Very few words are more romantic than "To love and to cherish from this day forth."
Traditional wedding vows have been the highlight of wedding ceremonies for centuries. They're more than a legal contract. They're a public declaration of your love in front of friends and family.
While there are traditional elements every vow should have, couples often prefer to write personal vows that reflect their unique culture, religion, and values.
Here are seven notable marriage vows to help inspire you when writing your traditional vows.
- Traditional wedding vows declare your intent to marry and consent.
- Keep your wedding vows around 150 words.
- You can adjust your wedding vows to your personal beliefs, values, and relationship.
Where Do Wedding Vows Come from?
The first recorded marriage vows were in a prayer book from 1549 from the Medieval Church of England. Wedding vows marked a shift in how society viewed marriage. Before that time, most cultures saw marriage as an agreement or political arrangement rather than a bond of love.
However, during the 11th century, societies started requiring consent and consummation for marriages to be legal and binding. By 1563, marriage became one of the seven sacraments, bringing a new era of love-based marriages and deeply romantic vows of devotion.
What Should My Wedding Vows Say?
Official vows in traditional weddings should contain two main elements: your intent and consent. Your intent is marriage, where you get the well-known line, "I ___ take thee, ___ to be my wedded husband." However, you don't have to use that exact line in your vow as long as you declare the vow's purpose near the start.
Consent, if you recall, has been a crucial part of legal weddings since the 11th century. It is where the traditional "I do" comes from. Although, you can also incorporate consent into your vows in other ways to emphasize your willingness and readiness to marry your fiancé.
In addition to those traditional elements, brides also like to include:
- Specific promises for your marriage
- Sentimental memories
- Dreams for the future
- Reasons you love them
Traditionally, the groom says the vows first, but you can also say them together. Keep in mind that vows should stay under 150 words so you can say them in two minutes or less, which is the standard length for vow exchanges during the ceremony program.
7 Traditional Wedding Vows to Inspire You
Use these seven wedding vows from different cultures and religions to inspire your wedding vows with meaningful sentiments and promises.
1. Traditional Christian Wedding Vows
These vows are perhaps among the most recognized vows. Christian weddings usually use these vows, but couples from many religions and views incorporate parts of this romantic declaration of love and devotion.
"I, ___, take thee, ___ to be my wedding 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 myself to you."
2. Traditional Episcopal Wedding Vows
Another famous vow is the Episcopal vow, which brides and grooms can use with or without mentions of God, depending on the couple's personal views.
"In the name of God, I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife, 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 wife/husband, 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."
3. Traditional Jewish Wedding Vows
Jewish vows are much shorter but just as impactful. These vows wrap together life's love and promise into a few emotionally charged words.
"Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel."
"With this ring, you are made holy to me, for I love you as my soul. You are now my wife."
4. Traditional Hindu Wedding Vows
Hindu wedding ceremonies don't use traditional wedding vows. Instead, the couple exchanges promise, known as the Seven Steps or Saptha Padhi.
"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."
5. Traditional Buddhist Wedding Vows
The Buddhist vows are a crucial and sacred part of the wedding ceremony, filled with beautiful language and romantic promises.
"I, ___, take you, ___, 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. And 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."
6. Traditional Muslim Wedding Vows
Not all Muslim weddings include wedding vows. However, many have deeply romantic lines the couple speaks to each other.
"Bride: I, ___, offer you 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.">
7. Traditional Non-Religious Wedding Vows
If you want to use elements of traditional vows without any religious or cultural connections, consider these beautiful, timeless vows.
"I ___, take thee ___, 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, ___, take you, ___, 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."
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