How to write wedding vows: it’s a well-searched question and for good reason.
Chances are you’ve never written them before. And while you’ve probably been to a wedding or two, every couple’s vows are completely different – which is just the way it should be. However, this doesn’t exactly make it easy to know where to start.
We’re not shy about making it known that we think everyone should write their own vows (as opposed to just taking some generic words off the web). We’ve even written a comprehensive guide to writing your own wedding vows to make this process easier and, dare we say it, actually kind of lovely.
This said, it’s not at all unusual to get a case of writer’s block and put the entire thing off. Whether it seems too hard, you’re not feeling inspired or you’re afraid that the result won’t be as good as you hope, we’re here to tell you that there are some simple tips to smash this mindset and just get going.
1. Look through photos of you and your partner
This is an excellent place to start. Pictures are just an everlasting capture of memories, after all. So by flicking through some snaps, you can be taken back to those happy times. This serves two clever purposes:
a) You’ll get the warm fuzzies, which might inspire you to write some nice things about your partner.
b) You might be able to weave some of the memories you’re looking at into your vows. E.g, I knew there was no way I’d do life without you after you wore your t-shirt inside-out all day just to spite me because I’d pointed it out to you after we had one of those silly arguments. That stubborn streak is one of the things I love most about you – you’re strong-willed, unrelenting and always stick up and speak up for what’s right.
2. Change your environment
Any performance coach will tell you that a change of environment = a change of mindset. If you find you keep trying to write your vows in the same place (e.g. in bed or at the dining table) and you’re getting stuck each time, get out of there. Take your writing outside, to a cafe, to the beach, to a park, to a library or to a place that means something to you both.
Go for a walk or a run, put on some music and clean the house, take the dog out. Movement also changes your mindset and increases your energy. Exercise = endorphins blah blah, science. Nike knows it, we all know it, so just do it (as in, do something active).
4. Give yourself permission to write something crap
This is such an effective way to break a writer’s block. Just start writing and expect that the things you type or pen aren’t going to be great.
Commit to writing about your partner for 10 minutes straight – set a timer on your phone. Write anything that pops into your head about them. Write a big, jumbled, shitty mess. Write things that you know you’d never want to say in your vows. Write the cheesiest crap that wouldn’t even make it into the script of a D-grade rom-com. Then close your laptop or your notepad and leave it for another day.
Without knowing it, you’ve made progress. Even if you look at what you scrawled 24 hours later and want to immediately erase it’s existence, the very act of getting words out is a brilliant start. You never know, when you look at what you wrote a couple of days later, there might even be one golden nugget of inspiration amongst all the turds.
5. Go for a drive and get bored
When was the last time you were bored? Hard to remember right, because we all reach for our devices before we allow that to happen. But scientists have proven that the most creative thoughts and ideas come to us when our minds aren’t occupied and distracted by all the wondrous technology at our fingertips. Which is why we suggest going for a drive (two hands on the wheel, kids).
Turn off the radio, chuck a pen and paper on the passenger seat and get cruising. If you think of a nice memory or something you love about your partner or perhaps a way to structure your vows, just pull over and write it down. And then keep driving. Repeat for as long as you like.
6. Answer the questions in our vow-writing guide
We’ve listed close to 30 questions in an article on how to write your wedding vows here designed to get you thinking and tease out some suitable vow-content. Do the lot or pick and choose the questions where answers seem to come naturally. We feel pretty damn confident that not only will you be clearing the writer’s block but you’ll also be writing parts of your actual vows in the process.