You’re planning your wedding and, despite having hundreds of things to do, you need to spare a little time to consider your wedding vows. Do you opt for traditional wedding vows, or are you ready to write your own?

Obviously writing your own wedding vows has become a popular option. However, there is still much to be said for traditional wedding vows. Take a moment to consider any weddings you’ve been to recently where they’ve used their own vows. 

There’s a good chance that the vows were beautiful and even eloquently written. But personal vows tend to talk about how much the other person means, and how wonderful the world is because of them.

Personal wedding vows may bring a tear to your eye but it’s easy to forget that they need to talk about the commitment you’re both making, a lifetime together.

Your wedding is more than just an announcement to the world that you love someone, it’s a commitment to stand by them through everything, for life. This is why you need to consider using traditional wedding vows, or at least using them as well as a personal vow.

Best Traditional Wedding Vows

Understanding The Vow

The definition of vow is actually “a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment”. Personal vows cover the why you’re together, traditional wedding vows state that you’re in this together forever, no matter what.

The vows also remind you and your guests that your wedding is a sign of commitment to be faithful, emotionally and physically. This is something that both parties at a wedding should be happy and even eager to say.

The more you think about it, the more you’ll realize that you want this in your wedding ceremony.

Of course, there are several ways of saying traditional wedding vows depending on your faith. If you don’t subscribe to a specific faith then you can use any of the following wedding vows. Alternatively, you can take the relevant part about commitment for your wedding vows and add your own personal touch.

Don’t forget that this is still your wedding day, you decide the wedding vows and the format of your special day. The following wedding vows should inspire you to make the best choice for you and your groom.

Christian Wedding Vows

It’s important to note that there are several denominations of the Christian faith. While they all have the same message in the wedding vows they are expressed slightly different.

If you’re having a civil ceremony it is important to verify that the registrar is happy for you to use your chosen wedding vows. 

Protestant Wedding 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.”

Episcopal

“______, wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wedded wife/husband to live together after God’s ordinance in the Holy Estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her/him? Comfort her/him, honour and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep thee only unto 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 health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Methodist

“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, honour, 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.”

Presbyterian

“______, wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wife/husband, and wilt thou pledge thy faith to him/her, in all love and honour, 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.”

Lutheran

“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.”

“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.”

Baptist Wedding Vows

There are two options for traditional Baptist vows. The first is a call and response from your officiant:

Officiant: “Will you, have to be your (wife/husband)? Will you love her/him, comfort and keep her/him, and forsaking all others remain true to her/him, as long as you both shall live?”

Bride/Groom: “I will.”

Your other option is a shorter version of vows — one line said by both bride and groom:

“I, _____, take thee, to be my (wife/husband), and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true (husband/wife)”.

Catholic Alternative

“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 honour you all the days of my life.”

The one thing you’ll notice that all the Christian wedding vows have is a declaration to be with your partner for better, worse, richer, poorer, and until death do you part. 

That’s the crux of the commitment you’re making and the reason why your wedding vows should contain at least some element of the traditional.

Go Jewish

Jewish wedding vows may not be the first thought when considering which vows you want to say on your wedding day. But, translate them from the original Hebrew and they have a powerful message to say:

“Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, gladden the beloved companions as You gladdened Your creatures in the garden of Eden. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who gladdens this couple. Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, Who created joy and gladness, loving couples, mirth, glad song, pleasure, delight, love, loving communities, peace, and companionship. Adonai, our God, let there soon be heard … the voice of the loving couple, the sound of their jubilance from their canopies and of the youths from their song-filled feasts. Blessed are You Who causes the couple to rejoice, one with the other.

We bless God for creating joy and happiness, bride and groom, mirth song, gladness and rejoicing, love and harmony, peace and companionship; and we thank God for letting this bride and groom to rejoice together.”

Hindu Wedding Vows

Hindu wedding ceremonies revolve around a flame that honours the Hindu fire god, Agni. The flame is optional but, although these are technically promises not wedding vows, they do express the intent that you are becoming partners for life in everything:

“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.”

Buddhist Wedding Vows

The wedding vows in a Buddhist ceremony are actually read by the officiant, the bride and groom respond together to confirm they understand and wish to abide by these vows. It’s great if you don’t like saying too much and will really help you to feel at one with each other, as you respond together.

These vows are much longer than most other wedding options, but they do have a powerful message:

Officiant: (Bride’s first name) and (groom’s first name) 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 spiralling inwards and becoming self-absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all beings?

Bride/Groom: “We do.”

The Non-Denominational Option

If you’re still not convinced about religious-based wedding vows then you can consider using the non-denominational option on your wedding day. The wedding vows are generally accompanied by a knot tying ceremony, specifically a fisherman’s knot which grows stronger the more pressure that is placed on it.

“I, (name), commit myself to you, (name of significant other), as (wife/husband) to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with, to respect you in everything as an equal partner, in the foreknowledge of joy and pain, strength and weariness, direction and doubt, for all the risings and settings of the sun. We tie these knots to symbolize our connection to one another. They represent our trust in each other and our combined strength together. “

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget that this is your wedding day and your wedding vows, there is no right or wrong, just what suits you best, (and perhaps your groom).

But, it is worth considering what you are actually saying in your wedding vows, regardless of your personal faith, the wedding vows, and indeed the wedding itself, are a chance to tell the world your intentions.

Your wedding day should be the happiest day of your life as you express your desire to commit to one man for the rest of your life, choose your vows wisely!

Also, check out the list of 16 best non-regions wedding readings.

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