Wedding or marriage vows originated back in the time of Roman Empire, and since then they have been evolving and deviating by religions, traditions, location, etc. Despite all the changes, there is something essential in the wedding promises that did last out – they are special words uniting the couples and representing their mutual commitment. That is why finding a perfect word for your marriage is extremely important. So, take your time and go through these 12 wedding vows inspirations we’ve prepared for you!
This starts with asking the right question: “What wedding vow style is right for me?”
Many couples are choosing to write their own vows more frequently these days. However, the vast majority of husbands and wives prefer the guidelines of religious tradition. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing your own vows. But, you have to admit that religion is greatly responsible for formalizing wedding ceremonies. You’ll want to use tradition as a framework for your vows even if you don’t want to follow tradition verbatim.
If you’re not familiar, traditional wedding vows are far from boring. They’re chock full of engaging nuances and entertaining intricacies. Although some religious ceremonies greatly differ from others, all of them share a common thread.
Perhaps you’re planning on a traditional wedding ceremony and need to brush up on the steps and meaning. Or, maybe you’re planning on customizing your own ceremony and want a strong jumping off point. Or, maybe you simply want some inspiration for unique wedding invitation wording. We have you covered either way. So read the post to find out the similarities that span various religions and the beauty they all contribute.
How To Write Wedding Vows
As we’ll see later, there are many variations of wedding vows. Hence, the first thing to consider is planning the delivery. Regardless of how big your audience is, you’ll want to speak these words prominently, passionately, and confidently. As you read the following pages, picture yourself saying these things out loud.
What type of voice will you use?
Will it be soft and sweet, or firm and resolute?
So you don’t have to be nervous about your voice wavering, this is a very passionate moment and it’s normal – even sweet – to choke up a little. But you should make preparations to avoid being too quiet. Thus, work it into your wedding timeline to practice your vows a little bit here and there. Getting used to the words and annunciation will make you familiar and more comfortable for the big day.
What makes a wedding vow traditional without specifying a religion is the overall structure, and this is the second component to plan for. In general, it goes a little something like this.
“I make this irrevocable promise to love you and share life’s adventures with you and only you until the day I die. I promise to be your friend, to raise a family with you, and to ensure that you are happy, healthy, and strong for the rest of our lives.”
It’s that simple.
Many traditions elaborate on this with descriptive words, specific examples, metaphors, and choreographed steps and movements. Your voice is prepared and your vow structure is in the heart. So now you can proceed with time-tested steps that symbolize the connection with God that traditional wedding vows carry.
Protestant Wedding Vows
Protestantism follows many of the Orthodox and Catholic church beliefs and practices. However, it differs by rejecting the authority of the church and pope. It holds god and his word – the bible – above all else. Altogether these subtle differences can be found by comparing Protestant with traditional Christian wedding vows.
“In the presence of God and before our family and friends,
I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [wife/husband].
All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you.
Whatever the future holds, I will love you and stand by you, as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow.”
If your preference is to slightly customize traditional wedding vows, this may be the best blueprint to start. And you’ll find that there’s a little bit more poetic in nature, and lends itself well to elaborate anecdotes, true love quotes, or any other words of love and devotion that sums up your commitment and how you feel.
Steps In The Process
Following tradition requires the vows, but it also follows fairly particular traditions.
The first step in the process is the Welcoming. The particular words vary depending on the denomination, but in general, goes a little something like this:
“We are gathered here today in the presence of God to join this man and this woman in holy marriage.”
“We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of (bride’s name) and (groom’s name) in holy matrimony.”
This is usually followed by the reading of Bible passages and some advice for the bride and groom.
The next important part of the process is the Giving Away. Traditionally, the bride’s father is responsible for protecting and nurturing his daughter. This responsibility is passed along to the groom as part of the contract of marriage. There’s a formality behind the father officially giving his daughter away. More recently, this is sometimes amended to “Who BRINGS this woman..?” to make it seem less possessive.
Next, come the vows that were mentioned above. With the “I DO”s are said, the Ring Exchange happens to seal the deal. They place the bands on each other and proclaim
“With this ring I wed you, and pledge my faithful love.”
A lesser known part of the ceremony is the lighting of the Unity Candles. In some cases, it’s only the bride and groom that light the candles as a symbol of their new union. Likewise, in other cases, the parents join in to symbolize the unity of the family.
Jewish Traditional Wedding Vows
Many Jews choose to fast before the wedding ceremony. This enhances the spirituality of the day and marks it as a day of change in the couple’s lives.
The ceremony itself starts with the bride and groom’s respective parents walk them to the chuppah. Then the groom escorts the bride inside. The Rabbi then offers words of welcome and thanksgiving often from Psalm 118:26 and Psalm 100.
“Blessed are you who come in the name of Adonai”
“May the One who is mighty and blessed above all bless the groom and the bride”.
