200 Real Wedding Vows For Inspiration

The best secular wedding vows on the internet

Bride holding handwritten real wedding vowsA few weeks ago we ran a (fabulous) article by Jen Girdish on How To Write Wedding Vows. In the comments, someone suggested that we run an open thread where people could share their own real wedding vows for inspiration.  So, if you’d like to share what you said when you pledged to spend your life with your beloved, do so in the comments. And summer brides with writers block? You’re welcome.

PS. You can read our (pretty traditional) real wedding vows here.

Picture: Lauren McGlynn Photography

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  • My husband and I each wrote our own personal vows. (The handwritten copies are now framed and hung in our house.) We also said a set of ‘traditional’ vows. They are as follows: I, Amy*, take you, Stephen, to be my husband. I give you my hand and my heart. I pledge to share my life openly with you, and to speak loving truth to you. I promise to respect and honor you, care for you in tenderness, support you with patience and love, and walk with you through all the seasons of our lives.*

  • Wife didn’t want me to share *all* of our vows on the internet, but here’s what I was allowed to share: http://queerskiesahead.com/2010/12/across-the-shoreline-what-this-would-mean/

    We wrote our own and had a friend read them over; funny and wonderful that we both referenced a lot of the same things. The “I, Bird, take you…” part was the same for both of us, and we repeated after the minister.

    Since getting married and talking to other people who got married, I highly recommend NOT trying to memorize your vows! I enjoyed reading mine and carrying them around, and being able to read hers afterward. Friends who did memorize were so focused on not forgetting them that they couldn’t focus leading up to the vows. Anyone else have experience with this?

    • I will totally second not trying to memorize them. We tried, but I got SO flustered and nervous and blanked out any time I thought about actually DOING THEM. So, THE MORNING OF, I said screw it, printed them out & taped them inside the blank thank you cards that matched our invitations.

      They looked awesome & I felt 100% more confident, just knowing that I had them THERE. It was half recited, half read & totally awesome.

    • Totally agree! We *did* memorize but the hubster got super nervous during the ceremony, forgot them, and then the officiant (who had a copy) pointed to the wrong spot and the hubster made his entire vows referencing me as a “he” and stating that he took me as his “husband,” etc. . . .

      Good comic relief, of course, but it probably would have been better to have a classy card to reference instead . . .

      • Anna

        We memorized ours, and were really happy that we did–we liked being able to look at each other while we were saying them and it was fun to practice together beforehand. However, they were pretty short, only about 5-6 lines.

    • meg

      Do you know you’re not allowed to memorize them in Judaism? You have to repeat the hebrew vows back, a few words at a time. The idea is that if some people memorized them, in would be trying to show off in the eyes of god/ your community, at a moment when you should be humble.

      • Really? I always thought that traditionally vows weren’t incorporated into the Jewish ceremony … the Conservative wedding I went to I didn’t think had them? But that’s interesting because while our Rabbi didn’t say we weren’t ALLOWED to memorize them, he very strongly urged us to give him a copy so that we didn’t HAVE to memorize them. So maybe that was partly where he was coming from….

      • Ali

        I really like this tid bit, as it makes me feel way better that there is no way I would be able to memorize them! Thanks for sharing.

    • Chelsea

      Our priest made us memorize them, the logic being that it was us making the promise, not him. They were short, just a few sentences, and I liked having them memorized – I still know them!

      We also recited a poem during our ceremony, and had that about 90% memorized. We got the giggles during that last 10%, and have some great photos of us laughing on the altar to show for it.

    • I did not memorize mine, as I knew I’d forget – I was definitely crying by that point so it was good to have a piece of paper to read off of. My husband is a former theater geek, so is used to memorizing lines and surprised me by having his memorized.

    • Jaimie

      Your vows to your wife were amazing and I am using them as total inspiration! Thanks for sharing : )

  • Manya

    Thanks for this, Meg! I COMBED the interweb looking for just the right words… I wish all of these were my own, but alas, much was derived from others. I would be so honored if something like this would work for anyone reading. BTW, the family part of our vows was beyond special, and our kids talk about “when we all got married.” An awesome and unexpected outcome.

