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)
Photo by APW Sponsor Moodeous Photography