Roundup: Sample Wedding Vows


Roundup: Sample Wedding Vows | A Practical Wedding

by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor

I’ll never forget writing my wedding vows. It was two days before our wedding and I had just gotten into a huge fight with my mom over something stupid like earrings that wasn’t really about earrings at all. (Weddings, man, they make you do crazy things.) I was exhausted, emotionally wrecked, and in no place to put together something important like vows. But, since I had procrastinated on the task (as I’m wont to do with the big important stuff), there I sat, at two in the morning, holed up in my little brother’s bedroom, crying into football-printed sheets and racking my brain for inspiration, while one of my bridesmaids slept in the bed across the room. At the time I remember being so mad that I had to take on such an important task while feeling very shitty, but in my heightened emotional state, what flowed from my fingers onto my computer screen ended up being near perfect. Those vows brought down the house and made more than a few grown men cry. I remember being more proud of that than any other part of the wedding. Forget the good food, the venue, the dress. If we’d made people understand why they were there in the first place, then I felt like we did our job well.

Fast forward four years and now I usually spend my weekends watching other people say vows to each other. You know how the wedding industry always talks about wedding details like they are going to tie an event together? (Oh you must match your napkins to your programs, that’s how you tie it all together!) Well, most of that is bull. Except vows.

At APW, we’re pretty big on ceremonies, but in the rest of the wedding industry, ceremonies tend to get overlooked for more fun things like pie and photo booths. But if I pulled together a holistic sum of all of the weddings I’ve ever attended, I would say unequivocally that the vows are what set the stage for the whole damn thing.  And that’s not to say that they even have to be hand-written vows. (Can I get a what what from the traditionalists in the back? Meg I’m looking at you.) You just have to mean them. Want to know what makes a wedding go from good to the best party I ever went to? It’s when I leave an emotionally charged ceremony abuzz with love and commitment. Because at that point, all I want to do is celebrate how awesome and in love you are. Possibly with tequila. Definitely with cake.

So today we’ve rounded up some of our favorites from the last open vows thread. Here’s to hoping they inspire you to create something meaningful for yourselves, and not at 2AM.

But before we dig in, APW is chock full of the amazing personal wedding vows that you’ve shared with us over the years. But for our next roundup, we want to switch it up and take things a more traditional route (because we know there are a bunch of you reading right now trying to find the perfect traditional vows for your wedding). So please share your traditional, religious, or historical vows with us in the comments and we’ll round them up into a post just like this one in the future.

Secular Wedding Vows

I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they were my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.

I love you unconditionally and without hesitation. I vow to love you, encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, and compassion. I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. Today, I choose you to be my husband/wife. I accept you as you are, and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.

Today, I promise you this: I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sorrow. I will share in your dreams and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement. Together, let us build a home filled with learning, laughter and light, shared freely with all who may live there. Let us be partners, friends and lovers, today and all of the days that follow.

Alex, you are my best friend. I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and grow with you. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart. I promise to support your dreams and to respect our differences, and to love you and be by your side through all the days and nights of our lives.

Do you, Sam promise to be a loving friend and partner in marriage, to talk and to listen, to trust and appreciate, to respect and cherish Alex’s uniqueness? Do you promise to support, comfort, and strengthen him/her through life’s joys and sorrows? Do you promise to share hopes and dreams as you build your lives together, and to grow with Alex in mind? Will you strive to build a home that is compassionate to all, full of respect and honor, filled with peace, happiness, and love? Do you promise to always be open and honest with Alex, and cherish him/her for as long as you both shall live?

I, Alex take you, Sam to be my husband/wife. I promise to always be your biggest fan and your partner in crime. I promise to create and support a family with you, in a household filled with laughter, patience, understanding, and love. I vow not just to grow old together, but to grow together. I will love you faithfully through the difficult and the easy. What may come, I will always be there, each one believing that love never dies. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep.

I, Sam, take you Alex to be the wife/husband of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life. We shall bear together whatever trouble and sorrow life may lay upon us, and we shall share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring us. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.

I, Alex, choose you Sam to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what things I will discover. I will respect you as a person, a partner, and an equal. There is little to say that you haven’t already heard, and little to give that is not already freely given. Before you asked me, I was yours and I am devoted to you in every way. I marry you with no hesitation or doubt, and my commitment to you is absolute. Do you take me to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife?

I choose you. To stand by your side and sleep in your arms. To be joy to your heart and food for your soul. To learn with you and grow with you, even as time and life change us both. I promise to laugh with you in good times and struggle alongside you in bad times. I promise to respect you and cherish you as an individual, a partner, and an equal, knowing that we do not complete, but complement each other. May we have many adventures and grow old together.

Today, surrounded by people who love us, I choose you Alex to be my partner. I am proud to be your wife/husband and to join my life with yours. I vow to support you, push you, inspire you, and above all love you, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live.

