So you want to write your own vows, but have no idea where to start. Here's some quick advice for crafting the perfect piece of prose.

Avoid cliches: If your plan is to recite famous quotes, just stick with the traditional wedding vows. When in doubt, keep it original or play it safe.

Ask your officiant: Make sure personalized vows are allowed before you start hammering out drafts. Not all churches or officiants will give the go-ahead to stray from tradition.

Find a balance: They're present to support you, so let your guests in on the fun and avoid mentioning too many inside jokes or memories. Keep things personal, of course, but save anything that's totally between you and your groom for a pre-ceremony note.

Practice: It's fine to carry notes to the altar. But if you're set on reciting your vows from heart, make sure you've got them memorized. You'll be excited enough on the wedding day-don't make things stressful by waiting to prepare at the last minute.

Keep it short: Less than two minutes each is an ideal amount of time for your vows. After all, there's a kiss waiting. If all of the above sounds too daunting, just stick with the traditional exchange-it's the route taken by the majority of couples.