    Pastor Robert: Brian and Manya, do you now choose to come home to the sanctuary of marriage and accept one another as husband and wife? (Brian and Manya: “We Do”).

    The Vows
    Brian, because I love you, I promise to treat you the way you want to be treated, and give you the respect you deserve.
    I promise to maintain your trust with my words and actions.
    I promise to always be your partner in crime and adventure, your lover, your sounding board, your co-pilot, your sous-chef, your copyeditor and your friend.
    I will tell you when you are wrong and help you to find a righter way, without making excuses or rescuing you.
    I will respect your boundaries.
    I will pack light.
    I will help you figure out how you feel.
    I will pay attention and give you time.
    I will listen, both to what you say, and to what you don’t say.
    I promise to always share what’s in my heart, even if I am afraid.
    I will strive to be my best self for you.

    Manya, because I love you, I promise to treat you the way you want to be treated, and give you the respect you deserve.
    I promise to maintain your trust with my words and actions.
    I promise to always be your partner in exploration and adventure, your lover, your sounding board, your reality check, your Zen Rock, your editor, and your friend.
    I will tell you when you are wrong and help you to find a righter way, without making excuses or rescuing you.
    I will respect your boundaries.
    I will pack snacks.
    I will encourage you as you pursue your dreams and whims.
    I will listen, both to what you say, and to what you don’t say.
    I promise to always share what’s on my mind.
    I will strive to be my best self for you.

    Pastor Robert:
    Do you take Manya to be your wife?
    To love her and treasure her, to be at her side in sorrow and in joy?
    Do you promise to comfort her in times of suffering,
    To cherish her in hardship and in ease,
    To celebrate her as she continues to grow
    For all the days of your life?
    (I do)

    Do you take Brian to be your husband?
    To love him and treasure him, to be at his side in sorrow and in joy?
    Do you promise to comfort him in suffering,
    To cherish him in times of hardship and in ease,
    To celebrate him as he continues to grow,
    For all the days of your life?
    (I do)

    Children’s Ceremony:
    Pastor Robert:

    Often marriage is viewed as the union of two persons. Yet marriages not only unite the Bride and the Groom, they unite families. Brian and Manya have both been blessed as their hearts have expanded to love Chad, Melissa, Jared and Ciella. During a wedding ceremony rings are exchanged with a promise. Brian and Manya thought appropriate that their children should also receive a token of their promises to them this day. Brian and Manya wanted to find a way to let their children know how special and wonderful they all are in their own way, and how blessed they feel to be their parents. They also wanted them to have a physical reminder for the future that as they grow and become young men and women in their own right, that their parents will always support them.

    Manya: Chad, Jared, I love you guys. I didn’t know I needed boys in my life until you guys showed up, and now I wonder how we ever lived without ticklespanks and butt jokes. Thank you so much for allowing me and my girls into your family. I promise that I we will never get in the way of your relationship with your dad. You are his favorites and I’ll do everything I can to bring you guys closer. I will also not try to be your mom. You have a really good mom already. But there may come times when there are things going on in your lives that you think nobody would ever understand. Try me. You will always find a friend in me. Melissa and Ciella, you are my everything, and you always will be. Thanks for letting these guys join our family.

    Brian: Girls, I love you girls very much. Thanks for adopting me into your family and for loving me back. I promise that I won’t ever come between you and your mom. There may be times when things in your life seem really tough and you think nobody can understand. You can always talk to me. All you guys, I promise that when you are teenagers we will do everything possible to ruin your lives every single day. Boys, I love you more than you will ever know until you have kids of your own. You are my favorites and you always will be. Thanks for letting these girls be part of our family.

    (give gifts)

    • No don’t be crazy, these are beautiful!

      • These are AWESOME vows!! I especially love the children’s vows. What a lovely way to unite your families. I daresay I am getting a little teary-eyed.

        • What an amazing set of vows. I love the list of “I promise to always be your…” in each of them, and the fact that they are a little bit different.

