Writing your own vows is one of those DIY projects that seems like a great idea at the beginning of your engagement but can feel more like a never ending essay exam by the end. If you like the idea, but aren't sure how to go about doing it, the editors of The Knot have some ways to help you prepare for writing your own vows. They shared them in our Wedding Resource Guide, and we have a preview for you here.

Prep Step A: Get clearance

Make sure your officiant will accept personalized vows. Catholic and Episcopal congregations, for instance, may require you to recite all or part of the traditional vows, though in most cases that’s left to the officiant’s discretion. Remember: Even the most accommodating officiant will want to review your words in advance.

Prep Step B: Make a plan

You need to tackle the logistics to make sure you and your fiance are both on the same page: Are you each going to write your own, or will you write them together? Will you show them to each other before the ceremony?

Knot Note: If you’re feeling shy, opt to write your vows together and even recite the exact same promises. If there’s more you wish to say, privately, say it in the cards you exchange on the day of your wedding or on your honeymoon.

Prep Step C: Create your outline

An outline can help to establish a structure that you both stick to. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiance is, then about how great you are as a couple, then about what you’re vowing to each other.

Prep Step D: Find your voice

What overall tone do you want: Humorous and touching? Poetic and mushy? It’s your call — the most important thing is that your vows ring true and sound like they’re from your heart.

Prep Step E: Cut it down

Finally, pick a length and stick to it by keeping the mantra pithy and to the point in mind — anything longer than a minute or so, and no matter how gorgeous your prose, the audience will start to squirm.

Want more advice on how to do this? Visit our Wedding Resource Guide and get writing prompts from The Knot. While you're there, don't forget to check out our other great advice articles and Ask the Expert section.

Photo Credit: Studio Atticus