I take you to be my spouse. I promise to choose you every day, to love you in word and deed, to do the hard work of making now into always. To laugh with you, cry with you, grow with you, and create with you. To honor the divinity in you, of you, and around you. To be your kin and your partner in all of life’s adventures. Loving what I know of you and trusting what I don’t yet know, I give you my hand. I give you my love. I give you myself. Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?

I, Alex, do pledge you, Sam, my love, for as long as I live. What I possess in this world, I give to you. I will keep you and hold you, comfort and tend you, protect you and shelter you, for all the days of my life.

Religious Wedding Vows

I, Sam, take you, Alex, to be my wife, and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife/husband. I will be by your side to share with you your happiness and success, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and disappointment. As your companion, I will seek to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s plans and promises. Forever I devote my love and my life to you from this day forward.

By this ring you are sanctified to me as my wife in accordance with the traditions of Moses and Israel. Wear me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is infinitely strong. Many waters cannot quench love, no flood can sweep it away, I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (Jewish)

I take you for the love you hold in your heart, and vow to spend my life cultivating my love and care for you, for our family, and for all living things. Our relationship is my most important consideration; it gives me strength, and I vow to put every effort into strengthening it in turn through honesty, faithfulness, and patience. For all the days that we live with one another, I promise to spend each day working to become a more true version of myself, and I will do my upmost to help you do the same. In this effort, I take the Threefold Refuge vows, the Three Boundless precepts, the Ten Grave Precepts, as well as your wisdom and your council as my guides. (Buddhist)

In the presence of God, and these our family and friends, I take thee to be my beloved, promising with divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful spouse so long as we both shall live. (Quaker)

Roundup: Sample Wedding Vows | A Practical Wedding

How To Write Wedding Vows

Wedding Vows Open Thread I

Wedding Vows Open Thread II

How To Write A Modern Jewish Wedding Service

How To Write A Non-Traditional Wedding Service

Words To Read When You Wed: Water, Wine

Words To Read When You Wed: Olives, Leaves

Words To Read When You Wed: Ashes, Tea

Meg & David’s Vows

Photo by APW Sponsor Moodeous Photography

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  • Lauren

    During the last roundup, we hadn’t written our vows yet. We are getting married in a United Methodist church and, as the name implies, they are pretty big on ritual and tradition. And being methodical. Which is why I love worshiping there (the fella, as I have said many times here, is an atheist) but does not make for super personal individualized vows.

    Our pastor gave us guidelines: we must say “In the name of God” at the beginning (which the fella is being a true sport about), they must follow the general flow of the official UMC vows and we had to keep them short.

    The official vows are:

    In the Name of God,
    I, Name, take you, Name, to be my 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

    Here is what we came up with:

    In the Name of God,
    I, Lauren, take you, Chris, to be my husband,
    I promise to stand by you
    From this day forward,
    in good times and not-so-good times
    in times of joy and in times of sorrow.
    I promise to care for you when you are sick,
    Hug you when you’re sad,
    And share in your happiness always.
    I promise to spend time at home with you,
    And to ask you nicely to come on impromptu adventures with me.
    I even promise to let you play games in the dark all night.
    But most of all,
    I promise to love you,
    Forever and always.
    This is my solemn vow.

    In the Name of God,
    I, Chris, take you, Lauren, to be my wife,
    I promise to stand by you
    From this day forward,
    in good times and not-so-good times
    in times of joy and in times of sorrow.
    I promise to care for you when you are sick,
    Hug you when you’re sad,
    And share in your happiness always.
    I promise to spend time exploring new and exciting places with you
    And to ask you nicely to relax at home with me.
    I even promise to let you make messy crafts all over the house,
    But most of all,
    I promise to love you,
    Forever and always.
    This is my solemn vow.

    I don’t know if it really counts as traditional, and we haven’t got the final OK yet, but here’s my two cents for what it is worth. :)

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Our service, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (United States; there’s also one from that year from Scotland) had both CONSENTS:

    [Name] WILT thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

    ¶ The Man shall answer,
    I will.

    ¶ Then shall the Minister say unto the Woman,

    [Name] WILT thou have this Man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?

    ¶ The Woman shall answer,
    I will.

    and VOWS:

    ¶ Then shall they give their troth to each other in this manner. The Minister, receiving the Woman at her father’s or friend’s hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her right hand, and to say after him as followeth.

    I [Name] take thee [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, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

    ¶ Then shall they loose their hands; and the Woman with her right hand taking the Man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the Minister,

    I [Name] take thee [Name] 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 and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

    ¶ Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give unto the Woman a Ring on this wise: the Minister taking the Ring shall deliver it unto the Man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the Woman’s left hand. And the Man holding the Ring there, and taught by the Minister, shall say,

    WITH this Ring I thee wed: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

    FULL SERVICE:
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/Marriage.htm

    [sorry for the caps; it was the easiest way to organize the long text]

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    So exciting to see our vows included in this roundup! Ours are the second vows listed in the Secular section. We got a LOT of our inspiration from previous open threads here at APW. <3

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    Making people “understand why they’re there in the first place”

    Fuck YES. Thank you.

