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Of all the things that go into creating a wedding day–the guest list, the invitations, the sparklers for a celebratory send-off–the vows are the only things that actually make a marriage. Your vows are your chance to declare to your world the things that you will honor in your marriage, and the things that you will abide by for the rest of your life. What an amazing opportunity, y’all!

If you’ve decided to write personal wedding vows, we’d love to share our step-by-step process with you today. And BONUS! Sign up for our newsletter here to be sent nine of our favorite romantic and meaningful vow examples–a perfect jumping off point as you’re looking for inspiration!

P.S. Does this advice resonate with you? You’ll LOVE the Southern Weddings Planner!

Our Vows Booklet Set: the perfect place to record your vows for posterity, and read from during your ceremony!

Get inspired. As early as you’d like, start a repository of inspiration for your vows–virtual (like Google Docs) or physical (like a notebook). And remember, inspiration can be everywhere: weddings you attend; wedding magazines, blogs, or films; books you read; songs you hear; lines of scripture. If a sentiment, line, or phrase resonates with you, jot it down–don’t worry about editing at this point.

Mine your past. If you are lucky enough to have love letters (or emails or texts–this is the twenty-first century!) you’ve written each other over the years, break them out! They can be a great source of inspiration, and a wonderful way to include parts of your past in your future.

Set parameters. Decide whether you’ll jointly write one set of vows that you’ll both recite, or if you’ll each write individual vows. If you’re writing individual vows, consider setting up basic guidelines so they aren’t wildly different: perhaps they’ll both last 30 seconds or a minute, or they’ll both take the form of promises, or they’ll both include an anecdote from your past.

Start early. These are lifelong promises, not something to be jotted down the night before the wedding (or, God forbid, the morning of). About a month before the big day is a good time to sort your inspiration and begin a draft. Your groom might need a little prodding to get going–be gentle.

Write a draft. Block out a space of time when you don’t have other commitments or things weighing on your mind, and begin sifting through your inspiration. Pull out the best pieces, and begin forming them into a coherent whole. Add and subtract, write and rewrite until you’re happy with what you have.

Revisit your draft. Set your draft aside for a few days, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Make sure your words sound like YOU, not like what you think vows should sound like.

Try it out loud. Make sure the words and sentences flow well and that there aren’t any tongue twisters. Adjust awkward lines. Be sure to time yourself to make sure you’re not running too long. And when in doubt, cut it out: short and sweet is almost always preferable to directionless rambling. Pick the most important points and make them well.

Take it seriously. Personal vows can be funny and sweet and touching and, well, personal. But they’re also made up of the things you are vowing to abide by for the rest of your marriage. That is no small thing, and it deserves your time, attention, and seriousness.

Ensure a smooth delivery. Whether or not you plan to memorize your vows, make sure you write out at least two copies for your big day. Put one in our vows booklet set for posterity and for reading from during your ceremony, and give a back-up copy on an index card to your officiant or maid of honor.

Don’t forget to download our library of vow inspiration by signing up here!

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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As we talked about how we wanted to frame our Christmas giveaways this year, we really wanted to focus them on experiences. We wanted to give you the gift of time, because we know the engagement period can be stressful and chaotic! (As well as joyful and exciting!) Today’s giveaway is possibly the most direct representation of that: we’re taking tasks off your plate with the addition of a literal extra pair of hands! :)

TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery and handyman work — AND WEDDING TO DOS! Whee! Our TaskRabbit friends sent over a few real-life examples from past wedding clients to get your wheels turning:

