Wedding Vow CliffsNotes

So you and the love of your life have decided to create your wedding vows. Whether you are the bride or the groom, you probably have a treasure trove of words that truly express the way you feel. The question is how do you arrange these words into wedding vows that are not only a true reflection of your heart, memorable, and well written?

Let's say you start with the traditional wedding vows:

"I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you."

If you decide to stick with tradition wedding vows, the meaning behind these classic vows are romantic and make for a basic starting point for crafting your own or altering them to suit your personal style. Your wedding vows express how you plan to commit your life to your spouse, but will you remember what you promised in five, 10, 20 years?

The process of struggling through what you would want to say to your spouse helps you work through the gravity of the promises you're making.

When you look at the "I dos" with the understanding that it’s an unconditional promise, then, you might be able to lean on your vows during times of frustration and stress, while also looking back on it with celebration in times of joy. The wedding vows become a "reflection of that special day."

Since your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life, you basically have one chance to get your wedding vows right. So, here are a few wedding vow mistakes every bride and groom should avoid:

Waiting until the day before to write them

Write your wedding vows at least two weeks out. This is close enough to your wedding day for your sentiments to be what you want to express, but far enough out to actually write your wedding vows and stay focused.

Going on and on (and on and on...)

Keep it short, sweet, and memorable

Not making eye contact with your partner

In this digital age of the smartphone, it is common to talk to one another with bended neck. So simply ask your officiant to remind you before vows start to join hands and look at each other.

Now go grab your pen, pencil, tablet or smartphone and start putting together the words that will unify you and the love of your life on your wedding day and for many years to come.