  • http://www.teastrumpets.wordpress.com kyley

    I have a ceremony question. We are doing a mix of vows. We are each writing our own top secret vows, then we are responding “We do” to some questions. But what are you supposed to do with the rings? Is that a third part of the vows, the ring exchange?

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      We forgot about this part until the rehearsal! We ended up having our officiant (who was a friend) say something like “Kelly and David have chosen to exchange rings as a symbol of their vows.” And then we just put them on one another without saying anything further.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      I’m sure there are plenty of ways to work it in. If you’d like to exchange rings at the end of the “We do” questions, What about adding “Do you each wish to exchange rings, in recognition and rememberance of these vows?” Then after you say the “we do,” you could just exchange them or have your officiant say “You may now exchange rings.”

      Personally, I’m a fan of using the “With this ring. . .” phrasing, and putting the ring on your spouse at the end of that sentence.

    • Laura C

      I really like this site, because it gives a sense of the flow of a ceremony, whatever you choose to say in the specific parts: http://unitarian-stcatharines.org/rites/personalizeWeddingCeremony.htm.sav

      • http://www.teastrumpets.wordpress.com kyley

        Oh that is exactly what I have been looking for!! Thank you!!

    • meg

      We’re having a post on ceremony structure next week! But yes, I think most people do it with the “we do” portion.

      • http://www.teastrumpets.wordpress.com kyley

        Oh I’m so excited for next week. Maybe we’ll good off until then to finalize our ceremony. There’s loads of great resources on the wording of certain moments, but very little on ceremony as a whole, so I’m thrilled apw is taking it on.

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.wordpress.com SarahHoppes

    So, just a warning: this is going to be mega long! (And copy/pasted from the last thread.”

    We wanted the best of both worlds -the time honored traditional vows that have been said over and over, and that our parents once said AND the vows we wrote ourselves. So we just did both.

    First we had a “statement of intent” with the traditional vows, where we answered “I do” and then had the personal ones:

    (officiant)
    In Empire Strikes Back, Yoda remarked: “Do or do not. There is no try.” If someone needs to try to articulate vows, that person is not ready to commit either way. But we all know you, Sarah and Chris, are very excited to openly exchange very personal, heartfelt vows.

    Sarah, do you take Chris to be your husband to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, and to love and cherish until death do you part?
    Chris, do you take Sarah to be your wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, and to love and cherish until death do you part?

    (officiant)
    Chris and Sarah, you have chosen to exchange personal vows.

    Sarah:

    Chicken, today, we get to say our promises out loud, in front of our friends and family, and maybe a few curious strangers. But before we ever made it here, we knew we were in this for the long haul. We created a home together, adopted a trio of feisty kitties,and forged our tiny family. We chose each other to embark on the journey of marriage, and all our future adventures.

    I choose you because:
    Your creativity and talent inspire me. I’ve never met another person who can write an off-the-cuff song about paying the electric bill, or spend 45 minutes on a tall tale about pasta and pesto.
    You make me gourmet meals on a regular basis, and expect nothing but a hand washing the dishes in return.
    You have a kind soul.
    You spin the tallest tales, but, in real life, you’re always honest with me.
    You encourage my talents, remind me of my worth,a nd never let me think poorly of my self.
    You give me the freedom to be silly, and you never judge me for random songs or sporadic dance moves. I love that I can pepper my speech with near nonsense words, and you still know exactly what I mean every time.
    You offer me a kindness and security I didn’t know was possible and never thought I needed. With you at my side, I know we can accomplish anything.
    As a foundation for our future together:

    I promise to love you, unconditionally, without hesitation, on your best day. And I promise to love you even more on your worst day.
    I promise to laugh and dance with you in times of joy and comfort you in times of sorrow.
    I promise to treat you as an equal partner. I will share in your dreams and challenge you to reach your greatest potential.
    I promise to love, respect, and trust you, and give you the best of myself.
    I will fight for our relationship when I need to, and I will never try to hurt your just because I’m angry or tired. I will always work to be worth of your love, and accept that neither of us is perfect.
    I promise wherever you go, we will go together, where we will build a life far greater than we could ever imagine on our own.
    I will trust you, even when we veer from gps directions, schedules, itineraries, and to-do lists.
    I promise you will always be my family, and we will always be a team.
    I will stand by you for better and worse, in sickness and health, in sunny days and hurricanes.

    You are my best friend, my shelter from the storm, my partner in mischief, and, from this day forward, my husband. I will love and respect you always. With these words, I marry you, and bind my life to yours.

    Chris:

    Sarah, over the last two years and some change, we have built a relationship, built a home, built a company, and adopted three cats. We can now add building a marriage to the list. Today, we exchange our vows and make our union official, joined by our friends and family.

