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Write Meaningful Wedding Vows with this Helpful Guide

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When it comes to writing your wedding vows, there are two types of personalities. Maybe you’re like a Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) when it comes to writing your wedding vows —“The first draft of my vows, which I wrote the day after we got engaged, clocked in at around 70 pages.” Or you might be more of a Bella Swan (Twilight) When I first learned I was going to write my own vows, I panicked. I looked at the paper for hours, no words coming to mind.” 

Either way, we are going to help you successfully navigate how to write meaningful wedding vows with tips, inspiration, and a step-by-step writing guide. 

Write Meaningful Wedding Vows with this Helpful Guide

Photo // Nikk Nguyen Photo

The Origin of Wedding Vows 

The origin of wedding vows goes back to ancient times. During the Roman Empire, when a bride’s father would “deliver” her to the groom, the couple would agree that they were wed and kept the vow of marriage by mutual agreement. 

The traditional vows we know today that vow “to have and hold from this day forward…” are one of the oldest wedding traditions going back to the medieval times when the Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549. 

There are variations, but they started out like this —

I (name) take thee (name) to my wedded wife/husband, 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 us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.” 

Flash forward to today and couples are blending tradition and culture together with their own unique love story and personality by writing their own vows. 

Myths About Writing Your Wedding Vows 

Don’t let the task of writing your wedding vows intimidate you because of outdated myths about it. Here are some myths that may be stopping you from writing your vows.

1. You have to be a great writer.

Not true. Feel free to quote famous writers, but you don’t have to be one to create beautiful vows. Your wedding vows are about writing what’s in your heart and making promises to someone you are building a life with. It doesn’t need to be perfect — it only needs to be meaningful. Don’t worry about if it’s the greatest thing ever written. 

2. You have to memorize them.

Don’t let the movies or books you’ve seen (while wonderful) make you think you have to know your vows by heart in order for them to be authentic. That’s putting undue pressure on yourself. Reading your own vows during the ceremony is a great way to be in the moment and not worried about remembering your speech in front of a large crowd on one of the biggest days in your life. Plus, that piece of paper or beautiful notebook becomes a keepsake for your family in generations to come. 

3. You have to do them by yourself — or it’s not authentic or romantic. 

This is a sneaky one because it is important that the vows come from your heart and your perspective, but there’s no shame in getting help making sure you clearly communicate what you’re feeling. This help could come from friends or family — or it could come from a professional wedding vow writer. That’s right. There are wedding vow writers that help you take what you’re feeling and craft something epic, if that’s important to you. 

4. You can’t have traditional vows and write your own. 

Traditional vows, especially ones that are intrinsic to the ceremony, can be beautiful and even necessary in some cultures or venues. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own personal messages with promises to each other during the ceremony. This can come at the beginning of the ceremony or even after the traditional vows just before the pronouncement.

Wedding Vow Inspiration

Even the most skilled poet needs inspiration and the same is true for you when writing your own vows. Before you can start writing your wedding vows you’ll want to look for inspiration. 

Here’s a great example of what writing your wedding vows can look like. 

Videographer: Transform Visuals

(Click here to watch more examples of couples sharing their vows on our Youtube channel.) 

On-Screen Wedding Vows

We’ve talked about how you don’t have to be a good writer to write good vows, but there’s no harm in pulling from your favorite on-screen (or page) couples for inspiration — or even to directly quote.

Here are some sample wedding vows from on-screen (or page) weddings and what inspiration you can take from them.  

Paige and Leo (The Vow)  

Inspiration: Make real promises both serious and silly that reflect your love and relationship.

Paige I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.

Leo I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once-in-a-lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.

 

Julian and Brooke (One Tree Hill)

Inspiration: Tell them how they have changed your life and why you love them. 

Julian — Brooke, before I met you I thought my world had everything I needed to be happy. I had nothing else to compare it to, then you walked into my life and everything changed. I realized how empty my world was without you in it, and my old life was no longer capable of making me happy … not without you. I love everything about you, Brooke. I love the way you challenged me like no one ever has. I love the way you look at me like no one ever has, and I love the way you love me like no one ever has. I can’t imagine spending my life without you, and if you say “yes” to me in a few minutes, I won’t have to. You look beautiful by the way. 

Brooke — Julian, before I met you my world revolved around one thing … me. And I like it that way — on my own, but then I met you and you saw through the facade. You saw me. You’ve taught me to trust, how to let someone in, and what it truly means to fall in love. I can’t possibly describe how much I love you, so I’ll tell you why I love you. You see the world in a way that no one else does and you appreciate  everything, including me. There’s no one in the world like you, and if you say “yes” in a few minutes, I’ll get to spend the rest of my life trying to see the world through your eyes, appreciating everything, including you … the most unique, wonderful, and terribly handsome man I have ever met. 

 

Leslie and Ben (Parks and Recreation)

Inspiration: Allow each other to create vows that reflect your unique personalities and perspectives. They don’t have to match. 

