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Images: Mathy Shoots People

I‘m ALWAYS on the hunt for guest posts and contributions from REAL couples in the DC area that planned a wedding & got married here, but DAMN it’s like pulling teeth to try and get any one to actually write me a post! Fortunately one of my SUPER RAD clients this year is down with sharing some insight into their super awesome wedding (seriously, can’t wait to share their wedding with you – this post has a few sneak peaks from it!) and sent me a guest post for today and another for a few weeks from now.

Kara & Justin’s wedding was the perfect DC wedding – locally sourced & focused, super laid back, and super personalized. They stayed on budget by keeping decor DIY and minimal and used bright pops of color to make the most of their decorations. They also put SO MANY personal touches into their wedding day (which I will share once I do the full feature on their wedding day) including their vows.

Now, if you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, you know how much I love when couples write their own vows. I even wrote a whole post on “how to write your own wedding vows” back in 2012 (!!). But for today we have Kara sharing an updated take on this with her top 5 tips for writing your own wedding vows and even shares her own wedding vows. Take it away Kara!

Top 5 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

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Before I was ever engaged, I knew that when the time came, I’d want to write my own vows.  Vows can be so much more than the old standby, “Do you take…”; they are a great opportunity to share your personality, love, and commitments with your closest friends and family. Fortunately, Justin was on board with the idea, and agreed it was fitting since we were having a non-traditional wedding.

I remember watching movies and wedding shows on tv, and when it came time for the vows, each partner would typically talk about when they first met, how much they loved the other person, and what they meant to each other, but they didn’t always PROMISE anything. Isn’t that the whole point of the vows section of the ceremony? To me, the vows represent the commitment we’re making to one another, and I wanted to make sure that when we got to this part, we were actually going to promise something.

A few things to think about as you embark on writing your own vows; Do you want to write them together and be the same, or similar? Or do you want to write them separately and keep them a secret from each other until the ceremony? Regardless of which style you go with, I think our tips will still be helpful as you start to write them.


#1. Have a drink! To get our creativejuices flowing, we decided to get out of the apartment, grabsome lunch, and a few beers. Being out of our apartment, away from distractions, helped us focus on the task at hand. I’m pretty sure the beers helped us too ;)

#2. Make an outline Just like you learned back in middle school, the best way to start writing something is by creating an outline. I think this is particularly if you’re going to write your vows separately. You don’t want one person’s vows to be chock full of inside jokes, while the other person’s are really serious. There should be some symmetry there. We wanted to keep our entire wedding light and fun, so we decided to alternate our vows between serious and funny lines.

#3. Make it personal You and your partner have a relationship unlike any other because you are two unique individuals. Think about how you can incorporate your uniqueness into the vows. Justin and I fell in love in the kitchen, over food, so some of our vows centered around cooking. Sports are another common interest between us, and we promised to adopt each other’s favorite teams. Do you have a favorite show or movie that you could pull quotes from? Little touches like that can really help to personalize the vows, and make them a reflection of you, your partner, and your relationship together.

#4. Consult the internet I’ll admit, in the beginning I was at a complete loss for as what to include in our vows, and how to eloquently express all the things I was committing myself to. So I turned to the internet and some other less traditional wedding blogs for inspiration. This also helped get our creative juices flowing to see how others had structured their vows. We were able to find a few lines from various sets of vows that we used with minor adjustments that were applicable to us. There’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel…take advantage of what’s already been written and what people have shared online to help you out.

#5. Say your vows out loud Once you’ve decided on each of your vows, try reciting them to each other the way you would during your ceremony. This was crucial for us because once we started reading them aloud, we realized we needed to tweak our original outline.

For some final inspiration, here’s the original outline we started with, and the vows we ended up with. We managed to incorporate The Simpsons, D2: Mighty Ducks, cooking, and sports, all capped off with a high five.

Outline (Originally, I planned to read my vows first, and then Justin would read his)

  • Serious promise
  • Sports reference
  • Serious promise
  • Crazy funny off the wall something
  • Ending

Wedding Teaser-0096

Final Vows (Once we started reading them aloud, it made more sense for us to alternate lines)

Kara: I choo-choo-choose you to be my husband. I promise to love you under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, and always bring out the best in you, like you bring out the best in me.

Justin: I choo-choo-choose you to be my wife. I promise to love you under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, and always bring out the best in you, like you bring out the best in me.

Kara: I promise to adopt the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, and to celebrate their victories and drown our sorrows with an I.C. Light.

Justin: I promise to adopt the Demon Deacons and SC Trojans, that way I can cheer for whichever team is better.

Kara: I vow to trust and value your opinions, and stand by your actions

Justin: I promise to always treat you as a best friend and equal.

Kara: I will ask for help when I need it, and offer help to you always.

Justin: Let us be best friends and lovers, grow old together, and be there to hold your hand through life’s many adventures.

Kara: I promise to entertain all of your crazy, complicated cooking ideas, and to never swing the cleaver in anger; only to break down a primal cut of meat.

Justin: I promise to be realistic with my crazy cooking ideas, and make sure we always get equal amounts of bacon

Kara: I know we will always remain a winning team, even when they think we’re about to break apart.

Justin: And the wind blows hard and the sky is black

Kara: And when the roosters are crowing and the cows are spinning in the pasture

Justin: And when everyone says it can’t be done…

Kara & Justin: WE FLY TOGETHER! (high five)

[get the rings]

Kara: From this day forward, I promise to love you every day, in every way, for on and on

Justin: From this day forward, I promise to love you every day, in every way, for on and on


…. I mean come on guys, a Mighty Ducks D2 reference and talk of equal shares of Bacon. Can I say, best. vows. ever?!!?

What are YOUR tips for writing your own wedding vows?!

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