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15 Helpful Tips You’ll Need When Writing Your Elopement Vows

The moment when you read your wedding/elopement vows to your partner are so important and should not be overlooked just because you decided to skip the traditional wedding. Whether you decide to use a blank piece of paper, make your own custom vow books or purchase from a talented vendor, there is no right or wrong way to do this.

While the idea of writing your own vows and pouring your heart out on paper to the person you love may seem overwhelming – I promise it’s worth it. There are so many different ways to navigate this step. For example, some couples choose to write their wedding vows together. Other couples may prefer to write their vows separately and then surprise each other with heart felt and meaningful words on their wedding day. As I mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong way to do this – just your way!

So you know you want to write your vows, but how do you get started? Let’s jump right in and I will give you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned – even for writing my own elopement vows.

Couple stands next to a lake in front of a mountain in Colorado to read their elopement vows. The water is dark and the foliage is yellow as it's fall in Colorado.

15 Helpful Tips You'll Need When Writing Your Elopement Vows

1.) Buy or make your own vow books

As a former bride, I decided to go the custom option (because why not), and I hired a professional stationery artist to make vow books that meant something to us. She added our names, our wedding date, and even customized them to bring in elements from the place where we are getting married. Plus you get the added bonus of supporting local businesses! If that’s not your jam, then check out Etsy. I guarantee you’ll find something you love! If purchasing from Etsy, then I would highly recommend asking them to add in extra pages so you can add to your vows in the future.

Another option is to skip the smaller vow books and opt for a larger pocket sized notebook to write your elopement vows.

2.) Only you can write your elopement vows

This comes straight from the heart. Even if you aren’t an eloquent writer, you can still come up with beautiful and meaningful vows by following the tips below. Don’t worry, I even have tips to overcome writers block.

Groom kisses his new wife's cheek as she laughs after they read their elopement vows at a beautiful lake in Colorado that shines behind them in the photo.
A pair of vow books lay on a red rock with the bride's earrings, veil, and bridal bouquet.

3.) It's OK to be a little vulnerable, and you don't need to be a perfect writer

Let’s be honest, you don’t need to be a brilliant writer or poet in order to write meaningful and intentional vows for your partner. The more you are willing to share of your feelings the better your vows will turn out! 

4.) Sit down with a blank piece of paper or word document, make a list of all of your thoughts when it comes to your relationship

Find a quiet place to make this list. Think of this as a brain dump, and will help you get started. If you’re stuck then ask yourself these questions:

  • Start your elopement vows with your first impression or one of your favorite stories.
  • What’s important to you in your relationship? Now and in the future.
  • How has being with this person made your life better?
  • How do you plan to make their lives better?
  • Pick the top 2 or 3 things you love about your partner.
  • Feel free to share any other thoughts when it comes to your relationship and the life you’ve built together as a couple.
  • Keep going until you can’t anymore!

5.) When writing your elopement vows, don't forget to state how much you love that person and how much they mean to you in your life

I know this sounds like a no brainer when it comes to writing your elopement vows, but many couples forget to include three simple words “I love you”. There is no such thing as being too mushy or sentimental when writing your vows. Speak to how you truly feel.

6.) Think about why you love this person

How do they make you feel? Do they make you a better person? How do they compliment you? How does it feel to have them in your lives and to wake up to them in the morning? Write about that!

A couple reads their elopement vows at sunset in front of a snowy mountain Colorado with the sun shining behind them. The groom then puts the ring on his new bride's finger.

7.) Share a funny or meaningful story that you'll never forget

Maybe you have a specific moment where you thought “Yep, he/she is the one I want to marry.” Or maybe it was just a moment where they made you feel safe, important, and loved. Bring all of those amazing memories and moments you’ve shared together to your vows.

8.) Communicate your intent

What do I mean by this? People get married because they love each other, and want to support and be there for each other for the rest of their lives. As you grow older, you will change. Tell the other person how you want to be there for them through thick and thin.

9.) If you've overcome something major as a couple, express that

Tell that story of how you overcome that obstacle together as a couple. Express how thankful you are to have them by your side through the hard and the fun times.

Bride reads her elopement vows to her future husband as they stand on a rock in front of a Colorado mountain with pine trees behind them.
Newly married couple laughing and looking at the camera as they hold up their hands to show off their wedding rings. The Colorado mountains and the sunset are lighting up behind them with Twin Lakes.

10.) Make your vows feel like you

If you’re a silly couple, feel free to throw in a couple things that will make you giggle and smile through the tears as you read your vows.

11.) Write up a rough draft

Then come back to it at least a week later and see how you can improve it! I suggest doing this at least one other time to be sure you didn’t miss anything.

Bride laughs as the groom reads his elopement vows in the snow. The snowy mountains and pine trees are contrasted behind them.

12.) Look for inspiration

You can look at poems, books, movies, and music to help inspire you to write your vows. Maybe there is a line in a song that you absolutely love and feel applies to you, include it in your vows then talk about why you included it.

13.) Take your time, start early and take notes along the way

Start a list in your phone and make notes whenever something crosses your mind. Maybe your partner did something silly, or maybe you had an amazing adventure or memory together that you want to include.

Couple standing on a rooftop patio laughing right after their first look.
Bride and groom standing in a patch of snow with signs on their backpacks that say 'Just Married'

14.) Practice reading your elopement vows out loud by yourself

This is SO important! Hearing yourself say these words out loud will be a great way to see how they can be improved. Don’t forget to make room in your vows for subtle pauses.

15.) Write a solid final draft in your vow books

Once you have your vows as close to complete as possible, it’s time to write the final draft in your vow book or type them out on a piece of paper. I personally love vow books, as they can be fully customized and once the ceremony is over you can keep them as a sentimental item.

16.) When it comes to reading them to your partner, take it slow

Hold their hand, look them in the eyes, and talk a little slower than you normally would. Connect with them as much as possible.

Bride and groom share their first kiss in the rain in front of a Colorado lake after they read their elopement vows.

I’ve photographed and planned over 50 elopements and intimate weddings as a Colorado elopement photographer. I know writing elopement vows can be a scary part of the process, but I’m hoping this was helpful! Don’t forget to start early, as you can’t rush perfection.

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9 thoughts on “15 Helpful Tips You’ll Need When Writing Your Elopement Vows”

  1. This is so helpful! Sometimes it is hard to get all your thoughts and feelings all out on paper but this really helps that process! And love all these photos! Gorgeous!

  2. I love these helpful tips for planning your elopement vows. Just because it’s non traditional doesn’t mean it can’t be just as meaningful! I love your note on “If you’ve overcome something major as a couple, express that”. Overcoming difficult times and celebrating that on your elopement day is so impactful!

  3. This is such a great and super perfect outline for vow writing considerations. We put so much pressure on them or lose the pressure but vows are our opportunity to share our heart and feelings. I love this blog. Such great work!

  4. As someone who really needs help writing my vows, this blog has been incredibly helpful. I’m taking notes and saving this for later! Thanks!

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