— We’re having a polo game at our wedding and we need two people to work as flaggers for the event. A flagger is someone who waves a flag when a goal is made.
— Tie ribbons on a small cardboard box for 500 guests.
— I need some help hanging handmade dream catchers from tree branches for my wedding.
— Need you to purchase a *HUGE* teddy bear from Cosco and then drive it 2 hours upstate to a wedding venue. Please make sure you have space in the car for the teddy bear.
— Write all my 300+ thank you cards before my wife realizes I still haven’t done them…
— Our dog sitter bailed last minute! We are getting married in 2 hours and need someone to stay with our dog for 5 hours tonight.
— Wedding proposal setup, need someone to be a photographer to capture the whole thing and the other to help me carry table, chairs, flowers, food, wine to a remote location – about 3/4 mile hike. Bring your hiking game. Need one person to stay with setup until we arrive on hike. Please hide when you see us.
— Need a male, attractive bartender (minimal to no bartending skills needed, must be able to lift 7lbs) to dress in a tux or sharp suit and issue compliments to bride and guests from 11am-1:30pm.
— Need someone to help bride and groom at wedding ceremony as a personal secretary. Must be well-dressed in a suit and tie.

Fun, right? :)

Win: $150 TaskRabbit credit

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One winner will be drawn on December 19!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Christian Melvin reply

    Oh, it would definitely would be used for reception setup the morning of the wedding so I wouldn’t have to ask so many family members to work! What a great service!

  2. avatar Ashley Balerna reply

    I would love to hire a cleaner to come to my apartment before I leave for my wedding so I can come back to a clean home!

  3. avatar Kimberly reply

    We are getting ready to move, so I can think of a million things Task Rabbit could help me with. Like dropping things off at the thrift store!

  4. avatar Carly Griesel reply

    I’d use Task Rabbit to help me set up my floral arrangements!

  5. avatar Laura reply


    I participate to win the price

    Merry Christmas <3

  6. avatar Olivia reply

    I would use my TaskRabbit gift card to have someone help me make jam. We’re making homemade strawberry jam for my welcome bags for my wedding!

  7. avatar Lindsey Eickman reply

    i would use a task rabbit gift card for wedding planning items like Drivers for our own valet!

  8. avatar Lindy reply

    Help me install an Elfa Pantry organizer that’s been sitting in my house for A YEAR! (Embarrassed!)

  9. avatar Casey reply

    Oh, I could definitely use some help with cleaning the house!

  10. avatar ashley e reply

    This is so great. Honestly, someone to deep clean the house! And freshen up the yard!

  11. avatar BarbaraMae reply

    Oh SO many things! We really need someone to staff the DIY photo booth and Task Rabbit would be a great help!

  12. avatar Gary Iverson reply

    I’d use task rabbit to help deliver furniture.

  13. avatar molli taylor reply

    i would hire someone to do our grocery shopping

  14. avatar Megan S reply

    I’d use it for help moving!

  15. avatar Summer reply

    I’d definitely use it to help me clean up our apartment!

  16. avatar shannon fowler reply

    We might be moving soon, and we just moved a couple of months ago. If so Id use it to hire someone to help pack boxes.

  17. avatar Leah H. reply

    Definitely cleaning our apartment!

  18. avatar Jessica McElroy reply

    This would be great for me while I am planning the last minute details and looking for help for my wedding in Savannah GA

  19. avatar Sarah Johnson reply

    I’d gift it to a newly engaged friend!

  20. avatar Ashley Moody reply

    What a cool prize! I would use it to assist our brides with small tasks.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

First of all, I can hardly believe that my and Rob’s wedding day is just over four months away! The last few weeks have flown by, and I know the holiday season is going to make the next several weeks especially exciting and bustling. It’s really sinking in that in just a couple months, Rob is going to be my husband… and that makes me happier than anything! We have researched, talked with, and booked most all of our vendors already, and the big picture items are really coming together. Knowing and envisioning exactly who we’ll be working with on our wedding day, seeing the design of it all come together, and talking through and dreaming up the details to make our day meaningful and so perfectly “us” makes our wedding feel more and more real.