Ben — In my time working for the state government, my job sent me to 46 cities in 11 years. I lived in villages with eight people, rural farming communities, college towns. I was sent to every corner of Indiana. And then I came here, and I realized that this whole time I was just wandering around everywhere, just looking for you.

Leslie — The things that you have done for me, to help me, support me, surprise me, to make me happy, go above and beyond what any person deserves. You’re all I need. I love you and I like you.

Ben — I love you and I like you.

 

Phoebe and Mike (Friends)

Inspiration: Let your quirkiness shine through and don’t try to fit a fancy mold — just be your authentic self.

Phoebe — When I was growing up, I didn’t have a normal mom and dad, or a regular family like everybody else, and I always knew that something was missing. But now I’m standing here today, knowing that I have everything I’m ever gonna need. You are my family.

Mike — Phoebe, you are so beautiful. You’re so kind, you’re so generous, you’re so wonderfully weird. Every day with you is an adventure. I can’t believe how lucky I am, and I can’t wait to share my life with you forever.

Phoebe — Oh wait, I forgot! And, um…I love you. And you have nice eyes.

Mike — I love you too.

 

Topanga and Cory (Boy Meets World) 

Inspiration: Recount your love story, reflect on the obstacles you’ve overcome, and share your hopes for the future.

Topanga — I wasn’t sure this day would ever come, but you were. I wasn’t sure love could survive everything we put it through, but you were. You were always strong and always sure. And now I know I want you to stand beside me for the rest of my life. That’s what I’m sure of.

Cory — Ever since I was young I never understood anything about the world, and I never understood anything that happened in my life. The only thing that ever made sense to me was you, and how I felt about you. That’s all I’ve ever known, and that’s enough, that’s enough for me, for the rest of my life.

 

(This list wouldn’t be complete without some of the most romantic confessions in literature. While they are technically proposals, it’s great vow inspiration!)

Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet)

Inspiration: Let the great writers of history be your partner. If a quote or passage from a story reflects how you feel, quote it and let it help you speak from your heart. 

Mr. Darcy on when he first fell in love with Elizabeth (Book)I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.

Mr. Darcy (Screenplay) You have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. And wish from this day forth never to be parted from you.

Anne of Green Gables (Anne to Gilbert) 

Inspiration: Use your previous conversations or shared history to add extra meaning to your vows. 

Anne quoting herself from a previous conversation— I don’t want diamond sunbursts or marble halls. I just want you.

A Guide for Writing Your Wedding Vows

Now that you’ve been inspired, it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to start writing! 

While each person’s vows are unique to them and their story, here is a guide to get you started. The result from this simple prompt will be authentic, meaningful content to create your own beautiful wedding vows. 

Remember, this doesn’t have to be long or fancy, just write what comes to mind. 

  1. Write down your love story.
  2. Write down what the moment was that you first knew you loved them. 
  3. Write down the greatest blessing(s) having them in your life has brought you.
  4. Write down three things that you love most about them. 
  5. Write down one reason you want to marry them. 
  6. Write down why you want to go through life together with them.
  7. Write down what you hope to bring to their life. 
  8. Describe how you feel about building a life with them.
  9. Describe how you see going through life together. 
  10. Look back at what you’ve written and write three promises (or vows) that show your commitment to making that a reality. 

This will help you get a general structure to your vows. You’ll start to see a theme and be able to pick the most important elements out. Even if you would love to get professional help, this will be invaluable information to do that as well.

Pro Tips to Keep You On Track

  • Consider your venue restrictions before writing your vows. Some places require certain traditional vows, but may allow a personalization before or after the official vows. Talk to your venue or wedding planner for confirmation. 
  • It’s not recommended to write your wedding vows together with your significant other, but do talk about expectations. You don’t want to have a five-minute monologue on one side and a single sentence on another. 
  • If you want professional help writing, your wedding planner is a great source of help to either find a professional writer or to give you feedback directly. 
  • Read your vows aloud to see how long they are, and be sure to practice before the big day. 
  • Don’t leave this task until the last minute. Tweaks and changes are fine, but it’s best to have this ready in advance. A month to two weeks before the big day is a great timeline for having the finished product. 
  • Start gathering inspiration now, do the writing prompt, and let that simmer for a while before you start writing. 

For more inspiration on wedding vows, check out our real couples’ wedding videos on our YouTube Channel to see how different couples tackled this task. Happy writing! 

#InTheKnow: How to Get a Marriage License in Texas

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Wedded bliss straight ahead? Don’t rush off to the altar just yet! Before you say “I do,” you’ve got to get a Texas marriage license to make sure your union is officially and legally recognized. Rules differ by state and even by county, so we’ve gathered the pertinent info for you in one spot to help with this part of the planning process. Read below to find out what you need to know before you go. You’ll be licensed to wed in no time!

how to get a marriage license in Texas

Photo: Elisa Lopez Photography

Where and When to Go

Unless you meet the requirements for a common law marriage, you’ll most likely be applying for what’s called a Formal Marriage License. Both you and your fiancé must appear in person at the county clerk’s office. This office is typically located within the county’s main courthouse. Travis County issues all marriage licenses from one particular clerk’s office.