    I choose to marry you because:
    You support and encourage even my most eccentric ideas. You allow and inspire me to be my most creative, and you always make my ideas better.
    You are compassionate and giving, and I have never me anyone as sensitive and warm as you. You make me want to volunteer at soup kitchens, work at animal shelters, and start a community garden.
    I can always count on your to be in my corner.
    With you in my life, I feel like I can write comic books, produce spec commercials, direct movies, and conquer the world.

    I’m promising:
    To always be there for you, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
    I’m promising to be your advocate, your confidant, and your partner in all our future exploits.
    I promise to love you, as I always have, unconditionally, for the rest of our days.
    I promise to respect and honor you in every way I know how, and learn new ways as they come.

    You are my best friend, my creative partner, my ally, my companion, and my wife! I will always love, respect, and honor you, and our life together. And this is all a long way of saying, “Hey! We’re married!”

  • Hannah K

    loving the use of “alex” and “sam.” (partly for the weirdo nostalgia value: i went to a super progressive high school that wrote its own math textbooks, and the teachers were very careful to be gender-neutral, which resulted in an ongoing geometry-word-problem saga about “alex the geologist” driving a jeep through the desert.)

  • http://www.dmarried.com Blair

    “I take you to be my spouse. I promise to choose you every day, to love you in word and deed, to do the hard work of making now into always. To laugh with you, cry with you, grow with you, and create with you. To honor the divinity in you, of you, and around you. To be your kin and your partner in all of life’s adventures. Loving what I know of you and trusting what I don’t yet know, I give you my hand. I give you my love. I give you myself. Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?”

    WHO WROTE THIS??? COME HERE AND CLEAN MY HEART UP OFF THE DESK forthwith!!
    <3

    • Emily

      “Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?” is a line from Whitman’s Song of the Open Road. :)

  • aditi

    I love APW but I’ve seen almost zero discussion of Hindu ceremonies here… Even the word vows I don’t think really applies to our ceremony, but this is what we are planning to have read during our seven rounds (saptapadi):

    The first round is taken to provide for and support each other, and share the responsibilities of their home.

    With the second round the couple prays for physical and mental strength and for a healthy and peaceful life.

    The third round is taken for the fulfilment of spiritual obligations. The Gods are invoked for blessing the couple with spiritual strength.

    The fourth round is taken for the attainment of happiness and harmony through mutual love and trust and a long joyous life together.

    The fifth round is taken to pray for the welfare of all living entities in the Universe and for begetting noble children.

    The sixth round is taken for bountiful seasons all over the world. The couple prays for bountiful seasons and seeks that they may go through these seasons together, just as they would share their joys and sorrows.

    With the last round they pray to remain true companions and life-long partners, and for a life of understanding, loyalty, and unity not only for themselves but also for the peace of the Universe.

    • Caroline

      That’s quite lovely. I feel you on vows not really applying to your ceremony. Jewish “vows” aren’t vows either, in fact, they are quite explicitly not vows. Jewish marriage is contractual, not oath-based. The “vow” above (the traditional bit is “By this ring you are sanctified to me as my wife in accordance with the traditions/laws of Moses and Israel.” the rest is two quotes from scriptures) is thought more of a statement of sanctification, but definitely not a vow. It’s discouraged, in Jewish tradition, to take marriage vows. Lots of couples today do have some sort of statement that is more personal in addition to the traditional statement above, much like many vows are today. (such as “I take you to be my spouse because ……” or the like). Traditional Jewish sources discourage actual vows however (because then you’d be breaking your vow if you divorce, which would be bad. A contract allows for the possibility of divorce, says what happens in case of divorce, and allows the possibility without leaving one an oathbreaker.).

      It’s always interesting when the aforementioned statement of sanctification is called a vow, since it isn’t one.

    • KJ

      That’s absolutely lovely. I would love to hear more about the mechanics of hindu ceremonies. Maybe someone could write a post about it

    • Emily

      All of the vows in this post were pulled from reader comments in the last open thread. We would obviously love to discuss Hindu ceremonies, but we can’t run what isn’t submitted to us. Maybe you could write us a post? :)

  • Michelle

    I loved our vows:

    ________________, today I take you to be my husband/wife. //
    Together we will create a home becoming a part of one another. //
    I vow to help create a life that we can cherish, //
    inspiring your love for me and mine for you. //
    I vow to be honest, caring and truthful, //
    to love you as you are and not as I want you to be, //
    and to grow old by your side as your love and best friend.

  • ElfPuddle

    He and I are having a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony on July 20th.

    Here are our vows:
    I, Him, take you, ElfPuddle, 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.
    I, ElfPuddle, take you, Him, to be my 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.

    Short, sweet, direct, and true.

    The priest blesses the rings with these words:
    May the Lord bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your love and fidelity.

    Then we put them on each other saying,
    ElfPuddle, 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.
    Him, 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.

    There are many other blessings and verbage involved in our mass, including a vow I’ve written to his kids, but the vows to each other are ancient and as binding as can be. :)

    • Kelly

      We also used the Roman Catholic vows. I love the idea of the traditional vows connecting me to thousands of other couples who have used the same words for so many years. They still felt incredibly personal because we were saying them with sincerity.

