As you’ve probably realized by now, I am a writer. Most writers don’t call themselves writers because they fear the questioning that may ensue. “Like, you write books?” Maybe, well one day. I mean, kind of…No. See? It get’s complicated.

When Zach and I began dating, I kept a journal about our relationship in hopes that it might be the final one (must’ve been a good omen). It evolved into love letters as we got engaged and began planning our lives together. On our wedding day, I gave it to him as a gift. His tears made every passage worth it.

I don’t advise you keep a journal for everyone you date. If I had done that, I would’ve wasted over 5 years of my life writing about men that would ultimately disappoint me.

The morning of my wedding, I began writing my vows.

Some might call me reckless, but I’m pretty sure it was the best mistake I ever made. I spent the majority of my morning focusing on the why of the day rather than the day itself.

It was crunch time. I had to recite the most important vow of my life in front of hundreds of people in less than nine hours. So Meredith, one of my bridesmaids, ran the bathwater and locked me in. It was time to focus on all of the reasons I had made this decision in the first place.

Reciting my personal vows in our ceremony was one of the highlights for me. There I was, telling 300 people all of the things I promised to do for the rest of my life. I’m not exactly a private person, but when it comes to feelings, I get uncomfortable. You can blame my upbringing for that. The Brown family didn’t exactly beg to know each other’s feelings.
It surprised me, but publicly vowing the rest of my life to another person was the most liberating thing I’d ever done. We followed up our personal vows with traditional ones, but let me tell you, they didn’t feel the same. I understand not everyone is a writer, but trust me: love brings out the creative in all of us. So give it a try.

Here are some wedding vow ideas for anyone that wants to write their own vows.

Write over time. Some days you’re extra inspired by your fiancé, and some days you’re beyond frustrated. Write during these times when you feel most expressive, and take advantage of the highs and lows of love.

Don’t just talk about rainbows. Anyone that knows anything knows that love is hard work, and it takes a lot of growing to have a successful marriage. Filling your vows with unrealistic viewpoints will only undermine them.

Make it personal. You know where you struggle, and you know where you soar. These vows are about you and your fiancé, not any other couple in the world. No need to include a bunch of irrelevant metaphors.

Get inspired. Whether you read about lovers that came before you, or listen to a song about the love you desire, it’s ok to borrow inspiration. I read countless quotes on love while I was writing, and they led me to ideas I wouldn’t have come to alone.

Be specific. The more details you have, the better. Try taking common lines a step further by tailoring them to your relationship. Example: “I’ll always be here” turns into “I promise to stay when all I want to do is run away.”