There are so many ways traditional wedding vows can be used to make your ceremony a richer, more personal experience.
But, what do wedding vows mean?
Well, they can mean whatever you want them to. One of the great trends in weddings that we’ve seen in the past few years — and definitely in 2018 — is couples tailoring vows to really make them their own, as a way to symbolize their commitment to each other through words. Even if you don’t come from a religious background, using traditional vows as the base for your own can help give an amazing sense of tradition and romance.
If you’re interested in writing your own and want to learn more about wedding ceremony vows, here’s where you can start.
How To Write Wedding Vows?
Writing your wedding vows can definitely be intimidating, but once they begin most couples find it a rich and rewarding experience. Following a few simple templates can make the process much easier.
Who says their vows first?
Traditionally, the groom says his wedding vows first, followed by the bride. But you don’t have to stick to this tradition — in some couples, the bride goes first and some even do them together. It’s about whatever feels right for you as a couple.
How long does it take to say wedding vows?
Again, this will be down to you. Some couples want to keep it short and traditional, others want to fill it with personal details. There’s no set rule, but between 30 seconds and two minutes is a good estimate.
If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some traditional wedding vows to give you inspiration.
Protestant Wedding Vows
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Protestantism is a rich religion and the second largest form of Christianity worldwide, comprised of over 900 million followers around the globe. Because these followers are divided among many different branches, it’s a fertile area for vow inspiration, with many different Christian wedding vows to choose from.
Basic Protestant Vows
The basic vows make up some of the most popular standard Christian wedding vows. In addition to the traditional ring ceremony, a unity candle is sometimes included in the service.
“I, (name), take thee, (name), to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”
Some people might choose to keep the key parts of these romantic vows, even in a non-religious ceremony.
“I, (name), take thee, (name), to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Episcopal wedding vows are another popular choice, not only among the nearly two million Episcopalians in the United States but for others looking for non-religious wedding vow inspiration, which can be done by taking out mentions of God.
“In the name of God, I, (name), take you, (name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
“I vow to be your faithful husband/wife, understanding that marriage is a lifelong union, and not to be entered into lightly, for the purpose of mutual fellowship, encouragement and understanding; for the procreation of children and their physical and spiritual nurture. I hereby give myself to you in this cause with my sacred vow before God.”
There are two lovely traditional takes on the Methodist wedding ceremony. One option is to say the traditional Methodist wedding vows, while the other is to have the officiant speak, with the couple answering with the simple and classic, “I do.”
“I take you, (name), to be my husband/wife from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you of God and this congregation to declare your intent.”
“Officiant: Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?
Couple: I do.”
Presbyterian Wedding Vows
The traditional Presbyterian wedding vows are another beautiful take on the traditional Christian wedding vows — again, the couple can speak their vows or simply respond to the officiant.
“I, (name), take thee (name), to be my wedded husband/wife,
and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses,
to be thy loving and faithful wife/husband; in plenty and in want,
in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health,
as long as we both shall live.”
“Officiant: (Name), wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wife/husband, and wilt thou pledge thy faith to him/her, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her/him, and cherish her/him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?
Couple: I do.”
Lutheran wedding vows offer a poetic, powerful alternative to other Christian-based wedding vows. Though clearly in the tradition, the language of the Lutheran vows is perfect for a couple looking for a more modern feel.
“(Name), our miracle lies in the path we have chosen together. I enter into this marriage with you knowing that the true magic of love is not to avoid changes, but to navigate them successfully. Let us commit until death parts us.”
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and worst of what is to come, and as long as we live.”
Click HERE to download examples of protestant wedding vows!
Jewish Wedding Vows
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The traditional Jewish wedding vow is beautiful and an important part of the elaborate, joyful Jewish wedding ceremony. The bride and groom say one simple sentence that ties them to their religion and to each other.
“Haray at mekudeshet lee beh-taba’at zo keh-dat Moshe veh-Yisrael.”
Translated into English, this means:
“Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.”
In Jewish ceremonies, especially more modern occasions, you can also sometimes find a ring vow.
“With this ring, you are made holy to me, for I love you as my soul. You are now my wife.”
Click HERE to download examples of jewish wedding vows!
Catholic Wedding Vows From The Bible
If you’re looking for biblical wedding vows or traditional wedding vows found in the Bible, it’s best to look at the Catholic tradition — one that you probably recognize, as it’s become encapsulated in popular culture as representative of many Western weddings.
“I, (name), take you, (name), for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
“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.”
Click HERE to download examples of catholic wedding vows!
Eastern Orthodox Vows For Wedding
Traditional Eastern Orthodox wedding vows are unique because often the vows are completely silent. The couples privately contemplate their commitment to their faith and to each other. However, in some Russian ceremonies, a spoken vow is included.
“I, (name), take you, (name), as my wedded wife/husband and I promise you love, honor and respect; to be faithful to you and not to forsake you until death do us part. So help me God, one in the Holy Trinity and all the Saints.”
There is also a traditional prayer that is recited three times, binding the couple together.
“For the servants of God (name) and (name), who are now being joined to one another in the community of Marriage, and for their salvation; let us pray to the Lord.”
Click HERE to download examples of orthodox wedding vows!
Hindu Traditional Wedding Vows
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Vows, as we think of them, are not part of the complex and layered Hindu wedding ceremony, but the Seven Steps — also known as the Saptha Padhi — is a beautiful part of the ceremony where the couple makes promises to each other.
“Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use.
Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust.
Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous, and heroic children.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”
Click HERE to download examples of hindu wedding vows!
Muslim Wedding Vows
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Muslim weddings are an elaborate, three-day affair — with the bride often not leaving her house for the week beforehand. Muslim weddings do not always have traditional vows, instead, there is a Nikah ceremony. Some weddings include vows and they are unique in that the bride and groom have separate lines that they speak.