      • ElfPuddle

        YES!!!YES!!!YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        We have been adamant through our entire engagment (we were engaged on July 17, 2009) that we are doing this the traditionally Catholic way. Mass. Ancient vows. No unity candle unless our pastor insists on it (no fighting with Father). We are “personalizing” the ceremony by choosing specific things inside the mass. It’s really mind-blowing how very different one nuptial mass is from another. You don’t have to hang from skin-hooks to make your wedding “your own”. It already is your own…because you mean everything and are the ministers of your own Sacrament.

        (Which is not to say that non-Catholic ceremonies are doing it wrong. Your mileage may vary. This is the mileage for us.)

        • Sheila

          Also had a Catholic wedding, and agree about why it meant a lot to me. I’d be surprised if the pastor would insist on a unity candle (but maybe you’ve already had conversations about this?) since most Catholic liturgists/priests I’ve talked to think the unity candle is an extra, secular addition. If you’re having a full Mass, the Communion rite is about as big a “unity” symbol you could create, so that should be enough! If for some reason your pastor does want a unity candle and you don’t, maybe try that argument and see if it works. :)

  • http://blogofadventure.wordpress.com Seren

    We’re taking traditional Episcopal vows, and adding to them the parts that we felt were missing. Our parts are first, the traditional vows are second. We’re not even Episcopal (my family is, kind of), but the vows really struck a chord with both of us.

    Let us remember to not take ourselves too seriously,
    yet be sincere and thoughtful as we build our home and our family
    Let us remember to be careful and loving in our words and actions.

    Join with me and I will be,
    a strength in need,
    a counselor in perplexity,
    a comfort in sorrow,
    and a companion in joy.

    And reading it makes me teary even now. I’m 13 days away from being married and I’m freaking out.

  • http://moirakatson.com PAW

    Our vows were traditional (very old) Unitarian vows:

    “I, ______, take you, ______, to be the [husband/wife] of my days, to be the [father/mother] of my children, to be the companion of my house. We will keep together what measure of trouble and sorrow our lives may lay upon us, and we will share together our store of goodness and plenty and love.”

    It was part of a religious service, but I see no reason it couldn’t be a part of a non-religious service! I really loved them, and I hope someone else is able to use them!

    • Del678

      I am totally going to steal this. I’m an atheist and absolutely think this could be used in a non-religious ceremony. I really like how it emphasised the home and family which is really important to us. For us, marriage is not just about two people who happen to be in love (we’re not fans of the lovely dovey vows), but also about the the conscious decision to build a home and life together, and to grow a family (hopefully) together which is strong enough to withstand the bad and bring on the good!

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    what, what.

    we basically came into our ceremony with no idea how the whole thing worked, and so very little preconceived, except we were both (especially me) adamant about traditional vows. i’m still not sure why, except that i don’t feel like there’s anything to add – like adding personal touches would make it too specific and take away from the broad truth of it (…or something?)

    so, ours were:
    “I _____ take you _____ to be my wife, 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, ‘till death do us part.”

    (also, i love all of them, because of everything you said in your introduction.)

    • http://www.rachellerawlingsphotography.com Rachelle

      We basically said these vows too, except for the last bit we said “for all the days of my life.”

      We also wrote each other top-secret, private letters that we read to each other prior to the ceremony that we think of as our private vows – hands down one of the best parts of the day.

    • Kelly

      “broad truth”
      That’s exactly the phrase I was looking for.

  • heres_a_llama

    My fiancé and I did not want to write our own vows. We felt like it was too much pressure to put on ourselves to write these meaningful, heartfelt, tear-jerker words while being incredibly intimate in front of 100 people. No gracias.

    Instead, we decided to fall back on the words that have suited people for thousands of years.

    Per Jewish law, my fiancé will state the traditional Jewish wedding vow to me, “Harei at m’kudeshet li b’taba’at zo kedat Moshe v’Yisrael”. Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.

    My rabbi, an egalitarian Conservative, left it up to me to decide if I wanted to say something at all, as it’s not required, and if I did, to decide what it was.

    I could have said the female-to-male version of the phrase my fiancé would say to me, “Harei atah m’kudash li…” but I thought it sounded overly legal-jargon sounding.

    So I searched within the Tanakh, first in the clichéd Shir HaShirim (Song of Solomon to Christians), and finally found my inspiration in Hosea, chapter 2: 21-22:

    V’erastikh li l’olam, v’erastikh li b’tzedek uvmishpat uv’chesed uv’rachamim
    V’erastikh li b’emunah v’yada’at et Adonai.

    I betroth you to myself forever; I betroth you to myself in righteousness and in justice, in love and in mercy; I betroth you to myself in faithfulness, and you shall know G-d.

