Structuring Wedding Vows

By Anna Lynn Sibal

If you want to write your very own, personalized wedding vows, you have to prepare yourself before you actually put them on paper. First, you have to check with your future spouse if he or she wants to make your wedding vows customized. Second, you have to ask your officiant – that is, the officiating priest or minister or cleric – if your religion allows you to recite customized vows during the wedding ceremony. And third, you have to brainstorm with yourself just what vows you want to convey to your intended as you face each other on your wedding day.

Once you got those three considerations settled, then it is time for you to put your wedding vows on paper. When you sit down to write, make sure that you have your materials and everything else that you need for writing with you so you do not have to get up and get them and disturb your writing in the process.

Just like any piece of writing, wedding vows have their own structure that need to be followed, more or less. Following the structure helps keep the wedding vows you write to be more orderly and flowing smoothly, and more importantly, clear.

The first part of the wedding vow is the salutation. The salutation is your opening line, and it could be a greeting or a quote that you find relates a lot to your relationship. The greeting could be something like “My dearest (spouse’s name).” On the other hand, the quote could be a snippet from a poem, a sentence from a story or a line from a song that you and your intended both consider a favorite.

The next part of the wedding vow usually involves describing what your intended means to you. If you reflected on your relationship before you started writing your wedding vows, here is where you put in the answers to the questions you asked yourself about your intended. Describe how your spouse-to-be is to you and what new meaning he or she brings to your life.

The section following this has something to do with relating just how you knew that you are in love with your spouse-to-be, how this love that you discovered grew as you got together and went through your relationship, and how you realized for yourself that your intended is the one you want to raise a family and grow old with.

The fourth part of the wedding vow is a description of the expectations, hopes and fears that you know marriage will bring to you and how you know you will be able to jump over every hurdle that married life will bring to the two of you.

If the wedding vow has a salutation or opening line, naturally it has a closing line. The closing line is an affirmation of just how much you love this person you are marrying, just how much he or she means to you and how thankful you are that this person came to your life.

What you manage to put together the first time you work on your wedding vows does not have to be the one you recite on your wedding ceremony. You can set it aside and review it later and produce as many drafts as your time allows until you have it down just the way you want it to be.