    • Manya

      Thanks guys–
      Writing our vows was actually kind of intense. Intensely emotive person that I am, I wanted us to show up and surprise each other with extemporaneous, memorized vows. Brian, reserved and slightly shy guy that he is, really didn’t want to do that, and he really didn’t want to give a speech which might invite comparisons. This was the compromise we found… read vows that were similar, but tweaked to be specific to each of us. We loved reading them, actually. It made them fresh the day we said them, and took the pressure to “perform” off of us, and allowed us to just really soak in the words. We did surprise the kids though… and they loved it.

      • SEZ

        PS: Manya, absolutely beautiful grad post today! thank you! I was secretly hoping for this when I read these vows because, gaahh! SO beautiful. Best to you and your amazing family. Oh, and the real princess bit? awesome.

    • LilSass

      aaaaaand now I’m crying at work. THESE ARE GORGEOUS!!!

    • Tiffany


  • Carly S

    APW- you always seem to read my mind. My wedding is next weekend. I have questions about tipping? You post about tipping. My fiance and I are working on our vows this weekend? You post about writing vows. Thank you!!

    • AnotherCourtney

      Same here! We started working on our vows last night and hit a wall…now APW is to the rescue! :)

    • keely

      i wish i could “exactly” this post like 50 times.

  • faith

    We looked at a lot of traditional vows, since we knew that we wanted the words that have been said for years. But, we wanted to create something that truly meant something to both of us. So we looked at each selection (and there are a ton!), and chose what we thought reflected what we wanted to promise each other. We didn’t memorize or read ours, we had our pastor prompt us. There are 3 sections, question of intent, vows, and rings. The end result was exactly what we had wanted and the words were incredibly meaningful to us, and though it wasn’t our first priority, also touched many people at our wedding. They are simple at first glance, but it’s the feeling that we owned our vows that makes them special.

    Question of intent:
    “Do you, _________, take _________ to be your husband/wife? Do you promise to respect, love, honor, cherish, and protect him/her, forsaking all others and holding only unto him/her?”

    “Made free by the blood of Christ and bound by His love I, _________, promise to be faithful to you in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, to love you without reservation, to serve you with tenderness and respect, to be honest with you, and to cherish you as long as we both shall live.”


    “Receive this ring as a seal upon my vows to you. May it be a reminder of how much I love you this day and always. With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.”

  • Here are ours, taken from the Protestant Wedding Sourcebook:

    Q: Kirsty, will you have Findlay to be your husband, and be faithful to him alone?
    A: NOOOOOO! (Ok, fine, I will)

    To congregation: Will you witness this covenant between Kirsty and Findlay, respect their marriage, and sustain them with your friendship and care?
    (The minister asked them to stand to show support, if they were able, rather than say We Will. Then cracked a joke that there were a few people still sitting down. Twas funny)

    Then we got serious and repeated after minister:

    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.


    I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. (swap rings, try not to drop them Meg-stylee)

    The end! Not the most unique or different, but everything we wanted to say, and we definitely drew strength and comfort from the traditional, these-words-or-thereabouts-have-been-said-by-generations side of it.

    • meg

      I *did* drop the ring! Someone’s paying attention. But that’s because I pinned it to my bouquet. Which was rad.

  • We had vows from the community to show their support of us and our love, which we wrote with our officiant. Those words were in the program, and it was so great to hear everyone reading them. All of our wedding party read sections of our two readings, to show their support. Our parents also had vows, and the words were kept secret from us until the ceremony, which were amazing. Finally, our vows were reformed Jewish vows, which are on our ketubah. We didn’t write them (except for a few slight alterations), but we did choose them, and they were perfect. I read the first paragraph, and Martin read the other:

    I betroth you to me forever. I betroth you to me in everlasting faithfulness. With trust and devotion, I will be your loving friend as you are mine. Set me as a seal upon your heart, like the seal upon your hand, for love is stronger than death. And I will cherish you, honor you, uphold and sustain you in all truth and sincerity, in times of joy as well as hardship.

