Typically, when wedding planning articles are written, they consist of things like how to budget, where to get vendors at a great rate, how to choose the best dresses—you know, things like that. But when it comes to the actual wedding ceremony, the most important part is the wedding vows that you and yours recite.

For the most part, you have one of two options. You can go with saying traditional marriage vows or you can opt to say something that is a bit more personal.

How can you figure out which works best for you? Good question.

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Traditional Wedding Vows

Basic Protestant Vows

“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

Formal. Straight to the point. Serious.

We’ll give you that. But there is something that is extremely significant about going this route while stating your vows: You’re actually vowing something.

Your wedding day is a day of celebration. It is also the moment when you and your fiancé make a very life-altering commitment to one another. That’s nothing to take lightly.

The beauty in exchanging traditional wedding vows is you’re both able to have a moment to be sober-minded about the decision both of you have made. You’re not just getting married because you’re in love. You’re getting married because, for the rest of your life, you are choosing to share your world, come what may, with your partner. Traditional wedding vows remind you of this very fact.

Plus, if you want to have a very short wedding ceremony or one (or both) of you are shy, saying traditional wedding vows can meet both of those needs.

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Image via Ruffled Blog

Personal Wedding Vows

Fun. Enlightening. Creative.

The wonderful thing about personal wedding vows is it gives you the opportunity to customize what you want to say to each other. That can make exchanging vows very special for the two of you and super-enlightening for your guests. It’s a great way to add in details about your relationship; ones that people wouldn’t know about any other way.

The thing that you should be careful of, should you choose to go this route, is some couples end up sharing sentiments more than vowing anything. Again, your wedding day is about making a serious commitment; it’s about making promises to the one you love and them doing the same. So, if you are going to share personal wedding vows, make sure that you incorporate some “I promise to…” lines in them.

modest wedding dress with long sleeves from alta moda. --(modest bridal gowns)---

Image via Alta Moda Bridal

How to Create Personal Wedding Vows

How do you go about the process of creating personal wedding vows? There are a few key points to remember.

Interview each other. This isn’t as hard as it might initially sound. All we’re saying is it’s a good idea to ask each other some questions and allow that to be the starting point for creating your vows. Things like what you love most about each other, what your first (or best) memories are and what you look forward to sharing in the future. Things that bring clarity to why you are each other’s person.

Talk about what you want to promise. A promise is “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one”. You don’t want to make the assumption that both of you are going to make the same declarations once you’re in front of your family members and friends. Just so you’re sure that you’re on the same page, discuss what you want to promise each other beforehand.

Don’t be shy. While you do need to be conscious of the fact that your mothers are going to be present for whatever you’re going to talk about, don’t be afraid to add some of your own personality, to tell a joke or two or to share a story very few know. The best love songs are filled with honesty. So are the best wedding vows.

Time yourselves. When you’re in love, it’s easy to go all day long explaining why. But your wedding is not the time to do that (use it for your honeymoon instead!). It’s understandable if you want your vows to be a surprise, even for your soon-to-be spouse. But make sure that you at least time yourself. And then times it by two. That will give you a good idea of how long the both of you will be saying your vows. (5-7 minutes total is a good range.)

If after reading all of this, you’re still on the fence about whether you want to do traditional or personal vows, a happy medium can be to incorporate both. If you decide this, just make sure to give your wedding planner and officiant a heads up so that they both can be factored into the timing of the ceremony. And know that, whatever you decide to do, it will be beautiful to say—and to hear. No matter what.