Make the trip at least 72 hours before your ceremony, but no more than 90 days beforehand. Texas marriage licenses expire if the ceremony isn’t performed within 90 days. If you’re recently divorced, there’s a 30-day waiting period before you can apply for a new license.

Check with your nearest county clerk’s office to verify their hours of operation before you go. If you live in a heavily populated county, it may be wise to ask if certain days are better in regard to wait times. When it’s your turn, you’ll appear before the clerk, answer a few brief questions and be on your way! The process is typically fairly quick.

What to Bring with You

Payment | Marriage license fees vary by county in Texas but typically cost between $70 and $90. Certain counties charge credit card fees or may not take personal checks, so it’s often best to bring cash. If either you or your fiancé is not a Texas resident or can’t prove your Texas residency, you’ll need to bring an additional $100.

Valid form of ID | Bring your driver’s license, state ID card, passport, visa or military ID. Each party also must know their social security number.

Twogether in Texas certificate, if applicable | If you and your fiancé have completed a pre-marital counseling/education course that meets the Twogether in Texas requirements, bring your completion certificate. Certain counties offer a discount for completing this type of course (sometimes as much as $60 off your marriage license!).

Again, check with your nearest county clerk’s office to verify their fees and accepted payment options prior to making the trip. Local Austin brides, here’s the info for Travis County.

Keep in Mind

Not only must you obtain a marriage license prior to your wedding and have it signed by all the privy parties, don’t forget your officiant needs to meet the requirements, as well! You must have a licensed or ordained minister, priest or rabbi, or a judge or justice of the peace performing your ceremony. Additional wedding witnesses aren’t required in Texas.

Texas residents can obtain a marriage license from any county in the state. The location of your wedding does not matter. However, if you’re planning on a destination wedding, make sure to research the wedding requirements for that particular state or country. If you’re wanting to host your wedding in a public place like a park or on a beach, check with the county and/or city about necessary permits.

Whoever performs your ceremony should sign and date your license after the ceremony and return it to the county clerk’s office from where it was issued, no more than 30 days post-wedding. After it’s officially recorded, you’ll receive your license back within 1-4 weeks. Then, it’s really official! Congrats!


Looking for more helpful planning tips like this? We’ve got even more helpful content for you here.

Earthy and Organic Wedding Inspo for an Industrial Venue

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This earthy organic wedding inspiration feels so inviting – we can’t get enough! Its rustic and romantic elements mean that there’s decor to align with both the tastes of the bride and groom. Held at the industrial Austin wedding venue, Mae’s Ridge, this warm and floral-filled inspiration shoot includes some of our favorite things from the best vendors in Austin. The Flower Girl has gone above and beyond when it comes to the stunning floral arrangements all around this setting! Centerpieces are the cherry on top of already-picture-perfect tablescapes, and the dramatic floral installation ceremony backdrop is to-die-for. The model bride looks absolutely breathtaking in the scene wearing a strapless ball gown from Julian Gold, along with elegant fine jewelry from Nicole Mera. Enjoy perusing this earthy and organic wedding inspo for yourself – Happy Monday!

Photos // Beloved Photography

The Jewel-Toned Palette in This Shoot Gives Us Romantic Fall Vibes

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If there’s one thing that makes our hearts wish for fall no matter the time of the year, it’s a gorgeous jewel-toned palette in any wedding or event! Held at the hall at Jester King Brewery, this elegant event has elements to wow guests in all corners. This model bride looks stunning with her hair and makeup professionally styled by LUSTREbella. We love her glowy wedding look including the choice of a bold cat eye and an unforgettable berry lip. Her hair is fresh and fun, swept back in a funky faux-hawk and drawing even more attention to her gorgeous face. The model’s unique and elegant wedding gown from Unbridaled features a deep neckline, intricately patterned sleeves, and flattering leg slit – putting this gown at the top of all of our wishlists. Our favorite part is all of the adorable centerpieces and decor lining this shoot’s perfect tablescapes. Cheers!

Photos // Shelley Elena Photography

Gingham Wedding Dress Goals

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This whimsical wedding inspiration from Middleton Events is like stepping into a southern dream! Held at the classic mansion wedding venue, Woodbine Mansion, everything about this styled shoot is filled with southern charm. If there’s one detail you absolutely must take note of, it’s the model bride’s pink gingham wedding dress! She donned the strapless A-line gown before changing into a more traditional option with a romantic off-the-shoulder neckline and 3D floral appliqué. Crown of Glory Beauty finished off the bridal look with fresh makeup full of pretty pink tones as well as an elegantly tousled updo. The most stunning florals from Remi + Gold absolutely make this whole event pop with big beautiful blooms galore, and the entire soiree has been expertly captured by Mint Photography. This southern wedding inspiration is truly some you need to see to believe. Cheers!

Photos // Mint Photography

From the planner: “Fun styled shoot inspired by the venues southern charm. I wanted to pull in the magnolia trees on site into the florals by adding pops of magnolia leaves in the center pieces. I also wanted the shoot to be flexible for spring time or fall weddings with the palette used!”