    I will respect you and the divine image within you. May our hearts be united forever in faith and hope. Let our home be built on truth and loving-kindness, rich in wisdom and reverence. May we always keep these words in our hearts as a symbol of our eternal commitment to each other: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

    And then we read together: We joyfully enter into this covenant and solemnly accept its obligations. Our promise to each other, in the presence of loving family and friends, is valid and binding.

  • My husband and I wrote our own. I didn’t know what to expect from him… and he said that he would be writing about my gassiness, which should have warned me that this was going to happen…

    Me: Walt, I love you because you’re always looking out for me. I know that my happiness means so much to you, and I love your selflessness. I love you because you make me feel better whenever I’m sad, and you do silly things to cheer me up… like rub your nose on me. I love you because you encourage me to be a better person without nagging me or making yourself seem bigger. Because I love you, I promise to work hard at maintaining our relationship, compromise when we fight, and be your best friend. I’ll always support you. Let’s grow old together.

    Walt: ‘ve never met a girl quite like you. I love you because you make me smile. I love every second I’m with you, whether it’s sleeping in on Saturdays, going to the grocery store, or eating at Magnolia Cafe. I love that I fart and you laugh. I will always love you and protect you and be there for you, whether you are happy or sad or gassy. I love you, Elissa.

    I know, it wasn’t as heavy as the usual stuff, but it was so us, and that’s what mattered to us. :)

    • I am absolutely in love with your vows. I cried and then I laughed and both again. LOVE them! haha :)

  • Lindsey

    Yay APW!! We just started working on our ceremony, so this thread is excellent! We haven’t finalized vows yet. We’re looking for something fairly traditional, so have a number of options to choose from, but the first time I read this statement of intent I cried. At work. >sigh<

    L, will you be truly a partner in the holy bond of marriage, accepting B as your husband?

    Will you love him, be his friend, his comforter, his security?

    Will you promise to honor and uphold him, and to join with him in making a home that shall endure in love and peace?

    Will you affirm your purpose of a deeper union with him, whereby you both shall know the joy and fulfillment of love?

    Will you promise to share his interests, share your interests with him, and still give him the freedom to be himself?

    Will you pledge to him your complete faithfulness through all the changing experiences of life?

    And, of your own free volition, will you now give yourself to him completely – body – mind – soul – that from this day forth that you will be his in all your years to come? I will.

  • We wrote our vows together, using some traditional pieces and some pieces I’m sure we stole from other places (though I don’t remember where). It was really important to me to say “for better, for worse,” and the last line sums up to me what marriage is.

    ____, take you _____ to be my ______,
    To love, cherish, and support,
    For better, for worse,
    through all the changes of our lives,
    til death do us part;
    I promise
    To live a worthy life and inspire you to do the same,
    To be faithful, kind, and understanding,
    To communicate openly and respectfully,
    and to consider your well-being as important as my own.

  • Funny, I just wrote something about this this morning… We wrote a marriage contract together, had it illustrated by an incredible friend, read it out loud during the ceremony and then framed it in our flat.

    When things are rough, as they were today, I really do feel comforted by seeing it there. We hoped it would remind us of the wedding, and keep us accountable to each other for some of the tougher things (health being one of the main ones).

    I’ve got the full text of it here:

    After we read out the contract we (well, S really as he’s the one who knows about poetry ‘n things) chose a line from Philip Larkin to read while we exchanged rings. We each said:

    “I take you for now and for always, for always is always now”

    Then we cried, and everyone cried and we jumped up and down.

    • YOUR Wedding contract was THE inspiration to ours!!! I read your blog with those words and fell in love! It’s so weird seeing them here on this blog! Sorry… I’m two days away from my wedding. I’m a little crazy. Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Rasheeda

    Ok so mine are long and I don’t have his written out so I won’t try and paraphrase from memory.
    MINE: Your running joke is that you finagled me into dating you with your “game” and you pulled the ultimate hoax by getting me to marry you, but the truth is I am the one who truly lucked out. You love me in ways I have only dreamed of, we are creating a life and family I have always wanted.

