What Are Traditional Wedding Vows?
We’ve all heard the typical vow exchanged at a wedding – “To have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us apart”. Millions of people have exchanged these vows during their wedding ceremonies which makes it tradition. Traditional wedding vows require less time to prepare as they are already pre-written, which takes the pressure off of you and your spouse-to-be.
History of Traditional & Religious Marriage Vows
Traditional wedding vows are provided by the clergy and tend to differ across religions. These vows have been passed down through generations and are unique to religion and cultural practices. During the wedding ceremony, the officiant will have the bride and the groom recite their marriage vows in accordance with the scripture and religious practice.
Can You Modify Traditional Vows?
While traditional wedding vows are often required for religious wedding ceremonies, they can sometimes be modified. This all depends on the structure of your wedding and if the spiritual leader officiating your marriage allows it. Some couples may include religious practices in their wedding but also want to add their own twist to make it special and unique to them. This varies by religion, so be sure to ask your officiant if you and your partner can propose small changes. You can also do a Handfasting or Vow Renewal.
Examples of traditional wedding vows based on religion:
Catholic Wedding Vows
Catholic weddings stay true to traditions and follow the Sacrament of Matrimony. Before the ceremony, there is a ring bearer who carries the couples’ wedding rings and a flower girl who tosses petals from a basket. Often, the bride is walked down the aisle by her father and weddings cannot occur on certain holidays, such as Good Friday. During the ceremony, which takes place in a Catholic church, the priest reads a variety of Bible verses and prayers. Catholic wedding vows are meant to be recited verbatim and changes to the script are discouraged. The two most common vows are as follows:
“I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
“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.”
Catholic Wedding Vows in Spanish
(Votos Matrimoniales Católicos en Español)
Novio: “Yo, ________, te quiero a ti, _______, como esposa, y me entrego a ti, y prometo serte fiel en las alegrías y en las penas, en la salud y en la enfermedad, todos los días de mi vida.”
Novia: “Yo, ________, te quiero a ti, ______, como esposo, y me entrego a ti, y prometo serte fiel en las alegrías y en las penas, en la salud y en la enfermedad, todos los días de mi vida.”
Christian Wedding Vows
Christian weddings traditionally occur in a church and incorporate certain unique traditions such as foot washing and the braiding of the cord. Foot washing symbolizes love and humility for one another and is representative of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. The braiding of the Cord of Three Strands, or God’s Knot, symbolizes the everlasting union of the bride, the groom, and God under marriage. There are multiple variations of Christian vows to choose from including but not limited to the following. More examples can be found from the source – Bible.org.
“I, _____, take you, ______, to be my wedded wife/husband. With deepest joy I receive you into my life that together we may be one. As is Christ to His body, the church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband/wife. Always will I perform my headship over you even as Christ does over me, knowing that His Lordship is one of the holiest desires for my life. I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, my tenderest care. I promise I will live first unto God rather than others or even you. I promise that I will lead our lives into a life of faith and hope in Christ Jesus. Ever honoring God’s guidance by His spirit through the Word, And so throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband/wife.”
Wedding vows for him
Groom: “I, ______, take you _____ to be my wife, before God who brought us together; to love and cherish you even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to lead you and share all of life’s experiences with you by following God through them. That through His grace, ____, we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.”
Bride: “And with this ring, I, ____, take you, _____. to be my husband, before God who brought us together, to love you, cherish you, to submit myself unto you in all things, and to follow you through all of life’s experiences as you follow God. That through His grace we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.”
Wedding vows for her
Groom: “______, I love you. Today is a very special day. Long ago you were just a dream and a prayer. This day like a dream come true the Lord Himself has answered that prayer. For today, ______, you as my joy become my crown. I thank Jesus for the honor of going through time with you. Thank you for being what you are to me. With our future as bright as the promises of God, I will care for you, honor and protect you. I lay down my life for you, _____, my friend and my love. Today I give to you myself.”
Bride: “______, I love you and I know you love me. I am confident that God has chosen you to be my husband. It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the help meet God designed especially for you, and in confidence I will submit myself unto your headship as unto our Lord. Therefore, _____, I pledge to you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife. Whither thou goest I will go, whither thou lodgest I will lodge, Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God.”
Hindu Wedding Vows
7 Vows of Marriage
In Hindu weddings, there is the Saptapadi, or the Seven Steps. The bride will lead the groom clockwise around a fire pit and make seven full circles to honor the god, Agni. The following promises are recited as the couple makes each complete circle.
“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”
Zen Buddhist Wedding Vows
In Buddhist weddings, it is common for the officiant to recite the following verses and the couple to say “We do” together.
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? Do you pledge to avoid becoming narrow, closed or opinionated, and to help each other to see various sides of situations?”
Wedded Couple: “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?”
Wedded Couple: “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?”
Wedded Couple: “We do.”
Alternative Wedding Vows
“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. 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.”
Modern Wedding Vows
Whether you and your fiance decide to have a religious wedding ceremony, we hope these examples help give an idea as to what to expect. You can also write your own wedding vows, if you want a ceremony that is unique to you and your partner. If you have any questions, we recommend asking your officiant for further clarification. Here are some of my most recommended officiants:
Kimmi Cranes is a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer who offers all-inclusive wedding photography packages, engagement photoshoots, elopement photography and family portraits. Based in South Lake Tahoe, she’s more than happy to travel and capture your special event in the surrounding areas of Reno, Truckee, and San Francisco. She loves to explore the outdoors and take photos of people in front of breathtaking landscapes. Her photos craft a beautiful story of love, excitement, and emotions to be remembered for years to come.