“Bride: I, (name), offer you in myself in marriage in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon Him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.
Groom: I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.”
The idea of the bride and groom being each other’s clothing is threaded throughout the ceremony, so it’s common to hear a related wedding Quran passage, one that could be incorporated into any romantic wedding vows.
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.”
— [Quran 2:187]
Click HERE to download examples of muslim wedding vows!
Nondenominational Wedding Vows
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For those who want traditional wedding vow examples but don’t want to adhere to a particular religion, non-denominational wedding vows are a good place to start. Many of them include the familiar for richer or for poorer vows, but some are more modern.
“I (name), take thee (name), to be my husband/wife.
To have and to hold,
in sickness and in health,
for richer or for poorer,
and I promise my love to you forevermore.”
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife. To share the good times and hard times side by side. I humbly give you my hand and my heart as a sanctuary of warmth and peace, and pledge my faith and love to you. Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal. Just as it is made of incorruptible substance, my commitment to you will never fail. With this ring, I thee wed.”
Click HERE to download examples of nondenominational wedding vows!
Examples Of Quaker Wedding Oath
Quaker wedding ceremonies are lovely and open, with moments of silence where anyone who is moved to speak can share their thoughts. There is a traditional wedding oath and Quaker readings are also often included.
“In the presence of God and these our friends, I take thee to be my wife/husband, promising with divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband/wife so long as we both shall live.”
“Marriage has always been regarded by Friends as a religious commitment rather than a merely civil contract. Both partners should offer with God’s help an intention to cherish one another for life. Remember that happiness depends on an understanding and steadfast love on both sides. In times of difficulty remind yourself of the value of prayer, of perseverance and of a sense of humor.”
Click HERE to download examples of quaker wedding vows!
Unitarian Wedding Ceremony Vows
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Unitarians are some of the most open and accepting of all religions, making their vows perfect for religious and non-religious vows alike. Some follow the call-and-answer pattern, while others are more traditional vows for weddings.
“Officiant: (name), will you take (name) as your wife/husband, will you pledge to share your life openly with her/him, to speak the truth to her/him, in love? Will you promise to honor and tenderly care for her/him, to encourage her/him fulfillment as an individual through all the changes in your lives?
Couple: I do.”
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my wife/husband; to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish always.”
Click HERE to download examples of unitarian wedding vows!
Vows For Baptist Wedding
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Baptists are a branch of Christianity started in America, with a heavy emphasis on the Biblical authority and the importance of the Baptism process. Traditional Baptist vows look similar to other branches, but replace the traditional “I do” with “I will”.
“Officiant: Will you, (name), have (name) to be your husband/wife? Will you love him/her, comfort and keep him/her, and forsaking all other remain true to him/her as long as you both shall live?
Couple: I will.”
“Repeat: I, (name), take thee (name), to be my husband/wife, and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true husband/wife.”
Click HERE to download examples of baptist wedding vows!
Buddhist Wedding Vows
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Buddhist wedding ceremonies tend to be very simple and sacred, with the vows taking a particularly important place in the ceremony. The language is very different than other vows, so it’s great if you’re looking for inspiration.
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife, my partner in life, and my one true love. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever.
I will trust you and honor you,
I will laugh with you and cry with you.
Through the best and the worst,
Through the difficult and the easy.
Whatever may come I will always be there.
As I have given you my hand to hold
So I give you my life to keep”
“Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine with each other and with all beings, we undertake the practice of protecting life.
Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine with each other and with all beings, we undertake the practice of taking only what is offered.
Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine with each other and with all beings, we undertake the practice of cultivating loving-kindness and honesty as the basis for speaking.
Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine with each other and with all beings, we undertake the practice of using sexuality wisely and using it to protect our commitment to each other.
Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine with each other and with all beings, we undertake the practice of avoiding substances or practices that may cloud my perception of the present moment.”
Click HERE to download examples of Buddhist wedding vows!
Celtic Vows For Wedding
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Celtic wedding vows tend to be incredibly poetic, making them a great option for couples of any background hoping for romantic wedding vows or just looking to incorporate some stunning romantic quotes.
“Ye are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone.
I give ye my body, that we two might be one.
I give ye my spirit, ’til our life shall be done.
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give
You cannot command me, for I am a free person
But I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.”
“I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine, from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night and into your eyes that I smile each morning; I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine, not shall a grievous word be spoken about us, for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance. Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life and into the next.”
Click HERE to download examples of celtic wedding vows!
Non-Religious Vows That Also Can Be Traditional
There are plenty of non-religious wedding vows that are full of tradition and history. Love quotes, poetry, and even popular culture can all be turned into wedding vows — these Shakespearean quotes are always popular choices.
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.”
Example: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
Click HERE to download examples of non-religious wedding vows!
Bonus: Ring Vows
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Ring vows are very popular — whether they come from a religious place or just as a way to seal the couple’s commitment. When couples exchange the rings, they often have a single, romantic line to mark the occasion and make their bond official.
“With this ring, I thee wed.”
“I, (name), give to you (name), this ring, as a symbol of my commitment to love, honor, and respect you. (name), I offer this ring to you”
Click HERE to download examples of ring wedding vows!
Whether or not you want to use traditional wedding vows or religious wedding vows in your ceremony, these vows provide such a rich, traditional background for you to build upon. Don’t hesitate to take your favorite lines or metaphors from different vows and tie them together in something truly unique.
It’s your wedding — so you’re in charge.
Whatever words and lines best represent you and your partner — whatever words speak to you — it’s important to go with what feels right.