Photo on left by Jose Villa

Since we have a shorter engagement, at the very top of my priority list was finding a wedding dress. I’d say that this task was one of the only things that made me question a six-month engagement, as it can often take six months or longer to receive your wedding dress from the designer, not including alterations and fittings. As soon as we got engaged and settled on our venue and date, I knew I didn’t have any time to delay in going dress shopping. And goodness was I excited!! I have to admit that I have dreamed of going wedding dress shopping almost my entire life, and it was surreal to think that it was finally my turn to be the bride! I’ve been in the wedding industry for years, have helped countless friends and clients select a wedding gown, and have browsed many shops and boutiques for editorial shoots, but it was a total “pinch-me” moment knowing that I got to be the one trying on gorgeous gowns – and for our wedding!

I’ve known for many, many years that I didn’t want a large group at my wedding gown appointment. I have eleven fabulous bridesmaids whom I love dearly, but I’ve always wanted to go dress shopping with just my darling mom and my sister (also my matron of honor!). The three of us are incredibly close. But, since I needed to get dress shopping right away, and since my sister lives in New York City, we decided to make-do with Facetiming her during my first bridal appointment. She was certainly with us in spirit! My mom, however, drove into town the week after our engagement to take me dress shopping; I was ecstatic to finally see her in person, show her my ring, and get shopping.

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings

We ended up going to only one boutique in Raleigh, but we went there twice over the course of two weeks. I thought I found “the dress” at our first appointment (the second dress I ever tried on), and was about to place the order when I decided that I wanted to sleep on it. It turns out that I “slept on it” for over a week without giving the dress much thought, other than that it didn’t feel very “me.”

Two weeks after my first appointment, all of our parents were in town to meet and to celebrate our engagement. My dad was especially insistent that I needed to go try on dresses again that weekend, as I know he knew the pressure of finding a dress and getting it in time for our wedding. This time, I brought my mom and Rob’s mom with me to our appointment. I am so glad I had both moms with me, and it was an incredibly sweet morning with the two of them! The night before our appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first dress I had tried on two weeks prior. It turns out, that dress was the only dress I tried on at our second appointment, and it was THE dress!!

Vera Wang gown photo by Tim Will from Rachel and Daniel’s wedding

As soon as I tried it on again, I literally could not stop beaming! And I mean, beaming. Seeing it and feeling it on me felt so perfect. When we Facetimed my sister to show her again, all four of us were in tears (all happy tears!). It was the perfect bridal moment, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually experience, and it was so, so sweet and surreal. We were all so certain that this was the one, and I loved the excitement and happiness felt by three of the most important women in my life! And I felt utterly like a bride and beautiful.

Photo by Katie Stoops from our Generations Past editorial

I don’t want to divulge too much about my dress, as I want Rob to be completely and totally surprised on our wedding day! I have also decided, as my sister did for her wedding, not to show anyone my dress or bridal look until our wedding day. I think this is going to be one of the hardest parts about wedding planning (ha!), as I tend to share everything with all of my friends, but I’m determined to keep my dress and its details a complete secret. I can’t wait for that sweet moment when my bridesmaids, and then my dad, and then my groom (eee!) see me for the first time!!

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray from Lisa’s wedding!

Though I’m not revealing anything about the exact gown I settled on, I’ve sprinkled a few of the stunning gowns that I brought along with me for inspiration to our appointment! You can see that I love romantic, feminine gowns with a pop of something unexpected. I’m not generally drawn to strapless gowns, nor do I particularly think mermaid or curve-hugging dresses look great on me. I love beautiful details, am naturally drawn to particular fabrics, and think the dress that I chose is better than I ever imagined. My dress is being custom built (!!!), so it’ll be especially unique, which I adore!

How was the process of trying on dresses for you, or what are you most looking forward to? I honestly never thought I’d find a dress I was absolutely smitten with and that would fit me perfectly, but the entire process was even more fun and special that I thought it could ever be! I loved feeling like a bride, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it even more come April 1st!

Past posts:
The proposal
Venue + photography

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: