How to Write Heartfelt Traditional Wedding Vows for Your Own Ceremony

The exchange of vows — whether personal or traditional — is one of the most important parts of a wedding ceremony. While some may think that traditional wedding vows (set vows according to your religion or culture) are impersonal, many couples want to exchange vows that are historically part of what they believe in.

Traditional Wedding Vows

For example, Christians believe their marriage is instituted by God. Jewish people consecrate their love according to the laws of Moses and Israel. Muslims commit to both their partner and Allah, and so on. By exchanging traditional vows according to their religion or culture, couples in turn pledge themselves to each other on a bigger level. What’s more romantic than that?

At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your S.O. to decide what type of vows you want to exchange. (Unless you’re getting married in a specific church or by a particular officiant which may require traditional wedding vows. You can read more about the various options for your wedding ceremony script here.) If you are going to recite traditional wedding vows, it helps to know a few facts about them first.

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What is the Origin of Traditional Wedding Wows?

The first instance of traditional marriage vows can be traced back to Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer in 1549. Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, introduced these vows:

I, [groom’s name] , take thee, [bride’s name], to my wedded 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, til death us depart: according to God’s holy ordinance: And thereto I plight thee my truth.

I, ___ , take thee, ___ , to my wedded 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, cherish, and to obey, till death us depart: according to God’s holy ordinance: And thereto I give thee my truth.

While a version of these wedding vows are still used in the U.S. and Europe, wedding vows are mostly considered a Western Christian tradition. They are not used by some churches within the Christian religion, such as the Orthodox communities. There are also no traditional wedding vows in Judaism.

Are Traditional Wedding Vows Too Discriminatory?

Up until the early 2000’s, many churches were still using the word “obey” for a bride’s traditional wedding vows. (One exception was the Catholic church, who had ceased using the word after the women’s movement in 1928. However over the years that requirement has faded, and partners are instead saying “to love and to cherish.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Examples

Traditional wedding vows obviously vary by religion. Since they’ve been passed down through generations, there are a few different iterations per denomination. Whether you’d like to use them or garner inspiration for your own romantic wedding vows, we’ve gathered some of the most common vows below.

Traditional Wedding Vows Couple
Source: Elite Photo

Religious Wedding Vows

Religions often have their own wedding vows that you are required to recite if getting married by their officiant or in their place of worship. While some religions will not allow much flexibility in terms of what is said, you should always speak to your representative there if you have questions about your ceremony script.

Catholic Wedding 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 in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”

SEE MORE: 9 Wedding Vows That Will Totally Inspire

Episcopal Wedding Vows

“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 parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Hindu Wedding Vows

In Hindu weddings, couples must take seven steps (also known as the Saptapadi) to confirm their marriage. The steps—also known as a Phere—are made around the holy fire (Agni) while the couple recite their vows.

  • First Step: To nourish each other
  • Second Step: To grow together in strength
  • Third Step: To preserve our wealth
  • Fourth Step: To share our joys and sorrows
  • Fifth Step: To care for our children and parents
  • Sixth Step: To be together forever
  • Seventh Step: To remain lifelong friends

Jewish Wedding Vows

While there are no traditional Jewish wedding vows, it is common for Jewish couples to say the following during the ring exchange to confirm their lifelong union:

“Harey at mekuddeshet li b’taba’at zo k’dat Moshe v’Israel.” (“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”)

Lutheran Wedding Vows

“I take you , _____ , to be my wife/husband from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Maried Couple
Source: Elite Photo, Batavia IL

Methodist Wedding Vows

“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.”

Muslim Wedding Vows

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.”

Presbyterian Wedding Vows

Couple: “I, _____ , take you, _____ , to be my wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Presbyterina Wedding

Protestant Wedding Vows

“I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded 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, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”

Quaker Wedding Vows

Couple: “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.”

Unitarian/Universalist Wedding Vows

“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 cherish always.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Protestan Wedding

To each other: “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 and honor you all the days of my life.”

Interfaith Wedding Vows

If you are having an interfaith ceremony, you may wish to incorporate vows or rituals from each of your religions to make your own unique version.

Nondenominational Wedding Vows

“[Partner name]. I now take you to be my wedded wife/husband. To live together after God’s ordinance in the holy relationship of marriage. I promise to love and comfort you, honor and keep you, and forsaking all others. I will be yours alone as long as we both shall live.”

“I, _____ , take you to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband. Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as both shall live. I take you with all your faults and your strengths as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths. [Partner name], I will help you when you need help, and I will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”

Couple: “I , _____ , take you, _____ , to be my wife/husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Ceremony

More Traditional Wedding Vow Examples

“[Partner name], I take you as my wife/husband, with your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. [Partner name], I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”

“I, _____ , take you, _____ , to be my wedded wife/husband, and in doing so, I commit my life to you, encompassing all sorrows and joys, all hardships and triumphs, all the experiences of life. A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new.”

“[Partner name], I give myself to you to be your wife/husband, I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives.”

Traditional Wedding Vows FAQ

What should my wedding vows say?

The basic premise of all wedding vows—traditional or modern— is to make a promise to your partner that you will love them for the rest of your life. You are making a commitment to one another, and the details of that are what you can fill in depending on your religion and/or beliefs as a couple.

What do you legally have to save in wedding vows?

While marriage is a legally binding contract, there are no specific vows that have to be said in order for a marriage to be legal. There just needs to be what’s referred to as a Declaration of Intent (which can be your promises or vows to one another) and a pronouncement of marriage from your officiant that you are now married. This, along with a state-issued marriage license, is all you need for a legally binding marriage.

Why are wedding vows important?

Whether you choose to say personal or traditional wedding vows, these promises you make to one another as lifelong partners are the reason you’re likely getting married in the first place. To speak about your commitment, mutual love, and promises to one another is what makes a wedding ceremony so special, so be sure to take the time to think about which type of vows will hold the most meaning to you as a couple.

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