7 Things You Definitely Need to Avoid Mentioning in Your Vows

Don't make it weird.
Couple reciting vows during wedding ceremony
Bread and Butter Productions/Getty Images
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Aug 03, 2022

Writing your own vows is an emotional journey. If you're opting to forgo prewritten words in favor of making your own, you have free rein to say, well, just about whatever you want when you're standing up on the altar. Some might want to make their sentiments heartwarming and emotional, because, after all, you are preparing to spend the rest of your life with the person you love most. Of course, depending on your personality type, you may prefer to lighten the mood and crack a few jokes instead of being super-serious during your vow swap. Regardless of what suits you and your relationship best, writing your wedding vows should be fun—but there are some things you definitely need to steer clear from while penning your promises to your partner.

Although nearly anything goes when it comes to your wedding vows, some things are better left unsaid. Not only are certain topics inappropriate for weddings, they may make the vibe of your ceremony weird, even if you don't intend for it to come off that way. Don't sweat it, though; To help you avoid this awkward wedding moment, we've rounded up the seven things you should definitely avoid mentioning in your wedding vows. (Thank us later.)

Breakups or Rough Patches

Maybe you took a quick break years ago, only to reconcile a few months later. It happens! That said, don't feel like you need to mention it in your vows. It's borderline awkward, and the bottom line is that your vows are about the future… not the past. It's okay to reference the storms or challenges you've weathered together, but don't focus too much energy or time on the difficult moments of your relationship. Instead, make it about the beauty and excitement of what's to come.

Exes

Just don't go there. Although it's likely a no-brainer, we're here to remind you that mentions of previous relationships are strictly off-limits. No amount of sarcasm or humor will make this topic any less uncomfortable, especially during a wedding ceremony. Your big day is about you and your partner alone, so leave it at that.

Raunchy Stories

It should go without saying, but keep the suggestive innuendos to a minimum. Your physical attraction to each other might be a significant part of your relationship, but a vague allusion to specific body parts or stories might make everyone from your parents and in-laws to your nieces and nephews uncomfortable. Do your guests a favor and save those thoughts for your private time…like on your wedding night. (Wink.)

Too Many Inside Jokes

It's totally okay to sprinkle a few inside jokes here and there—after all, your vows are written for each other, not the rest of the room. But if you spend too much time talking in your own secret language, you'll lose the attention of your guests. Try to keep it as coherent as possible for the sake of keeping your friends and family engaged (and likely, extremely moved) by what you're saying.

Personal Jabs

Maybe it drives you crazy when your partner's socks only make it next to the laundry basket instead of inside it—but there's a proper time and place to address that concern, and it's not in your wedding vows. Avoid making sensitive jokes at the expense of your partner, even if you mean it in a light-hearted way. Such sentiments can come off as a little too personal or targeted, particularly during your wedding ceremony. After all, the last thing you want to do is embarrass them during such an important moment of the day. While we do encourage you to include a few jokes if you'd like, err on the side of caution and leave out anything that can come across as mean or deprecating.

Jokes About Other Friends or Family Members

In the same vein, don't make any jokes about friends or family members in your wedding vows too. It's not cool to single someone out in front of a crowd, so just avoid it altogether. You may want to give a shoutout to a loved one (like a sibling or a friend who set you two up), but make it short and sweet. Your wedding vows are meant to be about you and your S.O., so keep it that way.

Detailed Stories

There are tons of stories you just love about your partner and your relationship, and you probably want to shout them from the rooftops. While we definitely encourage you to include some favorite memories or anecdotes, be conscious of how long your vows are. Sharing lengthy stories or irrelevant details may lose the attention of your guests, which is the last thing you want. Just like wedding toasts should be short and succinct, the same is true of vows too. Save the heartfelt details for your wedding cards to each other, and keep your vows to two or three minutes—your guests will love you for it.

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