Experts weigh in on the rules around ceremony personalization.

By Courtney Leiva
May 07, 2019
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Credit: Molly Carr

Personalized wedding vows can be a pretty difficult concept to navigate-after all, there's really no one right way for them to be done. In recent years it's become especially popular for brides and grooms to write their own vows, and though you should certainly feel encouraged to go that route if you want to, expert say there are a few things you should keep in mind. One important question you might have: If one partner is penning custom vows, does the other partner have to do so, too?

Like most wedding-related questions, you should do what feels right for you. Here, some advice that will help you make a final decision about whether or not to write custom vows when one partner wants to and the other doesn't.

Make Your Vow Decisions Together

"This should not be individual decision, but rather one that should be discussed together," says Michelle Leo Cousins, owner of Michelle Leo Events. Not everyone is a talented writer, she explains, which is why the thought of writing something of such significance is intimidating to some people. One partner should never decide for both that they'll exchange custom vows. Discuss it as a couple and come up with the decision that makes the most sense for you two-if that means one person recites custom vows while the other goes the traditional route, that's entirely fine (as long as you two are happy with it, of course).

Consider Whether or Not You Want Your Vows to Feel Balanced

"The vows are a place where both partners should match each other," suggests expert wedding planner Shannon Leahy. If one person writes custom promises, she says, then the other should, too. If one doesn't want to, then neither should-more often than not it feels too unbalanced.

Vows Should Be Made Together

Some experts feel that wedding vows should be a team effort. "Vows should be something you do together," says Mallory Layton, a planner at Michelle Leo Events. Layton says that if only one partner wants to write custom vows, she would suggest sharing those sentiments privately in a letter instead. Leahy agrees, adding, "If you really want to share vows and your partner does not, consider sharing them privately in writing or reading them together at the altar." You could also toast your partner at the reception, she suggests.

Remember That You're in Control of How Your Special Day Should Flow

"Couples need to remember that this is their special day and that they are able to decide how the ceremony should go," says Jesse Tombs of Alison Events. "You should do what feels right in the moment and do what will make your wedding most memorable and special." If that means one partner writes personalized vows and the other doesn't, go for it.


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