With over one-third of couples writing their own wedding vows, it’s something you and your partner should consider. If you’re not the best at writing your deepest feelings (who is?) you might need a wedding vows template to help get you started—and that’s totally okay. Using guidelines for your wedding vow structure isn’t cheating—it’s just helping you organize your thoughts in an effective way, so that you’ll be comfortable and confident in front your family members and friends on the big day.

Check out our easy, five-step wedding vows template to get started creating something meaningful and personal for your ceremony.

Create a Personalized Plan

**Talk to your officiant.**Get the green light from your officiant to personalize your own vows. (Some houses of worship require you to recite traditional vows.)

  • **Set expectations by asking your partner the following questions:**Will you write your vows together? Will you share your written words with each other before the wedding day? Is there an ideal length for your vows? Is there anything too personal that you don’t want to be shared in public?
  • **Decide on any religious references.**If your spiritual leanings are loosely defined, or if the two of you were raised in different faiths, have a soul-searching discussion with your fiance at least one month before the wedding to talk about what brings meaning to your life and how best to incorporate those ideals into your vows.

Get Inspired

**Exchange love letters (yes, love letters) with your fiancé beforehand.**It may sound cheesy, but exchanging sentimental notes of appreciation will strengthen your bond and help get those creative juices flowing. Keep a copy of the letter you write, and reread both notes when starting to compose your vows.

  • **Revisit your relationship.**Look at souvenirs from early first dates, return to locations or landmarks of importance, and flip through photos to stir up old memories.
  • **Recall details from other weddings.**Consider weddings you've attended as a guest and recall the exchange of vows—what elements did you like the best? What details made you cringe? Take these learnings and adapt them for your own unforgettable ceremony.

Start Writing

**Keep the words positive and personal.**There’s no need to relate the storms you two have weathered. Also, avoid words or phrases you wouldn’t normally use—don’t just pick a passage to quote because it sounds eloquent.

  • **Consider meaningful quotes or passages.**Insert a beloved passage from a favorite children’s book or lullaby, if that's your thing.
  • **Bounce ideas off friends, relatives, and your officiant.**If you’re nervous about the words you’ve written, get honest feedback from a trusted friend or brutally honest family member.

Prepare for the Ceremony

**Practice your vows.**In the days leading up to your wedding, look into the mirror and recite the vows aloud. Take it slow; this will help your voice resonate. Familiarity with your vows will inspire confidence.

  • **Reading your vows off your phone is a definite no-no. Instead, write down a final version of your vows in a vow book for safekeeping, and do your best to commit those words to memory before saying "I do."**Have your maid of honor carry a copy to the altar in case nerves leave you tongue-tied.