    I love you because you understand me, you accept me for who I am and love the “me” that I love- the good, the bad and the silly/I love you because you push me: to be wiser, to be stronger, to get better in everything /I love you because you have this drive that never allows you to give up /I love you because you tell me when Law and Order is on and you DVR it for me/I love you because you tell me I am beautiful every single day/I love you because of your kindness and your generosity and the ease with which you open your heart to everyone you meet/I love you because you are a protector; you build your walls around me so that I may lower my own/I love that my idea of home is wherever you are /I love you because I never had to compromise who I was to be who we are/I love you because you cook me gourmet meals on any random day of the week/I love you because you think I am so smart, just keep thinking that/I love you because you are happy doing just about anything and it makes me happy to do just about anything with you
    I love just being with you

    Today I promise to be your partner, in life, in love, in parenthood, in old age, and in everything that life has in store for us.
    I promise that when the hills and valleys of life come that we will ride them out together, with a smile and hand by your side, we will take it one day at a time.
    I promise that when I say the word family, I mean yours just as much as my own and the one we are creating here today.
    I dream about our family, our children that will share our values, our love for learning, a passion for the good things in life & of course our good looks
    I promise that this love will be held above all others
    I promise to treasure this gift to my death
    I promise you fidelity, forgiveness and friendship
    I promise to always be open to hear you, and when I don’t understand to Listen until I do
    I promise to remember what love is…to never be defined by it, but rather for us to define it for ourselves and for our lives and for our family
    I can’t wait to live out my dreams with you

    • alex

      I actually have tears streaming down my face right now, though I had a huge smile the entire time. So, so beautiful!

  • kz

    We decided to write our own vows, and our officiant was amazing- giving us all kinds of lovely ideas and material to choose from. We took bits and pieces from her file of vows/poems/readings but tried to make it our own. We both receited the following ring exchange after our personal vows.

    Officiant was http://www.interfaith-ceremonies.net/, if you’re in the NYC-tri state area (or Santa Fe NM vicinities). She was simply wonderful.

    With this ring, I join my life– all that I have, all that I am, with yours .

    Here are my vows to my husband

    I love what I know of you, and have the faith to trust what I do not yet know.

    I know you fill my heart with hope and joy. You make me laugh (often), laugh with me (and at me- probably more often), encourage my dreams (both the mundane and outrageous ones) and fill my head with lots and lots of baseball statistics… more than I ever knew was possible! But best of all- I know, you offer me a kindness and security, I didn’t know existed. One I didn’t know was possible. A kind I didn’t know I needed. I’ve feel like I’ve found my way home with you- you are my home.

    For these, and a hundred thousand other reasons that are too hard to say— I love you.

    Today, here in front of our closest friends and family— I promise to stand by you, encourage you, dream, laugh and cry with you when times are good and not so good. I promise to make you a priority in my life, to be patient (warning- it’s a relative scale!) and kind. I promise to never take your love for granted and devote the energy and effort it takes, to keep it honest, true and real.

    My hope, is to spend the rest of my days – hearing your thoughts, embraced in your arms, feeling your warmth, and planning the greatest adventures of our lives- this marriage and the family we create together (those here with us today, and the kiddies and dogs to come).

    You know, I don’t believe in soul mates. I never have, and probably never will. Instead I believe… in making choices, and working at the those choices. Today I choose you. I choose you to be my partner, my husband, and my family. I choose you today, and will continue to choose you every day.


    • Claire

      “You know, I don’t believe in soul mates. I never have, and probably never will. Instead I believe… in making choices, and working at the those choices. Today I choose you. I choose you to be my partner, my husband, and my family. I choose you today, and will continue to choose you every day.”

      Wow. That’s beautiful. Very similar to our vows.

      Reminds me of the lyrics of The Winds by Danny Schmidt.
      Do you take this man forever?
      I don’t know about forever, but I’ll take him everyday.
      Do you take girl to be your wife?
      Do I take this girl to be my wife? No, but I take her for herself.

    • Lydia Stafford

      These are beautiful. Very inspirational xx

  • Kris

    I love that you are fun and silly and fill my life with wild emotions
    every day.
    I can’t wait to see what else you have to show me; to tag along on all
    your crazy adventures; to make you love me a little bit more the next
    year than you did the year before.
    I promise to always do my best to keep you happy, healthy and smiling,
    no matter what happens. I love you.

