it. Cook your favourite meal or grab some takeaway, crack open a bottle of wine, reminisce, brainstorm and get writing!

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Some really helpful advice on writing heartfelt vows – I love the idea of a ‘vow date night’.

About Melissa Polimeni Marriage Celebrant: I love weddings and I love what I do. As a celebrant, my job is getting to know couples and crafting memorable marriage ceremonies – and that’s always such a pleasure and privilege.