5 Top Tips For Writing The Most Moving Wedding Vows

Wedding vows are the part of the ceremony that gets forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of organising the rest of the big day. They’re down to you alone to sort out, and so many brides and grooms leave them until the last minute, with other more tangible decisions to be made before. However, their importance and impact should not be underestimated. Done right, wedding vows can be the most beautiful moment of a wedding day – done wrong, on the other hand, and it’ll be a little more than just awkward at the reception… So to make sure your vows are perfect for the ceremony, follow Zankyou’s top 5 tips, and you’ll be sure to dazzle your partner and guests!

  1. Get the tone right
  2. Use anecdotes
  3. Write them promptly
  4. Avoid clichés
  5. Be yourself
Photo: José Villa

1. Get the tone right

The first thing to think about when you’re writing your wedding vows is the tone of the wedding. If you’re having a large wedding in an austere manor house in the countryside, it might not be the best idea to be cracking jokes and bringing up memories of embarrassing moments the two of you have shared. In a similar way, if you’re having a more casual wedding with a small group of family and friends, reciting Byron – regardless of how much we love him! – will strike the wrong note entirely.

Take a common-sense approach to the issue at hand, and write appropriately for the theme and setting of your wedding. However, there is one other thing to consider – your partner. If your soon-to-be wife has been planning her wedding since she was a little girl and has a truly romantic day planned, make sure your vows are fittingly sentimental and sweet. But if you know that your partner isn’t too much of a romantic, then feel free to add touches of humour and comedy. After all, your vows are intended to show your partner how much you love them – so do it in a way you know that they’re going to like!

Photo: José Villa

2. Use anecdotes

Regardless of whether you’re aiming for humorous vows or a more romantic alternative, adding in anecdotes is always a lovely way to personalise your vows, and remind your other half of all of the good times that you’ve had together. One of the most popular things to reflect on is the moment that you realised you were in this relationship for the long-haul – and is always guaranteed to get the tears flowing! Other romantic touches include musings of first dates, first kisses and exploring how you felt when you proposed/were proposed to.

For a more humorous theme, think of the disasters you’ve experienced together – having flights cancelled on trips away, truly bad restaurant service, or that time one of you had a bit too much to drink and did that. Don’t go too dark here, and make sure you pick an event with a happy ending, but memories of tragically funny moments during your vows will get a laugh from your partner and your guests, and remind them of how much you have overcome together. 

Photo: José Villa

3. Write them promptly

Please, please, please do not leave writing your wedding vows until the night before. We at Zankyou have heard stories of, and lived through the absolute horror of trying to scrape together a speech less than 12 hours before you give it, and we would not recommend it to anyone! Not just is it immediately apparent that you’ve left them to the last minute, but if you have a sudden loss of inspiration, you’re in trouble – plus your other half deserves a certain amount of effort. Consider your vows a wedding gift to them that you want to get exactly right.

We recommend that you set a deadline for your vows to be written by that is around two weeks before the ceremony. You can write them at any moment up until this date – inspiration can strike at the strangest of times! – but make sure you have something that you are absolutely happy with at this point. This way, even if you have another brainwave and replace them entirely, you are certain to have something beautiful for your big day. You can always adjust them as you see fit, but remember you can’t subtract from zero!

Photo: José Villa

4. Avoid clichés

Quoting song lyrics in your wedding vows had its heyday in the early noughties, but is generally nowadays deemed to be a bad move. Remember that moment in Gavin & Stacey when Pete and Dawn recited Coldplay’s “Fix You” to one another at their vow renewal? The scene was exaggerated for comic effect, but the real-life reaction won’t be much different, so avoid dropping in Take That or Rod Stewart as much as possible – if you really like the song, ask the DJ to play it at the reception!

When it comes to poetry, be cautious. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is one of the most oft-quoted pieces of poetry during vows and wedding speeches, and whilst it is beautiful, it is not very original anymore. Try looking for a lesser known poet if you want to include quotations – Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy are two classic British contemporaries with a great selection of romantic and comical poetry, for example. Beyond that, approach using other peoples’ words with caution. No two loves feel the same – no one else will be able to describe how you feel about your other half better than you can. 

Photo: José Villa

5. Be yourself

The most important thing in your vows is to act and sound like yourself. The point of the vows is not to wow your guests with your literary prowess – it is an attempt to summarise how you feel about the love of your life within a few sentences. It’s a difficult task, and one that requires a great deal of effort if you want them to really mean something to your other half. To be able to do this, you have to speak with your own voice – nerves are absolutely fine, and completely unavoidable, but don’t let them hold you back in this special moment.

Photo: José Villa

Writing your wedding vows is no mean feat, but hopefully with Zankyou’s 5 top tips, you’ll be able to write the perfect speech for your future spouse! Remember: less Adele lyrics, and more speaking from the heart!

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