BLOG: 5 Steps to Writing Wedding Vows that WOW & WOO

EASY TO GET OVERWHELMED

Getting married? (Or renewing your vows?) 

There's A LOT to do and it can easily get overwhelming. It can be really difficult to juggle life, work, and planning a wedding. 

WORST THING TO RUSH

Your vows can be both a grounding anchor & an empowering sail in your marriage.

Often a couple will end up rushing through writing their wedding vows, squeezing it in or resorting at the last minute to using generic cliches. Really, your unique wedding vows are the worst things to rush because they’re THE most important part! It’s your vows that will last WELL beyond your wedding day. Or so you hope!

Your wedding vows are sacred promises. They represent who you are as a couple and what you are committed to. 

Your vows can be both a grounding anchor & an empowering sail in your marriage... IF you keep those vows alive in ACTION day after day and year after year. 

FROM PRESSURE TO PLEASURE

It can be daunting to face a blank page when trying to conjure up how to capture your love and promises to each other. Whether you’re a writer or not, when it comes to writing your wedding vows, it can be intimidating or even confronting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Turn this high pressure task into a deeply PLEASURABLE experience!

For Better Love Va Va Vows Visioning - Turn this high pressure task into a deeply PLEASURABLE experience!

Use these Va Va Vows Visioning tips, tools and techniques to help you write wedding vows that WOW on your wedding day and then WOO you into keeping your vows alive year after year too!

DOs & DON’Ts

Before you dive into the Five Steps to Writing Wedding Vows that WOW, consider these top level Dos & Don’ts to keep in mind:

DOs:

  • DO make your vows personal, authentic and unique.
  • DO add in some lightness and laugh a little. 
  • DO be specific and clear, but…
  • DO include what is MOST important to you BOTH. 
  • DO add in notes about pauses or emphasis.
  • DO read them outloud to a trusted friend or coach, (get feedback).
  • DO print your vows and put them in  an easy to access place.
  • DO craft your vows together and create alignment.

DON'Ts:

  • DON’T be TOO personal. Make your guests swoon, not squirm. 
  • DON’T go too off color or make things awkward. 
  • DON’T use absolutes like “always” or “never”.
  • DON’T make your vows too long or try to cover everything. 
  • DON’T just read your vows in a rapid, jagged or monoton way. 
  • DON’T have reading your vows on your wedding day be the first time you hear them out loud. 
  • DON’T rely on technology to work the day of.
  • DON’T share your “Why I chose you” letter until the ceremony.
"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more. That plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.”—Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

5 STEPS TO WRITING VOWS

Now that you’ve got the DOs & DON’T down, it’s time to uncover your most authentic and inspiring wedding vows using these five simple yet satisfying steps: 

