When you want a wedding to remember, one of the best things you can do is write personalized wedding vows to surprise your betrothed. After all, this is a special day. Putting your personal flair on your wedding is truly the best way to make your wedding shine.

While some people have no problem waxing poetic about their significant other, many more people find it difficult to write their vows before the big day. You might find yourself facing down nerves, excitement, and more than a little fear as you sit down with pen in hand.

If you’re one of the many people preparing to write their vows, try following these rules to make the process fruitful.

1. Know the structure of your vows

Just like you would outline an essay back in high school, structuring your vows is an essential first step to the creative process. This way, you can be sure you touch on the most important, unique aspects of your relationship.

Start by knowing that your vows should only be about 150 words in length, or around one minute long. While this number might seem long in theory, keep in mind that a stenographer typically writes 225 per minute. In the grand scheme of things, 150 words is a manageable length that will ensure you’re not boring the audience in the process. 

2. Set a date of completion

Setting a date that your vows need to be completed by is a great way to jumpstart the creative process. Select a date a few days out for your wedding to ensure you’ll get them done on time, even if you don’t write until the very last second. When you know a deadline is approaching, it can result in a healthy amount of positive stress to get you writing.

For those who have no problem writing pages and pages of vows, selecting a completion date can help here too. It might be tempting to rewrite your vows over and over again when you want to get them just right. Unfortunately, there comes a time when you have to stop tweaking your vows and make a decision.

3. Culminate memories for inspiration

The best way to write vulnerable, heart-warming vows is by surrounding yourself with memories and trinkets as you write. You might be able to garner memories by looking through a photo album. Other couples will spend a night reminiscing about their favorite days spent together. No matter how you manage to think of happy memories with your betrothed, reminding yourself about these wonderful times will help inspire you to write from the deepest place in your heart.

Keep in mind that sometimes the bad memories can be just as good as the heart-warming ones. Tiny arguments, bad vacations, and a few bouts of back pain might inspire a funny story down the line. Since 80% of Americans are expected to experience back pain at some point in their lives, the bad stuff can fuel just as many vows and stories as the good stuff.

4. Let the venue inspire you

It’s common for a couple to choose a wedding venue or location that holds a special place in their hearts. If you’re stuck for ideas on writing your vows, let your venue do the talking. Ask yourselves questions like, what brought us to this location? Or why does it mean so much to get married to you here?

Venues have become so intrinsic to the marital process that some couples have even opted for Pokemon-inspired weddings. The wedding is accompanied by a number of life-sized Pikachus who are willing to act as ushers, ring bearers, and more. How can you not mention such a wild display in your vows?

5. Focus on the future

If you’re stuck writing about your favorite memories from the past, why not focus on the future? After all, vows are designed to express what you will do for your partner, in sickness and in health. Sticking to the classic route of hopes and dreams for your future is the best way to start married life together.

There are a number of ways you can write your vows, but only you and your partner will know what truly matters to you. Rely on these tips to write your vows, but always trust your gut. When you’re truly happy with your partner, vows aren’t nearly as important as enjoying the special day together.