February 8, 2023
Watching another couple’s wedding video may make you start to wonder if you, too, should write each other personal vows. While it’s entirely up to you and your partner to decide how personal you want to be, I always recommend including at least one personally written and/or spoken element in your day and your film.
Your words are yours – they express your personality, thoughts, and emotions. And in addition to wanting to see yourself in those special wedding-day moments, you’ll also want to hear yourself.
I learned this from my own wedding video. We had a Catholic Mass and weren’t allowed to do any sort of personal readings. When we watch our film, the only time we really hear ourselves at the altar is while reciting the same vows as everyone else.
Heartfelt vows, handwritten letters, and story-filled interviews help make a wedding film YOUR wedding film.
But don’t think you have to be Shakespeare to pen meaningful pieces. Here are some simple guidelines for each and how to know which one is right for you.
The moment you exchange vows feels like the moment you really get married. And it’s such an important moment because you’re standing at the altar in front of a group of people making a public commitment (and a promise) to the person before you.
If that’s not a reason to write your own vows, I don’t know what is! But I understand that it can feel intimidating to translate emotions into words. Where do you even start?
When you begin writing your vows, think about communicating your love story. What do you love about your partner? What promises are you making to them? Ask yourself, “What do I want them to walk away remembering?”
Think about the moments you’ve shared and what’s led you here. Why are you marrying them? How have they made you a better person? What do you hope your future looks like together? Let your thoughts flow.
But not too much! Vows should be no longer than 500 words (about 2-3 minutes when read). And you and your fiancé should agree on a basic structure and length.
You might start by talking about how you met and your lives up to this point.
Then, move to why your partner is so special to you.
Finally, include a few promises. They can be serious or fun, or a mix of both. And you can end with words of commitment like, “Forever and always.”
But no matter what you choose to say, do not wait until the last minute to write your vows. Writing something heartfelt under pressure can cause anxiety, leading to writer’s block.
And be sure to practice reading everything aloud. You may write three pages worth of words and think, “Wow, this will take forever to read!” only to realize it takes two minutes.
An exchange of letters between a couple typically takes place while the two of you are getting ready. They’re a beautiful way to privately communicate your feelings for each other, and they become a tangible memento from your wedding.
You can write anything you want, but if you need some prompts to get started…
- Start with something like, “As I write this…” and describe your setting or how you’re feeling.
- Consider including why you want to spend the rest of your life with this person.
- What are your hopes for the day? What are you most looking forward to?
- Share a proud moment you shared or how they inspire and motivate you
- If you’re not writing wedding vows, include the moment you fell in love with them and when you knew they were “the one.”
- Consider ending with your promise(s) and how you’ll continue to show up in your relationship.
Carve out time to write your letter and write from the heart. Read others’ letters if you need more inspiration. And jot down things as they come to you.
When thinking about your wedding video, I often have each partner read their own letter so the intended emotion and inflection really come through. I’ve seen it the other way around (one partner reading the other’s letter), and it can sound really awkward. But, of course, it’s entirely up to you and what each of you feels comfortable doing.
And just so you know, you don’t have to read anything out loud! If you’d prefer to keep it private, we can always concentrate on capturing the emotion each of you shares as you read the words rather than the words themselves.
Guided Private Interviews
Guided interviews are 1-on-1 conversations between us (the filmmakers) and you. During the short interviews, we pull each of you aside and ask a few simple questions. And because you’re simply responding to a prompt, we’ve heard it’s a lot less overwhelming than having to write vows or a letter from scratch.
Some of the questions we like to use are: “How did you two meet?”, “How are you feeling about today?” and “How would you describe your better half?”.
And though the questions we ask are often the same, the stories and personal elements that come out and the way we incorporate them into your film are always different! In fact, it’s one of our favorite ways to learn important details of your story that might not come up otherwise.
Which One is Right For You?
Still unsure about which one is right for you in your wedding video? Or considering including all three? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you figure out which is the right fit. Contact us, and let us help you preserve your personal promises to one another.