  • Step 1 - Get Off to a Great Start
    • ENJOY THE PROCESS: Set yourselves up for pleasure. Make it a date or special in your own way. Be intentional and set aside some time, (early on, over time or assisted!), to actually enjoy writing your vows,  but don’t overthink it, stress about it or try to get it perfect. (See accordion options of support below!)
    • GET GRATEFUL: Do a brief grounding to visualize your gratitude for each other. (Here’s a recording of the Gratitude Grounding Meditation you can use or find your own favorites).
    • CHECK IN: Touch base briefly about your current state, body, mind, heart, spirit - just give  it a number).  ALERT! If one or both are in any distress, set a new date for writing your vows.
  • Step 2 - Ideas Off the Top of Your Heads
    • HEART-STORM IDEAS: Individually, do a first pass and “heart-storm” (instead of brainstorm),  any key words, values, ideas, general areas of importance to you. Set a 5-15 minute timer and just write, without stopping, any ideas that come to you. Write out as much as you can think of for your first draft and just go for it with there being NO bad ideas. Don’t limit early “heart-storming” or waive off any ideas just yet. Avoid including any vows based on what you think you SHOULD say.some text
      • QUESTIONS to CONSIDER
        • What does marriage mean to you?
        • What is most important to your marriage? 
        • What are your shared values, anchors and commitments you want to declare to each other and your community?
        • What do you want to true-up to again and again, year after year? 
        • How will you keep your vows from becoming a long forgotten “something you once said”? What structures, habits and Games will keep your vows alive? 
    • SHARE YOUR IDEAS: Share what you each wrote in your first pass. Celebrate each other’s efforts and ideas. Do not critique each other at all. Pay attention to what you BOTH want to include. Just move past anything you do not agree on for now.
    • COMBINE YOUR LISTS: Put what you both like into a new list (Grab a copy of the PLAYbook that walks you through this whole process step by step). 
  • Step 3 - Seek Inspiration From Other Sources
    • SEEK INSPIRATION: After you’ve captured, shared and combined what you wrote in your first pass, seek inspiration from other couple’s wedding vows. Capture your favorites individually, then share them and combine them as you did in the previous step. 
  • Step 4 - Turn Ideas Into Vows
    • WRITE YOUR VOWS: At this point, it’s still just a list of your merged ideas. Now turn them into vows with full declarations and inspiring wording. 
    • CONSIDER YOUR PREFERENCES: Don’t assume you both want the same thing or one way is better than the other if your desires are different. some text
      • Do you prefer to use the words “I vow” or “I promise”? 
      • Will you both say the same vows or will you have different vows that you each say? 
      • Which vows are the top priorities?
      • Do you want to close with an invitation for support
  • Part 5 - Edit Your Vows
    • DECIDE HOW LONG: Discuss, then decide, how many vows  you want to have. (I recommend 12 so you  can focus on one a month to keep them alive (see below). Decide How Long: Determine the number of vows
    • SHORTEN YOUR VOWS: Most likely at this point you have a long list of possible vows. Be potent, yet brief. Don’t go on and on. Shorten your vows by prioritizing which ones are the most important, combining any similar vows and editing down any long vows. 
    • ORDER YOUR VOWS: Which vow is nicest to go first? What vows sets the theme or designates it as your priority? Which vows are best to go last? What will occur for you as a "Tah dah!"/close? Which vows belong in order together?some text
      • If you focus on one vow a month in the future, are there any vows that would be best at different times of the year? EX September is International Peace Month and my husband and my wedding vow for September/#9, is "I promise to create peace with myself, you, others and the world.
Want more detail and support?

Get the DIY Va Va Vows Visioning PLAYbook Activity Guide & Masterclass Or go for the DFY Va Va Vow Visioning Personalized Coaching.

ALL TOO OFTEN FORGOTTEN

Personalized wedding vows are usually inspiring and sometimes even funny, yet most of them are all too often long forgotten soon after the big day..  

It’s wild how something as sacred as your wedding vows can become so blasé so quickly and over time just fade to the distant background IF you don’t intentionally keep them alive. 

When I work with a married couple, I’ll ask them what THEY promised so I know what is important in their marriage. Guess what the top 3 most common answers are? “I don’t remember”, “I have no idea” and even “Hell if I know.”

Don’t let THAT be you!

Use these Va Va Vows Visioning tips, tools and techniques to help you write wedding vows that both WOW on your wedding day and WOO you into keeping them alive year after year too!

A LIGHTHOUSE FOR YOUR LOVE

These declarations and commitments are what you will be truing-up to day-after-day. 

Get clear about what you’re promising, then make it easy and fun to keep your vows alive. Let your wedding vows become a lighthouse for your love.

Then every time you get lost in the predictably unpredictable sea of relationSHIP, you can say, “Oh, I remember, here is our anchor, here is the wind in our sail.” Let your vows be your inspiration, your anchor and your sail.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER through HEALTHY HABITS

Set your marriage up for success with healthy habits right from the start of your marriage.  Writing intentional, inspiring and unique wedding vows helps cultivate your own Couple Culture from day ONE.

Your relationship habits determine your relationship happiness!

PRACTICE THE VOWS 

Don’t let your vows be something you once said, but have long forgotten. Keep your vows alive in action and use your vows to guide both your big choices and day to day living. 

