should you write vows or letters for your wedding day

What is the difference between private letters and vows?

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a couple and they were asking about the difference between private letters and vows. I hadn’t really taken much time to think about this, so I decided to write a post about it!

What are private letters? Letters are typically read separately (although you can read them to each other) prior to seeing each other on the wedding day.

What are vows? Vows are read aloud during your ceremony. While you can use typical vows, many couples choose to write their own vows.

The Haven Event Space wedding
The Haven Event Space wedding

What’s included in letters and vows on the wedding day:


  • Stories from the past, for example how you met and your feelings towards each other throughout your relationship.
  • Personal stories you might not want to share in front of everyone.
  • Your thoughts leading up to the wedding day.


  • Promises for the future
  • Funny anecdotes relating to your promises
The Hawthorne House wedding in Kansas City
The Hawthorne House wedding in Kansas City

Should we write letters and/or vows?

Letters are often more personal and heartfelt than vows. Most couples will get emotional reading about the past. Vows can come in so many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes the vows will be filled with jokes and funny promises, for example: I promise to give you back scratches whenever you want. Sometimes vows will be taken from your officiant or Google (nothing wrong with that).

It’s not necessarily important to do both, but it is important to do one or the other. Some couples will elect just to write letters if they are having a Catholic ceremony or if they feel uncomfortable speaking in front of all their guests.

When it comes to your wedding video, it’s always important to have some audio directly from you. That way your video will feel much more personal and unique to your day.

Kansas City wedding photographer

Should we do both?

That is completely up to you. If you choose to write letters and personalized vows, your video will have so many amazing bits of audio for us to choose from when telling your story.

If you choose only one, choose the one that best fits your personality. If you are less emotional and more into joke-telling, vows might be the best choice. If you are awkward in front of people or want to have a private heartfelt moment, choose letters!

Mission Theatre wedding
Mission Theatre wedding

Should we do letters separately or together?

Once again, it’s totally up to you. Some couples choose to read their letters to each other during their first look. Others want to have a private moment separately. It can be very impactful when you are staring at the person you love and reading your letter, but it can also lead to more nerves and even more emotions. Choose the one that fits your vibe the best or do both! You can still include vows in your letters if you choose not to have personalized vows. There is no right or wrong choice. Your letter is all about you, so make the decision that fits you the best!

The Haven Event Space wedding

Check out these videos below to see how past couples have incorporated letters and/or vows into their wedding days!

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