Break Tradition & Write 1 Short & 1 Long Wedding Vow

by Yvette in — Updated March 29, 2024 — Reading Time: 9 minutes

All aspects of a wedding are important. But, there is one that carries much weight in the ceremony: the vows.

The moment couples recite their own wedding vows is a significant part of the ceremony as they declare their love for one another in front of their loved ones.

Vow exchange is considered the official part of the wedding ceremony, along with exchanging rings or other symbols. When it comes to wedding vows, couples have many varying options on which direction to go.

Until recently, most people opted for traditional wedding vows, which involved reciting vows written by other people. Traditional vows involved free will; “I take thee….” And promise “to love and to hold, till death do us part.”

There was nothing wrong with the traditional vows. But as time passed, couples realized the need to express what they felt instead of reciting what someone else had written and shifted to writing their wedding vows.

Although writing your wedding vows can be overwhelming, it is a chance to tell your story to your loved one, and it is intimate since you say what is in your heart.

Reciting the vows you’ve written yourself is a good idea as it helps you to personalize the ceremony and express your true feelings.

When writing your wedding vows, break down from the tradition and opt for one long and one short wedding vow (check out our blog about common wedding vow mistakes to avoid). Make sure that the vows include different facets of your relationship, along with communicating your true feelings.

Need help in writing your own vows? Keep reading to learn more.

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Key Takeaway

  • Short wedding vows should be concise, focused on key promises and feelings, capture the moment, and wish for the future in 30-50 thoughtful words.
  • Longer wedding vows allow couples to tell their love story, discuss hopes for their future together, and add personal touches or inside jokes in approximately 150-300 words.
  • Getting feedback on homemade wedding vows from trusted friends/family ensures proper length, flow, and impact before the big day.
  • Couples can exchange one short and one long vow to set the tone and fully express their emotions while keeping guests engaged.

Critical Elements of Short Vows

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Most times, the vows that make more emotional impact are those that take a short time to recite. It can be challenging to express everything you are feeling in less than three minutes.

But it’s not impossible. If you plan on making your vows short, here are some tips:

Use a Simple Outline

Organizing your thoughts will help you write your feelings in a few words. Tools like Note cards can help keep your vows short.

Following their structure, you can create a perfect flow and ensure you don’t fill your vows with unnecessary information. Approximately 30-50 words are enough for your wedding vows.

When structuring your vows, make sure they have a beginning, middle, and end. At the same time, remember to use the words you are comfortable with.

It’s best to use words that you and your partner often use for the vows to sound authentic and flow naturally when you say them out loud.

Keep Your Vows Concise and Impactful

In theory, couples should communicate their feelings to one another for as long as they wish.

But in practice, your guests may find long vows quite challenging. While you should not feel like you are working with a timer in the background, you must remember not to take much time.

Here are some things to include when writing short vows:

Focus on the most important promises

It’s normal to want to say the many promises you intend on holding. But don’t include unnecessary ones if you are hoping for short vows.

You can say something like,

“I promise to love you, to take care of you, to candrish you in good times and TOUGH times. I will be there when you need me to hold your hand throughout this journey.”

Highlight your favorite things about your partner: write three sentences describing what you love and appreciate about your spouse.

For instance, you can say:

“Your loving heart, calmness, and patience towards other people draw me closer and closer to you. I have never felt a love like yours and never experienced a trust like ours. I am thankful for your presence in my life, and from this day forward, I promise to be there by your side.”

Capture the moment

Include a sentence about how you feel in the moment. Or you can write a flashback of how the journey has been to reach this point using your own words.

Example: “You swept my feet away from the day we crossed paths. I have never looked back and never wished to spend my life with someone else. I love you and today, I am committing my life to you.”

Finish with a wish for your future

Here, you can include a sentence or two on what excites you about your future together. Finish by reminding your partner that you love them.

Here is an example of a short wedding vow:

“My love,
You stole my heart from the first day I saw you at (write the place), and now you will have it forever.
It feels great to be loved by you. You have taken away my fear and given me the peace I ever knew I needed.
I love your smile. I love your heart. I love that you stand by and encourage me when things are tough. You are my best friend, my husband, and my partner. And today, I make these vows to you.
I promise to love, care, and comfort you.
I promise to cheer you, make you feel safe, and make your favorite chocolate bar.
And I promise to stand by you, loving you and being there for you every step of the way.
I can’t wait to make more memories with you as we start this new chapter. I love you.”

Crafting Longer Wedding Vows


Sometimes, you may have a lot to say. Hence, you may need more time to express your feelings in front of an audience.

While long vows are also encouraged, do not waste time, as you may bore your wedding guests. The approximate length is between 150 and 300 words, which makes the whole process about three minutes long.

Here are some tips for crafting longer wedding vows.

Tell a Story

If you’re wondering what’s a great place to tell other people about your love story, the answer is your wedding day.

So, take advantage of this special day and share your journey through your wedding vows. You don’t have to say everything that transpired because that might take hours.

But make sure you mention how the two of you met and your favorite memories and moments.

Discuss Hopes for the Future

Besides the promises you make to each other, your vows are a chance to discuss what you are excited about for your future together and your hopes.

Maybe you are hoping to love one another for a long time or forever, perhaps you are hoping for a happy/prosperous marriage, or maybe your wish is to stand by each other in everything that comes your way.

Use your wedding vows to express your hopes even as you enter this new covenant.

Add Personal Touches Like Inside Jokes

The main benefit of writing your wedding vows is that you get to add personal touches. Although a serious part of the wedding, vow exchange can be fun to make it more memorable.

Share an inside joke with your wedding guests and let everyone laugh.

But at the same time, remember that your loved ones want your vows to be sweet and uplifting. So, while throwing in some jokes, please don’t make them distract or diminish the ceremony. Avoid anything embarrassing, negative, or sensitive.

Example of a long wedding vow:

“Christine, you came into my life when I least expected. I was lost, confused, and not ready to love or commit myself to a relationship. But with time, I have come to realize how much I needed your love.

In the past seven years, we have been together, we have experienced ups and downs together. Yet, with each challenge that came our way, we tackled it, making us stronger.

These struggles have made me love you even more, and in the end, I feel more connected to you. Remember the time we (share your story here)

I love you dearly for everything that you are. Your curious mind amazes me. Your sense of humor makes me want you even more. Although I didn’t want to admit it, I love your awful puns.

I promise (make your promises here)

I love you (call your partner the cute name you usually do).”

Getting Feedback Before the Big Day

After you have written your own marriage vows, the next step is to edit them to ensure they sound good and don’t have unnecessary information. Read them to help you identify redundant areas and parts that don’t sound natural.

Also, get someone else to listen as you read your vows. That can help you get a new perspective on the right words and what needs to be changed. You can also highlight different sections.

For instance, pink can highlight your promises, and red can highlight your wishes for the future. That will help you see the heavier sections and those that need to be adjusted.

Here are some top tips to help you get the perfect wedding vows:

Ask a trusted friend and family member

Since vows are integral to your big day, you want to ensure they sound good and flow well. Get a third party, like your best man, to read them and see their thoughts on what you have written. When you get comments from friends and family, allocate ample time to incorporate edits.

Also, ensure you get the right length. You won’t include all the details if your vows are too short. And if they are too long, your guests might get bored.

So, make sure you get the right length.

If your ceremony timing only allows 5 minutes total for vows, aim to cut down lengthy drafts. Read through the vows aloud, timing each one – if a vow is too long or short, further edits will be needed.

Consider carefully what can be trimmed or expanded while retaining the core message. For short vows that are too brief, adding another sentence or two about your hopes and dreams can help fill the time.

For lengthy vows that need to be condensed, try removing some personal stories while keeping the most impactful details.

Having vows with uneven lengths can work beautifully, but ensure both fit comfortably within your given time frame focused on the length for the sake of your guests, but know that no matter what, the words you exchange will capture the authentic love between you and your future spouse.

After you get some feedback, you can consider the length of your vows.

Practice reciting your vows

Reciting your vows out loud will ensure you have used the right length of words. Have a timer beside you when reciting to determine how long they take. Make sure the timer is recording the length down, including seconds. That way, you will know if your vows are 90 seconds or if you need to shorten or lengthen them.

Consult with a Vow Writer

Whether long or short, writing your own vows is not easy. Communicating emotions with words is challenging. If you find it difficult to capture your love story, working with a professional wedding vow writer is a great idea. They will help you get the right words and length and remove the anxiety of vow writing.

Need to make your vows shorter?

  • Cut filler words. Remove unnecessary “ums”, “likes”, “you knows” – these lengthen without adding substance.
  • Get to the point faster. Start right off by mentioning your partner or your love rather than easing into it.
  • Remove sentences that ramble. Reread each one – if a thought seems disjointed or tangled, rewrite it to be clearer and more concise.
  • Stick to highlights. Keep the funniest joke, romantic moments, and first, “I love you.” Pick impactful details only.

Need to make your vows longer?

  • Make personal promises. Assure your devotion, fidelity, and support in sickness and health – these traditional vow elements take up meaningful space.
  • Describe your feelings. Explain with vivid sensory details how your partner makes you feel – use poetic language to evoke emotions.
  • Add hopes for the future. Share dreams like starting a family, traveling the world, growing old together – envision your lives to come.
  • List favorite things. Tell what you admire and cherish most about your partner, from quirks to passions to acts of kindness.

Exchanging Different Length Vows

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Now that you have written and perfected your personal vows, you may wonder how to say them. The order should be your short vows followed by long vows.

Your short vows make the way and set the tone of your vows which express your love and feelings. Note that you may have emotional moments if you have included intricate and intimate details of your relationship in your vows.

If you are worried about sobbing, know that it is perfectly okay. It only means that what you are saying is honest and heartfelt. Remember that the more you practice saying your vows, the easier it will be to read them, even if you start tearing up.


Many weddings opt for the traditional mismatched wedding vows. But you can do something different.

Instead of having short or long wedding vows , go for one short and one long – or a wedding vow poem. That way, you can express your true feelings without feeling like you have to hurry.

Also, remember to match your vows to the depth and history of your relationship. They should not sound like you’ve copied them or you are saying them for the sake.

Even your wedding guests will feel inspired if your vows communicate your story and deepest emotions.

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