Put your vows into PRACTICE. Bonus - bring PLAY to this daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.

"Love is a promise; love is a souvenir. Once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”—John Lennon
Quote: "Love is a promise; love is a souvenir. Once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”—John Lennon

IDEAS TO KEEP VOWS ALIVE

Here are a few ideas on how to keep your vows alive and in action: 

  • SET UP CALENDAR ALERTS: Put your vow of each month in your calendar with an alert. Set it to repeat each year.
  • MAKE YOUR VOWS VISIBLE: Post your vow of the month on your fridge, bathroom mirror, etc. Put your vows on your computer screensaver or vow of the month on your phone’s home screen.
  • CREATE A VIDEO: Turn your vows into a song, video or some other medium. (Keep it easily accessible!) 
  • SAY YOUR VOWS AGAIN and AGAIN: Say your vow of the month before each meal or meeting you have (I'm a BIG fan of marriage meetings and have a Masterclass and Playbook about that HERE
  • TAKE THEM PUBLIC: Post about your vow of the month on social media or make some  public declaration about how you will keep that vow alive. (This makes us more accountable as we will keep our word to others more so than ourselves). 
  • SCORE THEM ANNUALLY: On your anniversary, score how you are doing in each of your vows and set specific goals for the next year.  

Raj and I went so far as to turn our vows into a song and perform it on stage at a club, (as part of a workshop). It was edgy for us both, yet so much fun and REALLY had our vows sink in at a new level. 

What will YOU do to keep your vows alive and in action year after year? 

YOUR COMMUNITY COUNTS - A LOT!

They say it takes a village to raise a child, right? Well, the same goes for a marriage. Yes, a marriage is as intimate and PERSONAL as it gets, still, there will come a time in your marriage that you WILL need support from others. 

You may have friends and family coming to celebrate your wedding, but you'll need them even more so DURING your marriage. 

One bold and courageous yet wildly helpful element to add at the end of your wedding vows, is to ask about who is willing to STAND for your marriage. Who are those who hold marriage, your vows and your happiness in the highest? 

One key way to keep your wedding vows alive is to invite those around you to be champions for your love and wedding vows. Consider inviting some or all of your guests to let you know if they see you drifting away from what you promised that day.   

After Raj and I said our wedding vows, we added this:

“These promises are the touchstones we commit to coming back to again and again.  It is what we WANT to be reminded of and HELD to. We make these promises to each other and to you ALL.“

Gaby and Raj Sundra wedding vows.

We invited our guests to speak up and say something if they see either of us being anything outside of these promises. 

This community connected approach may not be for everybody, but having the true support of others for your marriage can make a BIG difference in the health and happiness of your marriage. 

CEREMONY BONUS: WHY I CHOSE YOU

Sure, your wedding vows are all about what you PROMISE each other, and you write those TOGETHER. Still, it’s fun, sweet and just romantic to include a little surprise section in your wedding ceremony about WHY you chose each other as partners in love and life.  

Questions to stir ideas for this section:

  • What was your first impression when you met?
  • When did you realize you were in love and/or would get married?
  • What do you love most about them?
  • How has she/he changed your view of the world?
  • What experiences or hurdles have you enjoyed or gotten through together?
  • What makes your relationship tick?

When you read this surprise section to your beloved in your ceremony, just before you say your shared vows, it stirs intimacy, connection, laughter and love. 

(See below for Raj & my Why I Chose You Acknowledgments and our 12 Wedding Vows).  

ACCORDION STYLE SUPPORT

I LOVE interviewing couples and uncovering the essence of their love and their desired promises and then getting to draft and edit their wedding vows using their words, wisdom and wishes as part of the personalized coaching version of Va Va Vows Visioning program..

Still, I also get that personalized support is not a fit for everyone. That’s why nearly all the For Better Love coaching programs are also offered “accordion style. From Do-It-Yourself to Done-For-You, you can pick your path to wedding vows that not only wow you on your big day, but WOO you into keeping them alive for years to come too. 

