While you were busy picking out florals, decor, your wedding party, and even the colors of your table napkins, your vows may have been put on the backburner. One of the most important parts of your day is often easily overlooked. Some people even wait until the night before (seriously, but I don’t recommend that). Figuring out what you want your vows to be doesn’t have to be all-consuming: you have options.
I’ve attended and photographed hundreds of weddings, and I’ve heard about every style of vows that exists. Most can be put into these three categories (or some combination of them). When the question arises: should we write our own vows or keep it traditional, one of these options will surely work for you and your partner.
The tried and true.
Hear me out: traditional vows are underrated. There’s something to be said for the time-honored words that millions of people in love have spoken to each other. They’re classic, timeless, and (most importantly) require next to zero time to prepare. If you’re getting married in a religious setting, they may also be a requirement. If you’re not feeling the vibes of the vows that the clergy provides to you, ask if there’s a similar alternative or if you can propose small changes. Bottom line: traditional vows save time and take the pressure off of you and your partner.
The subtle flair.
If you’re thinking about being a little bit more hands-on but don’t want to commit to writing all of your vows, you can add flair to existing vow examples to make them your own. There’s no shame in pulling from quotes, poems, and songs to express your love for your partner. In fact, it’s a great way to casually add humor or an inside joke. You can even try rearranging the order of traditional vows to find a cadence that works for you. Start by creating a list of the must-have parts of your vows, then find areas where there’s room for you to add some flair.
The creative cheers.
The pressure’s on. Just kidding. Most couples I’ve photographed who write their own vows are glad they did. You know the type (and it might be you!) the creative and off-beat couple. Believe me, vows are fun to photograph, but writing them isn’t for everyone. Before you choose to write your vows from scratch, you should ask yourself if you have the time, if your partner would agree to it (or if it would be painful for them), and if you’re comfortable sharing your words out loud. It might be helpful to give your partner a sense of the tone (funny or serious) and length (keep it to a page)–without giving them away, of course.
No matter what vows you choose, know that they’ll be special because you share them with your partner. Try not to worry about the expectations of your guests (or Instagram followers) and do what makes sense for you and your relationship. In my experience, vows (traditional and creative alike) are a moment during the wedding when couples are completely enveloped in each other. And it makes for great photos.
Lauren Lindley is Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, also available for elopements and family portraits in the greater Northern CA Area. She also services New Orleans, LA, Dallas, TX, and Austin, TX. Have camera: will travel. She is available to provide services for weddings across the U.S. and worldwide. She specializes in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce photojournalism based wedding photography with classic, clean and vibrant images. Lauren Lindley is currently booking weddings from 2020 and 2021 in Lake Tahoe, CA and other destinations worldwide.
If you don’t need help with whether or not to write your own vows, but want some other wedding planning resources, look no further! You can find other wedding planning tips and resources on my blog. In addition, I was recently quoted in a blog from Milk Photobooks where 85 Wedding Photographers shared their suggestions for wedding planning.