The next common part of the ceremony involves 7 circles. There are 7 days to the week. There are 7 aliyot on Shabbat. “When the man takes the wife” appears in the bible 7 times. The Torahs are carried around the synagogue 7 times on Simchat Torah. So, it’s only natural that the bride enters the 7 spheres of her husband’s innermost being by circling him 7 times.
Throughout the process, there are blessings, wine, readings, and the exchange of rings. After this first phase, we move on to the – you guessed it – 7 blessings.
The second cup of wine meaningfully represents the first blessing, followed by these recitals:
“We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of all things for Your glory.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of man and woman.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates us to share with You in life’s everlasting renewal.
We praise You, Adonai our God, who causes Zion to rejoice in her children’s happy return.
We praise You, Adonai our God, who causes loving companions to rejoice. May these loving companions rejoice as have Your creatures since the days of Creation.”
We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of joy and gladness, friends and lovers, love and kinship, peace and friendship. O God, may there always be heard in the cities of Israel and in the streets of Jerusalem: the sounds of joy and happiness, the voice of loving couples, the shouts of young people celebrating, and the songs of children at play. We praise you, Adonai our God, who causes lovers to rejoice together.
The quintessential breaking of the glass concludes the ceremony. This symbolizes the vows of many other familiar ceremonies such as loving each other in sickness and in health. It relates to the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and teaches acts of goodness can repair the world once again.
These traditions are perfect for same-sex and other modern couples. They manage to simultaneously epitomize the sanctity of marriage while being flexible enough to adapt it to many non-traditional families.
Example Of Catholic Wedding Vows
This is the ceremony that we all recognize through movies. Traditional Catholic weddings showcase the Introductory Rites, Liturgy Of The Word, Rite Of Marriage, Exchange Of Rings, and Mass.
What this means in plain English is an opening prayer and asking for God’s blessing on the couple’s wedding day. Biblical passage readings are followed by a sermon from the priest about the sacrament. Then, in front of a standing audience, the couple recites their vows:
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”
After the big “I Do” the wedding bands are handed to the priest for blessing who hands them back to the couple. As they place thing rings on each other’s fingers they speak “I take this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Eastern Orthodox Vows For Wedding
For Eastern Orthodox, like many other religions, marriage is an essential Sacrament. The variation that stands out here is the placement of crowns on the bride and groom’s heads. During the crowning the following prayer is recited 3 times:
“The servant of God, (groom’s name), is crowned to the handmaid of God, (bride’s name), in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
This proclaims them as the king and queen of their family and demonstrates truly equal responsibility and privilege. This is slightly out of the ordinary, but what’s even more unique is whose authority the marriage is sealed. In most other cases, it’s the state or the authority vested in the Officiary that renders the marriage official. With Eastern Orthodox, it’s God himself that finalizes the contract.
Untraditional weddings are likely to be attracted to the balance of power that this traditional ceremony brings. Modern families know that marriages are partnerships and not – like history would have you believe – the transfer of property.
Hindu Traditional Wedding Vows
Westerners who aren’t very familiar with outside cultures will absolutely adore Hindu traditions. Possibly the oldest religion still practiced today (3000 B.C.) Hinduism celebrates weddings as one of the most sacred rites.
Unlike Western weddings focusing on the union of man and woman, Hindu weddings celebrate the formal coming together of 2 families. As a matter of fact, this can take several days to complete.
Many ceremonies begin with the invocation of Lord Ganesh in order to remove any obstacles from the wedding. With the coast clear, the groom and his party arrive to the warm welcome of the bride’s friends and family. He receives a procession of rice, ceremonial dot on the forehead (tilak), a ceremonial lit lamp, and a garland. Following this, blessings are received from each of the 9 planets. After, the bride is escorted to the mandap (wedding canopy) by a brother or uncle. the bride’s parents wash the couple’s feet with water and milk. Then water is poured over the bride’s father’s hands and allowed to trickle down onto the hands of both the bride and groom.
The couple then sits in front of a Holy fire where mantras from the Holy Scriptures are recited. They circle the fire 4 times (traditionally in Sanskrit) and the couple recites seven vows which seal the marriage forever.
With the first step, we will provide for and support each other.
With the second step, we will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength.
With the third step, we will share the worldly possessions.
With the fourth step, we will acquire knowledge, happiness, and peace.
With the fifth step, we will raise strong and virtuous children.
With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.
With the seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other
The fire pit plays a very significant role here. This holy symbol represents purification and sustaining of life. Family members are encouraged to make offerings into the fire as the couple exchanges their vows of duty, love, fidelity, and respect.
Traditional Presbyterian Vows
Presbyterian practices are difficult to write about. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding their exact belief systems due to split between traditional and reform. In fact, the most documentation does not elaborate on the particular beliefs and practices. Rather, they clarify the difference between the 2 models.