Pick YOUR Path:

  • “Thanks so much for that overview. We got this.” Check - you’ve read the blog 
  • “I think a little bit more guidance would be good.” Go for the Masterclass & PLAYbook Activity Guide
  • “This is still a bit stressful on our own. We’d love you to interview us and help write our vows.” Check out the Personalized Coaching option

Whether DFY with personalized support from me, or if you prefer to take the DIY path with the PLAYbook and Masterclass as your guide, I’ve got you covered! 

"People kept talking about how amazing our wedding vows were!" K. Benavides

Don’t let your wedding vows be just something you once said. 

Write vows that are unique, stand out and set you up for the marriage of your dreams. Create wedding vows that avoid being cheesy, trite or predictable and instead are personal, purposeful and powerful!

Use these Va Va Vows Visioning tips, tools and techniques to help you write wedding vows that WOW on your wedding day and WOO you into keeping your vows alive year after year too!

  1. Pick your path to writing your vows: Do-It-Yourself or Done-For-You
  2. Follow the 5 Steps
    • Get Off to a Great Start
    • Ideas Off the Top of your Head
    • Seek Inspiration From Other Sources
    • Turn Ideas Into Vows
    • Edit Your Vows
  3. Craft Your "Why I Chose You" Acknowledgement
  4. Filter your vows through the Dos & Don's tips
  5. Print & Practice your vows
  6. Set yourselves up with Healthy Habits for keeping your vows alive

Raj & Gaby’s Acknowledgments & Vows

For Better Love, I acknowlege you, I thank you, I choose you.

Gabrielle to Raj Acknowledgment: 

Beloved Raj,

  1. You are the most loving man I have ever known. 
  2. You look for special, creative and most importantly simple ways to make sure I feel loved.
  3. You are committed to growth and development; your own, mine, ours, others, and the world.
  4. You are gentle and strong, patient and firm.
  5. You are authentic, courageous, and generous.  
  6. You are my king.
  7. You are playful, fun, and funny. You know just how to make me laugh, even when I don’t want to.
  8. With you, I get to be myself.  And you draw my best self out.
  9. With you, I am a softer woman, a better listener, and a bigger contribution to the world.
  10. You see me, even parts of me I have not seen myself.
  11. You are onto me, and don’t let me get away with any garbage.
  12. You are honest, fight fair, forgive and ask for forgiveness.

I acknowledge you. I thank you. I choose you.

 Raj to Gabrielle Acknowledgment: 

Beloved Gabrielle,

  1. You have taught me that everything one could want in life is right there waiting for you - if you are open and willing to have it.
  2. You allow me to embrace my dreams no matter how big, no matter how seemingly impossible to the rest to the rest of the world.
  3. When I say I want to cause peace in the world -  you say ‘you can do it my love.’
  4. You are the smartest person I know, and at the same time acutely intuitive.
  5. You are strong, opinionated, and resolute about what you believe in – and at the same time gentle, sensitive, and open.
  6. You are creative, thoughtful, present, and alive.
  7. You are elegant and sexy.
  8. You love everyone you meet, accepting their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
  9. You shower all those that surround you with a sense of being loved, being taken care of, and being honored and cherished.
  10. You truly are of the people, for the people, and for the planet.
  11. Whether it is with my relationships with people, with myself, or with the planet, you keep me conscious, present, and true.
  12. You have helped me open to people, embrace their friendship, and to be a friend. You have opened my life to the beauty of being intimately related.

A dear friend said to me that you choose your wife, not to be someone that is easy to be with, or does not challenge you.  Yet rather to be with someone that you believe you can partner with in creating the life that you dream of.  Gabrielle, you are that woman. I am bursting, knowing that our life is just beginning.  Yes, I love you. Yes, I will marry you.  Yes I will have babies with you.  You truly are my queen, and I will forever be your king.

I acknowledge you. I thank you. I choose you.

Your ally in aiming for awesome,

&
Raj
Gaby
gaby and raj

1. Jasmine

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