    (This is written to a woman…it can be edited to be written to a man…)

    • rys

      Hosea serves as the starting point for Rachel Adler’s reconceptualization of Jewish marriage in Engendering Judaism (chapter 5)! She retools the Jewish wedding by replacing kinyan (acquisition) with shutafut (partnership) and thus the ketubah with a brit ahuvim (lover’s covenant). The reading of the lover’s covenant becomes part of the ceremony, and I know a few people who have used that as the starting point for their ceremonies (some of whom adopt all of Adler’s ideas, some of whom have used pieces). Hers is a book of theology and practice, but I think it’s quite accessible, for those who want the longer and deeper version of what she does.

    • kat

      you know that God isn’t a bad word right?

      • Bewildebeest

        In Judaism, you’re not supposed to write out the name of God–or G-d, as you prefer. I’m a lapsed Jew, hence knowing this but not applying it.

        So, yes, I’m willing to bet the bride DOES know it’s not a bad word.

  • 39bride

    We did traditional vows because we didn’t what to share all our deepest feelings in front of everyone, and we consciously chose the Episcopal version though we are not Episcopal, especially because it didn’t end with “til death do us part” (both our mothers were widowed relatively young, so we’re very conscious of focusing on the life we have been given for now):

    “In the name of God, I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish all the days of my life. This is my solemn vow.”

    For the rings, we wanted to emphasize the symbolism of the ring because our church doesn’t traditionally exchange rings in the U.S. (more common in our church in other countries), and again ended up with the Episcopal. We particularly liked the idea of vowing to honor each other in our being/owning because it spoke to how we behave within our communities as a bonded pair (we left off the Father/Son/Holy/Ghost because it sounded too liturgical for our more informal ceremony):

    Pastor: Father, bless these rings which ________ and ________ have set apart to be visible signs of the inward and spiritual bond which unites their hearts. As they give and receive these rings, may they testify to the world of the covenant made between them here.

    Bride/Groom: I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.

    • 39bride

      I forgot to add that I love the idea of doing traditional vows because it feels to me like it is adding another link in a long chain of those who have vowed…

    • lady brett

      i love that ring exchange text. i had forgotten that it was the exact one we used, but i had to check because its beauty makes me catch my breath!

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    OMG, where was this roundup two years ago! We wrote our vows starting the night before, and I have pictures of me finishing them at the hairdresser. They turned out great for us (but are currently at home, where I am not on the same continent, so can’t post them).

  • Cass

    We had three sets of vows that I put together from our church’s wedding ceremony book, the internet, and my own writing. The first set reflects our vision for our marriage, the second follows traditional vows with a couple things added. I also wrote up community vows that the our family and friends said to us.

    Cass and D, do you freely choose to bind yourselves together in marriage? Will you help your love to grow; will you receive into your understanding the other’s feelings, thoughts, and intentions? Will you be partners with God, the source of all creativeness’s to see that your lives reveal a quest for beauty, truth, and goodness, through faith, hope, and love? Will you help be faithful to each other throughout your lives? Do you pledge to share the love you have for each other with all living beings and to be a couple that lets their marriage radiate into others, making their lives more beautiful because of it?
    “I will”

    Community Vows
    Now I ask that you stand as you are able, and that you turn to face D and Cass, as they stand today before you.
    [Audience stands]

    As family and friends, you form a community of support and love that surrounds Cassie and Doug and will continue to sustain them as they move forward in marriage. Each of you, by your presence here today is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other, and to fulfill their responsibility to love their community. Will you, surround this couple in love, offering them the joys of your friendship? Will you support them in their relationship? At times of conflict will you offer them the strength of your wisest counsel and the comfort of your thoughtful concern? At times of joy, will you celebrate with them, nourishing their love for one another?
    Guests Respond: We will
    Thank you, you may be seated. [Audience sits]

    The Exchange of Vows
    I, Cass take you, D , to be my husband from this day forward. Spoken in the loving presence of our family, friends, and the Creator, these are my vows to you. In plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, I promise to support, honour and laugh with you. I promise to grow with you, trusting in the person you will become, and sharing our lives with love, respect, and faith. Together we will build a home and family. I promise to love and to cherish you, to be true and loyal to you, and that we will be best friends as long as our lives will last. With these words and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.

    The Exchange of Rings
    The circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe. It is a symbol of holiness and of perfection and peace. These rings, now warmed by those you love the most will forever show the world you are encircled by the love and blessings of family and friends and that the two of you are now of one heart. May your ring always be the symbol of the unbroken circle of love in which, wherever you go, you will always return unto one another to your togetherness.

    ______, with this ring, I give you my promise that from this day forward you shall not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home.

    Let these rings continue to be a symbol of the value, the purity, and the constancy of true wedded love, and as sign and seal of the vows that you have just made.

  • M.E.

    “If we’d made people understand why they were there in the first place, then I felt like we did our job well.”

    Thiiiisss this this this. Have written it down for writing my vows.. someday :)

  • tess

    Perfect timing! Thanks in part to APW I am starting to search for more traditional vow options beyond the “’til death do us part” ones. At first I assumed we’d want to write our own vows, but reading APW and thinking more about what the event is all about has gotten us more into the idea of traditional vows. Still, not coming from any religious tradition, it would be great to see what our options are in the traditional vow category.