When it comes to marriage, Traditional Presbyterian beliefs are that marriage is strictly a Sacrament between man and woman. For the most part, there are very few acceptable reasons for divorce and remarriage. Conversely, Reformers are a little bit more flexible with these matters.
Both iterations follow the same wedding vow structure.
“I, __, take you, __, to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”
The Presbyterian Church (USA) was amongst the first to welcome same-sex marriages. Moreover, they have amended their verbiage to not only include but encourage same-sex couples to adopt the teachings of God.
For same-sex couples who also enjoy a healthy relationship with God, this may be your best bet to get the best of both worlds.
Non-religious Vows Also Can Be Traditional
Non-religious wedding vows can still be traditional. You can have tons of fun creating your own using the examples mentioned on previous pages. Couple these with the best quotes from romantic movies and poetry, readings from the Bible or other Holy books, and an expression of how you genuinely feel on the most special of days.
Remember, as you are writing and reciting your vows, keep the critical structure in mind.
Introduction of everyone involved, and the intention of the day.
State your vows. The core of it includes committing to each other for the rest of your lives.
Include a ceremony, something meaningful that symbolizes how deep-seeded these vows are and what it means to you as a person.
How To Write Non-religious Vows
To get the ideas flowing, we’ve scoured the internet for the best secular vows, and this is our favorite;
“__, I promise to be faithful, supportive, and loyal and to give you my companionship and love throughout all the changes of our life. I vow to bring you happiness, and I will treasure you as my companion. I will celebrate the joys of life with you. I promise to support your dreams and walk beside you offering courage and strength through all endeavors. From this day forward, I will be proud to be your wife/husband and your best friend.”
The ceremony part can be as simple as using two smaller candles to set flame to a larger candle. This would symbolize your two spirits becoming one. Or, it can be as elaborate as a week-long celebration developed by ancient cultures.
The entire process of marriage is exceptionally beautiful. The venues, the gowns, the accessories, the meals; all of these are well worth the fuss. The vows are at the very center of the ceremony and the entire reason that everything else is so important. Practice your vows, get comfortable saying them, and truly feel it in your heart.
The guide below will introduce you to the various vow styles, how to accommodate the time you need along with the rest of your wedding planning, and how to structure them so that they come out absolutely perfect.
1. Traditional Wedding Vows
The best place to start learning about different example wedding vows is traditional promises. The traditional weddings vow structure has had a long-running relationship with the church but has since become non religious wedding vows. There is still a lot of overlap, but they are no longer mutually exclusive. The main separation comes from the promises to “love, cherish, and worship”, and the bride to “love, cherish, and obey”, but the sentiment of a contract of love stays intact. Modern wedding vows (for good reason) steer clear of citing the bride as a piece of property and focuses on the everlasting bonds of love. Celtic wedding vows have always held this spirit.
“I, , take thee, , to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.”
This theme has been carried throughout the years and is more or less expected in any wedding vow. However, modern vows expand on this with the addition of a love quote, a personalized song, poems, elaboration on love, and sometimes a little humor.
2. Vows For Her
The days of promising to “obey” and become your husband’s property are long gone. Today’s weddings are based on pure love, this is your chance to devote your heart and soul to the man of your dreams.
The moment when you promise to spend the rest of your life together through thick and thin doesn’t come easy. All the words have been said in the right order and with the right meaning. To start the process, pour yourself a glass of your favorite pinot noir, turn on some romantic music to set the tone, and read a few romantic poems or stories before you pick up your pencil and paper.
Create a list of every time he’s been there for you, of every time he’s proven that he is the man of your dreams and the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Let this inspire the words you choose to define your devotion to him and how much being man and wife means to you.
The basic structure of most vows begins with illustrating how you understand exactly who each other are deep down, and that’s exactly what you love about them and knowing that you’ll always feel that way. It promises that love to look forward to the future, and allow that love to grow each day. It acknowledges that there may be bad times, but promises to always look beyond that and support each other.
Find your own words to say this in whatever format suits you best. It may be a traditional pledge, it may consist of extremely romantic quotes, or it may be a song or poem that you recite. Tell an anecdote before, during, or after and feel free to slip in a joke or two, but make sure that the framework stays intact. Follow your inspiration and speak with your heart. It will be perfect.
3. Wedding Vows For Him
Men sometimes have trouble expressing exactly how they feel. Using a wedding vows template can really help capture what’s in your heart. To get your mind in the right headspace, start by with a pen and paper.
Write down everything that you love about her. Recall how you met, and dream about what it’s going to be like to spend the rest of your life with her. Now that you have romance in mind, it’s time to put some structure to it.
You can literally use this traditional vow, or simply use it as a framework for a highly personalized promise:
“I, [name], take you, [name], to be my friend, my lover, the mother of my children and my wife. I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph.
