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I met Bethel at Wedding Wire World a few years ago when Kathryn Hamm asked me to be on a panel at the event. We clicked instantly and though she lives across the US from us, we remain engaged & connected through quick emails and social media. After my last newsletter, Bethel mentioned liking the advice portion I include in our monthly newsblasts and I asked if she would like to write one. Bethel is a deeply experience wedding officiant and her views on weddings & couples are so in-line with ours here at Capitol Romance, it seemed like the perfect fit.

The newsletter only allows for once sentence, but Bethel had a lot more to share, and so we thought a guest post on the topic of writing and exchanging vows would be useful for the readers here that are in wedding planning mode. I’ll let Bethel take it from here!

how to write your own vows

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How to Write & Exchange Modern and Perfect Wedding Vows | By: Ceremonies by Bethel

Remember, the exchange of vows is one of the key reasons for your wedding day and the vows are supposed to last as long as you do.  So I recommend that you put a lot of thought into what you want to promise and how you want to promise it. I think good personal vows answer these two questions:

– How do I feel about my life partner, and why have I chosen him/her?

– What promises do I want to make for our life together? 

So, most vows have a combination about why this is the person they love and have chosen, and what they are promising each other.  It can be as serious or as funny as you want, or typically a combination of both, but it should represent you and your relationship.

offbeat washington dc wedding church of the holy city write your own vows (1)

Image: Amber Mahoney

Essentially there are four ways to do vows:

  • A question or multiple questions that you answer either “I do,” or “I will,” (or even “I’ll try!”).
  • Vows that you say in phrases, as a “repeat after me.” {Note that I don’t recommend this style unless doing only the traditional vows}
  • Vows that you read yourself from a card or piece of paper (don’t try to memorize them!)
  • As a conversation, reading it back and forth to and with each other (also from cards).

Most couples do the type of vows described in #3 nowadays, as a way to personally express their feelings and their vows to each other, or a combination of #1 and #3, to allow them to say “I do” as well as express their own feelings – unless they hate to speak in front of people, in which case they do some version of #1 or #2.  Sometimes version #4 also takes the pressure off doing it all by yourself.

Another thing to consider is the typical length of vows.  Couples ask me and this is what I usually see:

  • If writing questions to answer – usually 3-6 questions
  • If a paragraph to read themselves – usually 150-225 words

Some couples do shorter, and some do longer, but this is the normal range that I see from my couples.  I definitely don’t recommend longer than 300 words, as that feels really long to the guests listening to you read them, in addition to the fact that you might be more emotional than you think, and therefore that is a long time to read while emotional.

modern intimate same sex DC wedding ceremony

Image: Douglas Pettway

So keep it succinct, personal, and true to who you are ~ three simple things to remember to create the perfect, modern vows for your wedding ceremony!

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