  • Rymenhild

    For modern takes on traditional Jewish vows, consider the options at Alternatives to Kiddushin. The technical difficulty the Alternatives blog aims to fix is that the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony includes a ritual where the husband acquires the wife from her father and promises to take care of her. This structure, while extremely meaningful to many people I know, doesn’t always work for all of us feminist Jews. So how do we create an egalitarian ritual in which nobody acquires anyone else, a ritual that works for equal couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, while maintaining the feeling of observant Jewish ritual and at least some of the legal content of a Jewish wedding?

    Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (then a Conservative rabbinical student) put together a set of options for egalitarian wedding ceremonies and posted them as the Alternatives to Kiddushin blog. Her explanations often depend on fairly technical points of Jewish law, so they can be hard to follow, but they’re definitely worth investigating if you’re looking for feminist takes on traditional Jewish weddings.

  • KW

    We had a secular ceremony, down to the readings and blessings. We looked to APW and other online sources when putting it together. The vows were based off someone else’s with only slight modification, so if we used yours, thank you! They were perfect for us.

    Vows (we said the same thing and had our officiant prompt us because I didn’t want the stress of memorizing):

    Kris/Joe, you are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish and honor you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life.

    Exchange of rings (after a blessing of the hands by our officiant):

    Kris/Joe, I offer this ring to you as a symbol of my love and of the vows I have just spoken.

  • Lynsey

    I firmly believe that this is some of the very best APW has to offer. These round ups and open threads have been so wonderfully informative and inspiring. Thank you.

  • http://www.ouatinreallife.blogspot.com Erin

    I am a life-long United Methodist nerd and also a writer. So the vows to me were the whole POINT of everything (along with the rest of the words used in our ceremony). Our UMC pastor gave us several choices of vows we could use and also said we were welcome to make up our own. I love tradition, but also wanted to make sure that what we were saying were things that we meant and chose and owned. So I took the suggested vows/wording, pulled apart the pieces I liked and then fit it all together like a puzzle. I also changed any word choices that made me feel weird (biblical submission references out, mutual love in) or that we disagreed with theologically or in a “this is not our marriage” way. I also alternated who went first answering the vows for the different parts….because equality y’all!

    Statements of Willingness:

    The covenant of marriage is one that can be entered into only by person who are both legally and spiritually free to offer themselves to one another.

    T, do you come of your free will and with a conscious desire to be united in marriage with E?

    Response: I do

    Will you promise to care for E in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?

    Response: I will

    E, do you come of your free will and with a conscious desire to be united in marriage with T?

    Response: I do

    Will you promise to care for T in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?

    Response: I will

    The Blessing of the Community

    The union of E and T brings together two family traditions, two systems of roots, in the hope that a new family tree may become strong and fruitful. Theirs is a personal choice and a decision for which they are primarily responsible. Yet their life will be enriched by the support of the communities from which each comes.

    Will you, members of their community, encourage T and E in their marriage?

    Response: We will.

    Do you celebrate with them the decision they have made to choose each other?

    Response: We do.

    Will you continue to stand beside them, yet not between?

    Response: We will.

    Exchange of Vows:

    In the name of God,
    I, ___, take you, ____
    to be my 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,
    until we are parted by death.
    This is my solemn vow.

    I promise to love you
    and to support your growing
    toward full maturity.
    I promise to seek peace
    for ourselves, for our children,
    and for the world
    which encircles us.
    As I commit myself
    to care for you,
    I also offer myself
    into your loving care
    now and throughout our lives. (repeat for other spouse)

  • http://www.asafemooring.blogspot.com Kirsty

    My father in law is a minister and he married us. When we were planning, he sent us this huge book called the Protestant Wedding Sourcebook and it was super useful if you’re not tied to a particular denomination. It contains full wedding ceremonies from lots of different denominations, set out by category so you can easily compare the different parts of the ceremony and mix and match. I may have written out all of the options on flash cards and pieced our ceremony together like a wedding jigsaw. Geek for life.

    ANYWAY, here’s what we eventually chose for the three main parts of the marriage ceremony:

    DECLARATION OF INTENT

    MINISTER: Findlay, will you have Kirsty to be your wife, and be faithful to her alone?

    FINDLAY: I will.

    ANDREW: Kirsty, will you have Findlay to be your husband, and be faithful to him alone?

    KIRSTY: I will.

    Congregation stands

    MINISTER: Will you witness this covenant between Kirsty and Findlay, respect their marriage, and sustain them with your friendship and care?

    CONGREGATION: We will.

    Keep standing for rest of vows

    VOWS

    Hold both hands, repeat after minister.

    FINDLAY: In the presence of God and before our family and friends,
    I, Findlay, take you, Kirsty, to be my wife.
    All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you.
    Whatever the future holds, I will love you and stand by you,
    as long as we both shall live.
    This is my solemn vow.