I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity. “
That basically sums it up. But, your future wife deserves a little more. There’s no set rule on how long your vow should be. Make it too long and you’ll lose the interest of the crowd, but make it too short and it may come off as insincere.
The traditional vow contains the critical message and promise but only takes a minute to read through. The best wedding vows ideas to combine the traditional promises to always be there for each other.
Adding your own thoughts and feelings adds context and explains why you truly believe in this and will keep it in your heart until the end of time. This is much more meaningful.
Once you have your speech written, re-written, and maybe even field tested with your best man or one of her relatives (it’s wise to take notes), you’ll want to turn it into a proper speech. Say your vows out loud. Repeat this over and over until it feels natural.
When the big moment comes look into her eyes. Remember the words you wrote on that piece of paper describing everything you love about her and how you dream of “happily ever after”. As the words come out, you’ll truly feel them. And your bride will know, and for this, she’ll love you forever.
4. Personalized Wedding Beautiful Vows
A lot of couples choose to write their own vows for one reason or another. Couples are also preparing full-blown productions in place of the traditional wedding vows. Brides and grooms alike are writing poems, composing songs, and playing instruments.
Performing a song just may be our favorite. Songs are an integral part of many relationships and many couples have a definitive song. For high school sweethearts, it can be the song that was playing at prom. It can be the song playing on the radio during that first road trip, or it can be what was playing at the restaurant during your first date.
Regardless of where “your song” came from, learning to recreate it as your vow is an extremely romantic gesture.
Learning a new instrument may be a little out of your range, and reciting a poem may just not be your style but you can still make your vows your own. Handwriting how you feel and the life of togetherness that you dream of, and that you promise to nurture for the rest of your life can be a beautiful thing. A few simple words can be absolutely perfect.
One thing to remember is that you need time. You may have the feelings completely intact, but to get the words out in the right order will require a lot of repetition. Write down what you mean to say. Repeat it out loud to yourself in front of a mirror. Practice in front of friends and family, re-write and repeat. Because, you only get one shot at this and you want it to be perfect.
5. Romantic Vows
Stepping away from traditional allows you maximize the romance. If you’re not sure where to start, go with a poem. It’s romantically perfect to recite the masters like Shakespeare and or Keats, but it’s even better when you write your own.
This is no easy task, so you’ll need some inspiration to get to start.
“Bright star, would I was steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.”
Study up on various poetic structures and find the one that fits your personality. If you’re not the poetic type, romance is still within your grasp. Simply speak your heart. If you’re like many out there and find it heart turning feelings into a smooth flowing speech, Hollywood is here to get you to start.
“the heart’s not like a box that gets filled up. It expands in size the more you love.”
“I love you very much, probably more than anybody could love another person.”
—Henry, 50 First Dates
“You make me want to be a better man.”
—Melvin Udall, As Good As It Gets
These quotes all have one thing in common; brevity. They sum up a universe of emotion in a single sentence or two. So keep this rule of thumb in mind for your invitation wording and throughout your vows. The number one tip? let your heart do the talking.
6. Religious Vows For Wedding
Religious aspects bring layers of beauty to wedding ceremonies. On top of swearing an oath of companionship in front of your friends and families, you are making vows of the union in front of the creator of the universe.
In the Roman Catholic church, marriage is one of the seven Sacraments that are prerequisites of getting into Heaven.
Hindu weddings involve the Agni, a sacred fire and prime witness to the religious process. The sacred fire is circled 7 times, bride and groom hand-in-hand. Each pass represents a different vow.
Also, many Jewish wedding ceremonies occur under a Chuppah, a special wedding canopy which represents the couple’s new home. Often accompanied by each set of parents and other family members, 7 blessings are recited under their new home.
Muslim ceremonies can differ greatly from region to region, but one thing remains steady. The bride and groom commit to being each other’s comforter and each other’s protector because they are only meant for each other.
Of course, there is far more to each of these ceremonies, and a lot of variations depending on denomination and region. However, it’s clear that the vow is a common thread that is a significant part of any tradition. These vows are the deepest of promises, and can never be taken lightly.
7. Funny Vows
Modern brides and grooms are turning to humor at an increasing rate. The trend is to take the classic vow and add a little twist like “I promise to love you in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, when the Patriots make the playoffs and when they lose, till death do us part”.
Others are taking this a step further and full out Roast their significant others.
Humor is okay, in fact, it’s encouraged, but it’s important not to deviate too far. Many people cite humor as the #1 attractive feature in a desirable mate, but it’s important to remember what the vows truly mean. A “good joke” isn’t the point, because the point is to wrap your message of love with laughter and smiles. Keep this in mind when you deliver your one-liners and anecdotes, and make sure that your message is delivered.