About Wedding Vows
Wedding vows, also known as marriage vows, are promises couples make to one another during their wedding ceremony about loving and honoring their new spouse.
Wedding vows traditionally include three components:
Acknowledgement of their new relationship with their spouse. This can be made with statements like "I take you as my husband" and "today, you will become my wife."
Promise of love and compassion. The statement "for better or for worse, for richer or poorer" is a classic example of such a promise. Simple statements like "I will always love you as I do now" will also suffice.
Expression of the length of the marriage. The "until death do us part" portion of marriage vows; phrases like "forever and ever" and "eternally" are common here.
If the ceremony is a traditional one, make sure these three things are present in the wedding vows you or the couple draft when you are hired to perform a wedding. If the couple is not looking to adding to wedding conventions, feel free to ditch one or more of these things.
Please know that many religious denominations have strict requirements for how marriage vows must be constructed. If you are about to perform a wedding for a devoutly Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox couple, for example, it is advisable that you help them research those churches' traditional vows.
How to Help Couples Prepare Wedding Vows
Wedding vows are probably the single most personalized aspect of the wedding ceremony. It is thus vital that you work extensively with the couple every time you perform a wedding to make sure that their personalities, hobbies, and interests are expressed in their wedding vows.
For example, the new wife of a rabid football fan should incorporate her husband's favorite team into her wedding vows as doing so will invariably make them more meaningful to him. It might also be meaningful and touching to include information about the couple's courtship in the marriage vows, like where they met, where they had their first date, or where they became engaged. Couples with shared passions could style their vows in the same manner, like the nautical themed marriage vows given by a couple in the 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers.
It is possible that laissez-faire couples will defer to your experience performing weddings and trust in you to write their wedding vows. If this is the case, make sure that you determine if they have any preferences for how they want their vows to be written. It is possible that these couples will be fine with bland and generic vows, but you'll dampen the magic of their special day if they are expecting their wedding vows to ignite fireworks. It is your job as a wedding officiant to make sure this never happens.
Sample Wedding Vows
You will need to spend some time thinking about and/or preparing wedding vows every time you perform a wedding, so it behooves you to read the sample wedding vows below so as to get an idea of their format, tone, and phrasing. Feel free to send these wedding vows to the couple every time you perform a wedding, as they should serve as inspiration for them if they are writing their own.
Example Wedding Vow #1
I (name), promise to share my hopes, my dreams, and my life with you. I never thought I would meet someone as loving, as generous, or as beautiful as you. I promise to care for you and stand by your side during the good times as well as the bad. I cherish the memories we have created together, and I know we will create even more in the coming years. I take you, (name), as my (husband/wife), in front of our friends and family, so that we may spend the rest of our lives together. I love you more than I can say.
Example Wedding Vow #2
Ever since the first time I laid eyes on you, I knew I wanted to spend every second of my life with you. I am a better person for having known you, and I promise to honor and respect you. Your intelligence, grace, and beauty fill my heart every day. I take this vow, (name), to love and cherish you as long as I live.
Example Wedding Vow #3
I, (name), take you, (name), to be my best friend, partner, and co-conspirator in all of our video game endeavors. I promise to protect you and keep you when times are hard, in sickness, and whenever you are at 10% health and facing a boss. I feel as if we were put on this earth to care for one another. I vow to love you, respect you, and always let you be Player 1. You are my soul mate.
Example Wedding Vow #4
I promise to be faithful to you, (name), for the rest of my life. I vow to care for you, in good times and bad, when we are up in the first and down in the fourth. I promise to treat you with the respect and honor you deserve. I will be there for you in sickness and health, during preseason scouting and deep into overtime. I, (name), will give you my loyalty and love for the rest of our lives.
Example Wedding Vow #5
On this day, in front of our loved ones, I (name), take you, (name), to be my treasured partner. I vow to love you unconditionally, help you through all of life's struggles, and support you in all of your dreams. I will always be honest with you, and I will grow with you emotionally and spiritually. I will love you for all the days of my life.
This is the third blog post in the Perform a Wedding Series. Click here to read an informational blog post that describes the purpose of and the five wedding ceremony components covered by this series. Please email us if there are aspects of the wedding that we forgot that you would like us to cover.
Category: Perform a Wedding