    KIRSTY: In the presence of God and before our family and friends,
    I, Kirsty, take you, Findlay, to be my husband.
    All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you.
    Whatever the future holds, I will love you and stand by you,
    as long as we both shall live.
    This is my solemn vow.

    EXCHANGE OF RINGS

    FINDLAY: I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

    KIRSTY: I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

    BLESSING

    Then his dad forgot to tell us to kiss and went straight on to the next part, which was kind of awkward…

  • Rosie

    Since they’re not on here yet, here are the Church of England wedding vows, which we used.

    The declarations:
    Name, will you take Name to be your wife/husband? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honour and protect her/him, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?
    I will

    Will you, the families and friends of Name and Name, support and uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?
    We will

    The vows:
    I Name, take you Name, 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,
    till death us do part,
    according to God’s holy law;
    in the presence of God I make this vow

    Exchanging rings:
    Name, I give you this ring
    as a sign of our marriage.
    With my body I honour you,
    all that I am I give to you,
    and all that I have I share with you,
    within the love of God,
    Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    • http://www.idoyourwedding.com Deborah Deras

      I am a bilingual spiritual wedding officiant in Los Angeles. How can I set up a banner on your site?

  • http://cloverandlace.com Helen

    Hey, #4 in the secular section are our vows! What a lovely surprise. I loved our vows. :)

  • http://brusselsproutblog.blogspot.com/ Cassandra

    My (now) husband doesn’t like public speaking, and didn’t want to memorize anything or have to say something long that he might stumble over, so we stuck to very “traditional” vows (with a slight tweaking) while writing the rest of the ceremony to be explanatory of the meaning behind our vows.

    I ______ accept you, _______ to be my husband/wife, 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; I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life from this day forward, until death do us part.

    The “in sickness and in health” part is especially significant for us, as those close to us know, because I became very ill (and subsequently very poor!) a few months after our engagement, but we chose to go forward with the marriage anyway. We joke that we’ve already got the “in sickness” part down, so it’s time for some “in health” to show up!

  • mira

    They’re all lovely in their own way.

    We’re not much for public speaking or gushing, so we’re just sticking with the ‘default’ civil ceremony vows, whatever those are! Might find out this week.

  • Flan

    We used the Quaker vows above, which are also on our marriage certificate. We just exchanged our rings as we said our vows. I read them every day (the certificate is on our living room wall).

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  • Kat

    Very topical as we’re just back from our counselling session with our pastor and reading over ideas for vows…but as per usual I think we’re going with our tear ducts and doing what makes us cry….because that’s how we know the thing we’re doing is meaningful and important to us both.

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  • rae

    here are mine, a work in progress still, cobbled (as you all say) together thanks to this lovely community.

    Justin, Where do I even begin? I remember when we first met and we didn’t say a word to one another that entire night, I also remember glancing over at you a few times and catching you glancing back, but what I mostly remember and will never forget is how grateful I am that Adam and I befriended one another that evening.

    Because a few days later, we all hung out, and you soon learned that, that first impression you had of me, wasn’t true, and I soon learned how much you could make me laugh, I remember going home the first night we hung out and my cheeks actually hurt from laughing so much.

    Now that we are here, on our wedding day, sharing our love with our family and friends, I just want to say, I am so honored that I will soon (like super soon) be called your wife, you are my best friend. My greatest supporter. My biggest fan. I am so lucky.

    I knew early on in our relationship that you were a keeper, It was actually after one of our first arguments, when you calmly told me, Rachel, we need to be on one another’s side, that the world can be tough enough, we should make each others lives easier not complicate them, that you and I are playing on the same team, and that’s when it clicked for me.

    Life is all about making choices, we make them every second of every day. And today I choose you. Every second from here on out I will choose you. I choose you to be my partner, my husband, my family.

    Marrying you has got to be one of the easiest choices I’ve ever made, because I have faith in you. In us. I have faith in your honesty, in your integrity and mostly in your love for me.

    I vow to support you, for who you are. I vow to respect you, for who you are. I vow to always listen to you and be there for you. I vow to never settle for less than what you and I deserve. The best.

    I promise to love you all the time, every day, even on those days I don’t like you all that much, because you are always worth it.

    I chose you, Justin, to be none other than yourself, loving you for who you are, always. I choose our life together, to build it together. I choose you, Justin, for my forever.

    • FutureB4

      Sorry but that’s just waaaaaay too long. It’s a wedding vow, not your life story. Save that for the reception speech.

  • Gloria

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  • cm

    well my wedding is very soon….. and i need help with finding the right vows and what do we want far as traditional or non traditional……… help?

  • Brandy

    Consider funny wedding vows! It doesn’t have to be all sappy and sweet. Couples should remember that it’s THEIR wedding and not feel like they can’t be themselves when promising themselves to the other.

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  • Keralyn Nicole Terrell

    These vows are so beautiful thank you so much for your help I cried reading these thinking about saying something like this to my soon to be husband, they are perfect.

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