If your wedding is coming up, you’ve probably wondered, “how long should wedding vows be?” You might be thinking that you want to say a lot of things and show the world just how much you love your would-be spouse and how lucky you are that you’re about to spend your life together. That’s fine! Understandably, you would want to express all your emotions over your wedding verbally.
Here’s the thing: you’re not alone! There are many people who have struggled with how to keep their vows at the “right” length. There’s nothing more discouraging than looking over at your guests and seeing that some of them already looked bored and impatient.
If you’re having trouble trying to decide how long your vows should be, here are tips that you can use to find the perfect length.
Look for Inspiration
Draw inspiration from existing vows! If you are having a religious ceremony, you can use traditional vows from your religion as a reference. Many couples prefer to use traditional text for their vows, and this will give you a good idea of how long should wedding vows be if you’re planning to go the traditional route as well.
If you’re planning a secular ceremony, you can look for inspiration in books, bridal magazines, or even on Google. Look for parts that resonate with you and see how you can incorporate these parts into your own vows. Jot down these parts on pieces of paper; don’t worry if they feel like they’re all over the place right now. These pieces of paper will come together to create the perfect vows for you down the road.
Talk to Your Partner
One of the things you need to keep in mind is that you and your partner should agree on how you want your vows to come across. It can be quite jarring for your guests if you and your partner haven’t even agreed on how long your vows should be. You don’t want to have a long vow while your partner suddenly gives something concise unless you both decided to do so. You also need to agree on the tone of your vows. Will you make humorous vows or romantic ones? Finally, agree on the logistics of the vows. Will you write your vows together and deliver them together as well? Or do you want to make and deliver them separately? All of these factors will determine how long are wedding vows at your wedding would be.
Emphasize on the Most Important Parts of Your Relationship
Take a bit of time to reflect on your relationship and your partner. Consider all the important and unique points of your relationship and make sure to give them a starring role in your vows. If you’re having trouble, write down all the important milestones in your relationship and whittle down the list as you go.
Focus on the Promises that Matter to You
Always keep in mind that they’re called vows, and for a good reason: vows have a certain degree of gravitas compared to just calling them “promises.” You can include both broad vows (“I promise I will always be there for you during the tough times”) as well as more specific vows that apply to your relationship in particular (“I promise that Wednesdays will always be date nights.”)
Write a Draft, then Write it Again
Now that you have a lot of notes about the vows that you want to say put them all together and write out your first draft. It will help if you try to structure your vows with a flow. First, affirm your love. Second, praise your partner and thank them for wanting to spend their life with you. Third, make your promises. Finally, close it with a final vow that will call back to everything you’ve said.
Your first draft need not be your final one! As you write your vows, you might find that you want to add a little bit there, remove a little bit there. That’s fine; it’s all part of the process.
Don’t reference too many inside jokes
As tempting as it might be, try to avoid putting in too many inside jokes in your vows. While it might be a great little joke between you and your partner, it might also throw off your guests because they don’t know the context. In trying to figure out how long should wedding vows be, always ask yourself, “if I don’t know the inside meaning of this joke, would I be able to appreciate it?” If the answer is no, it might not be the best idea to include that part in your vows.
Decide on a Time Limit and Stick to It
One good way to decide how long should wedding vows be is deciding on an actual time limit and making sure that you stick to it. Whether you choose 45 seconds or 2 minutes, once you’ve decided on a time, don’t deviate from it no matter how much you would want to. You can also ask for help from your wedding party (maid of honor or best man) to help you stick to that time limit.
Practice out Loud
Yes, it might sound silly, but practicing aloud will give you a great handle on how long should wedding vows will be. You can even time yourself so that you will have an estimate of how long it takes for you to deliver your part of the vows. It will also give you a good idea if your vows have any parts that seem to drag or difficult to deliver so that you can cut them out or edit them if needed.
In the end, the best way to determine how long should wedding vows be is figuring out what feels right to you. Remember, it is your special day, and you should be able to express yourself in the best way possible. So, don’t overthink it! Just relax and enjoy delivering your vows to the person you love. Here’s how to learn more about wedding vows.