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So the knot is being tied but your tongue is too. Check out these sample wedding vows from different creeds and religions to inspire your words at the altar. Take note of the different ways it is done throughout history and across the globe and learn how to write traditional wedding vows. Whether you’re looking for funny wedding vows, romantic wedding vows, Christian wedding vows, or non traditional wedding vows, we’ve got you covered with enough of the historically top-rated examples.
Because marriage is largely predicated in philosophies on consent, not just with your partner, but also under God, Catholic Wedding Vows are to be said exactly as written, however because there’s very little room for free styling, brides and grooms tend to evoke their precursory “stating of intentions”. Which effectively become their vows.
“I, ___, take you, ___, 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, ___, take you, ___, 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.”
Protestantism is different even church to church in many cases, but the basic tenements are the same throughout these Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian vows.
“I, ___, take thee, ___, 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.”
“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?”
“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, 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 to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
“______, 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?”
“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.”
“I, ______, take you, ______, 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.”
Hindu Wedding Vows
While it would misleading to say there is one typical Hindu wedding vow, the Saptapadi comes closest. It is a ritual in seven parts, each of which relates to a specific vow made to the bride from the groom. Said beside a fire to honor the god Agni, the “vows” may sound like this:
“Let us make 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.”
Jewish Wedding Vows
Jewish traditions do not include vows by way of the bride and groom trading short speeches, but instead they believe their ceremony itself to be an inherent vow. Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and Reconstructionist Jews all differ synagogue to synagogue, but not dissimilarly from most American weddings, when the ring is slid onto the bride’s finger you’re as good as married. The groom then says,
“Haray at mekudeshet lee beh-taba’at zo keh-dat Moshe veh-Yisrael,” Or, in English “Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.”
Rabbis in Reform synagogues may say, “Do you,___, take_____ to be your wife/husband, promising to cherish and protect her/him, whether in good fortune or in adversity, and to seek together with her/him a life hallowed by the faith of Israel?” where as a conservative Jewish Rabbis’ phrasing is more likely, “Do you, ____, take _____ to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to love, to honor and to cherish?”
Muslim Wedding Vows
Muslim men don’t have much of a part in vows unless you count the imam. Like a cleric, he is the one tasked with explaining the duties to Muslim couples at the altar. That binding agreement is called a nikah and while it doesn’t traditionally include the couple adding anything, vows do take place in the bride’s recitation of the following “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.”
Eastern Orthodox Wedding Vows
You may have never heard of this next style of vows from various Eastern Orthodox churches, but that is because they are silent! Almost more similar to a prayer, traditional Russian brides and grooms are expected to recite to themselves their voluntary participance and obligatory responsibility to love and serve one another under god. But in the event they decide to let the audience in on their private practice, they’ll sound something like ”I, ___, take you, ___, 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.” In Nondenominational churches that sounds more like, “I, ______, take you, ______, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.”
Unitarian Wedding Vows
For Unitarian Universalist marriages, the minister will scribe and lead the vowing. But the style and even much of the phrasing for Unitarian Universalist vows is influenced heavily by broader Christianity,
“______, will you take ______ to be your wife/husband; love, honor and cherish her/him now and forevermore?”
“______, will you take ______ 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?”
“______, will you have this woman/man, ______, to be your wedded wife/husband, to live together in marriage, will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor her/him and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live?”
“______, do you take this woman/man, ______, to be your wife/husband? Do you pledge to share your life openly with her/him and to speak the truth to her/him in love?
Will you comfort her/him, honor her/him and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live?”
(I will.) – From Rev. Edward Searl, Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, IL
Native American Wedding Vows
For Native American Apache Indians, there is no ritual vowing from the couple themselves but they are blessed with the following invocation:
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives — remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
Cherokee Native Americans similarly omit bride and groom speeches but may recite along with this prayer,
God in heaven above please protect the ones we love. We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together. We honor Mother Earth and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons. We honor fire and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts. We honor wind and ask that we sail through life safe and calm as in our father’s arms. We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship—that it may never thirst for love. With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony, as we grow forever young together. Amen.
Buddhist Wedding Vows
Perhaps the couple-i-est approach is that of the Tibetan Buddhists. In their ceremonies, couples simultaneously speaking the answers to questions asked by the officiant shows unity and togetherness. For instance,
“*Bride and *Groom, do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?
Bride/Groom: “We do.”
Officiant: Recognizing that the external conditions in life will not always be smooth and that internally your own minds and emotions will sometimes get stuck in negativity, do you pledge to see all these circumstances as a challenge to help you grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves, and each other; and to generate compassion for others who are suffering?
Bride/Groom: “We do.”
Officiant: Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us, do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?
Bride/Groom: “We do.”
Officiant: Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other, and to share it with all beings? To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other’s potential and inner beauty as an example and rather than spiraling inwards and becoming self-absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all beings?
Bride/Groom: “We do.”
So if you aren’t sure what you and your beloved should say consider how the most tried and true practices have done it, and if that doesn’t work, put a pause on tradition and speak from the heart! Or, forget everything and when in doubt you’ll be married in no time if you just say, “I do.”
Non-Denominational or Atheist Wedding Vows
If you’re writing vows around the idea that your fiancee comes from one religious background, and you come from another, non-denominational vows allow you two some much-needed breathing room. If neither of you believe in any kind of god, you can use non-denom vows too.
Think about it: it’s freeing! You don’t have to tie everything back to a benevolent creator, and you can nix iffy language about “obeying” each other and honoring your “divine” commitment. Religious people don’t have a monopoly on being good people, right?
Non-denominational vows also tend to reference the fact that most couples have been working on their relationship for years before they get hitched. They describe being a perfect and logical match, and they tend to focus on the real-world benefits of supporting each other. It’s not all clinical, though; you can get romantic with it by turning to the poets.
“*Bride, I promise to be your faithful supporter for the rest of our lives. You’re my best friend, and I can’t wait to celebrate the joys of being with you. There is no challenge we can’t get through together, and I know that I’ll be able to make you laugh, even when things get hard.”
“I choose you, *Groom, and I promise to keep looking to the future and working to strengthen our bond. I will be yours no matter what comes, in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph. I will cherish all the things that make you special. Ever since we met, you’ve been the first thing on my mind in the morning, and the last person I think about before I go to sleep. I’m so excited for the rest of our lives to begin.”