An Easy Guide to Traditional Wedding Vows

Photo by Cliff C Photography
Photo by Cliff C Photography

Writing your own wedding vows has become more and more common, but if the thought of coming up with the words yourself makes you feel woozy, traditional wedding vows can be just as special. And in fact, there are a TON of perks of using more standard, traditional vows:

  • You may feel incredibly calm leading up to your wedding, but when the big day arrives, nerves have a tendency to suddenly appear! Reading your own words will add a whole new level of fear, and having a more traditional script could keep you calm.
  • You won’t need to bring notes or memorize anything—if you’re using traditional wedding vows, your officiant will most likely supply them for you to repeat.
  • Traditional wedding vows are traditional for a reason. They’re words that have been passed down through generations, and the reason they’ve survived is because they’re lyrical and powerful. They’re “tried and true”, if you will.
  • Traditional wedding vows are also more universal. It may seem fun to incorporate an inside joke with your groom, or a couple of jokes, but you may leave your guests feeling slightly confused. Traditional wedding vows allow everyone to witness your promise and feel part of the ceremony.

Traditional vows tend to be more prominent in religious ceremonies. Certain churches or religions have very specific rules about what needs to be said in order for the marriage to be valid. If you’re having your ceremony in a church or other religious space, check with your officiant about what you’ll be saying during the vows to make sure you’re on the same page.

Take the Catholic Church, for example. Roman Catholics view weddings as a sacrament, so writing your own vows isn’t even allowed. Catholic brides and grooms have been saying essentially the same words for 2,000 years. Their script reads as follows:

I, Ron, take you, Hermione, to be my wife,

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.

Hermione, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Hindu faith also has a specific script to be read during the ceremony. Hindu weddings have 15 elaborate rituals, and one of those is the “seven steps” around a flame, which honors the Hindu fire god Agni:

With the first step, we will provide for and support each other.

With the second step, we will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength.

With the third step, we will share the worldly possessions.

With the fourth step, we will acquire knowledge, happiness, and peace.

With the fifth step, we will raise strong and virtuous children.

With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.

With the seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other.

But traditional vows don’t have to be religious. A simple Google search for “secular wedding vows” can provide you with tons of options to work from. You can also inquire with your officiant if there’s a script s(he) has used before that they think works well. Here’s an example:

I, Ron, give myself to you to be your 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. Day by day I promise to love and to honor you, to treasure you and to respect you, to walk with you side by side in joy and sorrow. Day by day I promise to grow with you in truth, to laugh with you, to cry with you, and to love you with all that I am and all that I shall become. This I promise you from the depth of my heart, for all our lives together.

Just because your wedding has more traditional vows doesn’t mean it isn’t meaningful or perfect. The important part is that you mean your words, whatever you end up saying!

Traditional wedding vows not your thing? These funny wedding vows might be just the thing you’re looking for!


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