Wedding or marriage vows originated back in the time of the 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 traditional 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.