The decision to write your own vows can be a wonderful way to personalize your nuptials. Naturally, there are a few rules you need to follow in order to craft traditional wedding vows that reflect your faith and the love you share with your significant other.
Explore these different approaches on how to write traditional vows for a wedding ceremony. These ideas will help you stick to your wedding timeline and find the perfect words and phrases to give the ceremony an extra sense of personal significance.
1. Protestant Wedding Vows
One of the most straightforward approaches to traditional wedding vows is the protestant template. This is the basic script that most people are familiar with already, beginning with a promise to have and hold, and following through to the standard “till death do us part.”
Whether you are a member of this faith or not, using the protestant script for your own vows is a fantastic way to keep the exchange simple, heartfelt, and spiritual.
Example: “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.”
2. Baptist Wedding Vows
Baptist weddings share an abundance of traits with the other denominations of Christianity. This means that the template to consider for Baptist wedding vows will look quite similar to those in a traditional Christian ceremony.
Music may be infused into the exchange of vows, including the addition of a choir, so take these factors into consideration when planning your vows. Best to keep it short and simple when you’re being underscored by the joyful sounds of the congregation.
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.”
Repeat: “I, ________, take thee ________, to be my husband/wife, and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true husband/wife.”
Example 3: ( Rings Exchange)
“With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, ’til death do us part.”
3. Catholic Wedding Vows
Some vows have more conditions than others. For example, in the Roman Catholic faith, some priests require more control over the wedding ceremony. In fact, a number of churches will not even let couples use their own vows out of fear of breaking tradition.
Before you assume you can include personalized vows in your service, speak with the priest who will be officiating the ceremony. In some cases, the priest may ask questions of the bride before the vows as a way of ensuring the relationship is both consensual and based on love.
“_____ and _____, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”
“Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?”
“Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”
4. Hindu Wedding Vows
There is an assortment of rituals involved with a traditional Hindu wedding. Since Hinduism itself is older than all Western religions, the ceremonies do not usually involve many of the same elements.
While there are no vows in the way that many have come to think of them, there is a portion of the ceremony dedicated to exchanging promises. The tradition of the Seven Steps, where a bride and groom march around the flame to honor the fire god, is when the couple can make personal exchanges with each other for the future.
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.
5. Jewish Wedding Vows
The origins of most Jewish wedding ceremonies do not include traditional wedding vows of any kind. Still, traditions change as the years move on. Due to the popularity of exchanging vows in the west, members of the Jewish faith are often inclined to partake in this modern custom.
Both Reform and Conservative sects will allow vows and there are general templates that can be followed for both. Speak with the officiant beforehand to get an idea of what you are allowed to do.
Example of Reform Vows:
“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?”
Example of Conservative Vows: “Do you, ____, take _____ to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to love, to honor and to cherish?”
6. Methodist Wedding Vows
Some approaches to wedding vows are so simple that there is no need to add much more to the process. The Methodist ceremony, for example, involves a call and response declaration of consent.
Another template that has been popularized over the years by television and film, these vows put most of the speaking duties on the officiant. The bride and groom will simply reply to each statement with “I do.” You can add some custom lines, but the script usually remains unchanged and in accordance with tradition.
Officiant: “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?”
Wedded couple: “I do.”
7. Lutheran Wedding Vow
Another simple and traditional approach to wedding vows can be found in the Lutheran faith. Lutherans follow a script that is quite similar to some of the suggested templates found here already.
The emphasis here is placed on the couple, who speak a majority of the vows to one another as a promise for the future. There is a lot of room for customization with this script, so take time to review the template and get an idea of how you can put a personal spin on some of the promises being exchanged.
Example 1: “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.”
Example 2: “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.”
8. Episcopal Wedding Vows
Calling upon the love of God during your vows may be important for you. With the Episcopal approach to traditional wedding vows, this is the general idea.
Like many vows that fall under the Christian banner, the templates for an Episcopal exchange are usually about the promises that the couple makes for the future. This means you can feel free to include a few personal promises when it feels right. Some simple touches here and there can keep the vows from getting too weighted down in religious imagery.
“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.”
“______, 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, honor 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?”
“I vow to be your faithful husband/wife, understanding that marriage is a lifelong union, and not to be entered into lightly, for the purpose of mutual fellowship, encouragement, and understanding; for the procreation of children and their physical and spiritual nurture. I hereby give myself to you in this cause with my sacred vow before God.
9. Presbyterian Wedding Vows
There are two different approaches you can take when exploring a Presbyterian ceremony. In one script, the bride and groom take on the role of exchanging the vows. The standard promises will be made before God and those gathered as witnesses and some personal wishes can be included as well.
Presbyterian ceremonies also follow the script where the officiant takes on the role of a speaker. Whether you decide to exchange the vows yourselves or the priest takes on the task is entirely up to you.
“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.”
Officiant: “________, 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?”
Wedded couple: “I do.”
10. Quaker Wedding Vows
One of the older and more traditional groups found across the United States, those who consider themselves Quakers have an array of simple and meaningful traditions. There is nothing overtly fancy or complex about this ceremony.
The vows will be a simple exchange between husband and wife, keeping the entire process as brief as possible. There are some who wish to add a bit more, but you’ll need to consult with your church before you assume this is allowed.
Example: “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.”
11. Non-Denominational Wedding Vows
The secular wedding has become the most popular option in the western world. With people turning away from the archaic rules and regulations of older religious institutions, the non-denominational wedding is a perfect way to go when you want total control over your ceremony.
When you don’t need to concern yourself with adhering to a script from a particular faith, you can include whatever words, phrases, and ideas you prefer in your exchange of traditional wedding vows. The sky is the limit, so be sure to have fun and put a lot of thought into what you decide to include.
“I ________, take thee ________, to be my husband/wife.
To have and to hold,
in sickness and in health,
for richer or for poorer,
and I promise my love to you forever more.”
12. Native American Marriage Vows
There are currently 547 recognized tribes of Native Americans across the United States. Though the umbrella term “native” lumps all peoples together, the truth is that these groups have thousands upon thousands of different customs that vary greatly from one tribe to the next.
These days, many non-natives will homogenize the ancient cultures and practices and make it seem like Native Americans were a unified group, which was not the case. If you are not native, you should not be using any customs in your own wedding. However, those of a particular tribe should consult with elders to learn more about the correct way to conduct the ceremony.
“Now you will feel no rain, for you will be shelter to each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warm to the other. Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. Soon you will go to your resting place, to enter into the days of your togetherness. May your days be good and long upon the earth.”
13. Unitarian Wedding Vows
There is also a lot of freedom that can be found in the Unitarian faith. Though there are a few parameters that you must follow, the template for a Unitarian service is quite flexible.
All you need to do is sit down with your partner and discuss what route you would like to take with your vows. Whether you opt for something more traditional or you go with a modern approach to the exchange, the freedom offered by this faith can be a huge help when crafting your own personal vows.
Officiant: “________, 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?”
Wedded couple: “I do.”
14. Muslim Wedding Vows
Traditionally, followers of Islam do not exchange vows during a wedding ceremony. Instead, it follows a very similar approach as some Christian ceremonies, putting the weight of speaking on the officiant.
The imam, who officiates the service, will speak to the couple and the guests about the meaning of marriage and the importance of the roles of husband and wife. Like many customs, however, modern couples frequently decide to include vows these days since it has become a popular choice. In such a case, there are ways to create appropriate vows that follow Muslim customs.
Bride: “I, ________, offer you in 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.”
No matter what faith you and your betrothed adhere to, there are all kinds of considerations to take when crafting your own vows. Whether you decide to go with traditional wedding vows or you explore more personal options, it is important to gain perspective on the rules of your faith first. Once you know what is and isn’t allowed, you can feel free to change up the text however you’d like.