    I love that you can always cheer me up and make me smile; that you
    still try so hard to impress me and that you have never given me
    anything but encouragement in everything that I do.
    I look forward to playing with you at the beach, to dancing with you
    in our kitchen and to brining you along on all of my crazy adventures.
    I promise to always do my best to keep you happy, healthy and smiling,
    no matter what happens. I love you.

  • We cobbled ours together from a few random internet sources (including a PHOTO of someone’s vows written out on a photographer’s website) and our own creativity.

    I, Lauren/Jeff, take you, Jeff/Lauren, to be my husband/wife. To love you unconditionally and without hesitation, for it is your heart that moves me, your spirit that inspires me, your humor that delights me, and your hands that I want to hold for all of our days. I promise to laugh with you in good times and to struggle along side you in bad times;. I promise to do what I can to stay healthy in body and mind so that I may age gracefully by your side. I will share with you my hopes and dreams for our future, and I will support you in yours. I promise to love, respect, and trust you, and give you the best of myself, for I know that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone.

    RMR: What do you bring as a symbol of the vows you have exchanged?

    We bring rings.

    Blessing of the rings:

    Lauren, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows. All that I have I will share with you.

    Jeff, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows. All that I have I will share with you.

    • Rasheeda

      I did the exact same thing…I had to enlarge that puppy to read it! Funny! Yours are beautifully written though:)

      • Rasheeda- seriously? That makes me not feel so guilty about it- thank you!! :)

    • Carly S

      “and give you the best of myself, for I know that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone”.

      LOVE this part! Might have to *borrow* it, if that’s ok :)

      • Do it! That’s the point! :)

  • Joannezipan

    Today I, _____ give myself to you _______ in marriage;
    All I have, I offer to you and all you give, I gladly receive;
    I will inspire you to dream and support you in those dreams as if they were my own;
    I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sorrow;
    I will love you when life seems easy and when it seems hard;
    Wherever you go we will go together, I will be the companion of all your days;
    These things I give to you today.

    We also did a load of reading and ended up in a rainy 2 man tent with massive wodges of paper and highlighters Frankensteining a ceremony together from loads of print outs. These are the vows we said. I can post some of the rest of it too if anyone is interested, but it is LONG for a blog comment.

  • Mallory

    Does anyone have any experience or opinions about whether or not to share your vows with your future spouse before the wedding? I’m teary by nature (and am NOT a cute crier) and would like us to write our own vows, but I’m worried that I’ll cry and not get through them. One thought I had was that if we had our own moment, maybe the night before, to share our vows with each other, I could get the crying out and then the next day just bask in the sweetness of the words. I’m worried that would ruin the specialness of the vows in the ceremony though. Did anyone try anything like that?

    • We wrote ours together (while not exactly the same, they followed the same formula). I promise that knowing what he was going to say ahead of time did not tarnish nor diminish their specialness when he said them to me during the ceremony.

    • erin who wears dinosaur hats

      It’s okay to cry. My maid of honor had kleenex stashed with her. One of the most endearing parts of the ceremony was when I thought I was done with the kleenex, started to hand it back to her, and realized I wasn’t done and took it back. Everybody laughed. It added some levity.

      And I might not count on getting out all the cry the night before. Rereading our vows to post, I got a little teary.

      • Kathryn in VT

        Yes! Even if you know EXACTLY what is going to happen, EXACTLY what is going to be said… if you’re a crier (I am), you will probably cry. Like Erin, I had a moment in the ceremony where my parents were feeding me Kleenex from the front pew periodically. I had to turn around and sniffle/giggle (sniggle?) “I need another tissue!” Every chuckled, my husband beamed, and it didn’t matter in the least.

        This mascara was a champion: http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P46017

      • We didn’t write our own – so I knew what would be said. & I still BAWLED LIKE A BABY. My MOH forgot her tissues, so my uncle had to run them up to me :p

    • NF

      I still get teary when I read the text of our ketubah, which functioned as our vows, and we’ve been married for a year. Which isn’t to discourage you from sharing the vows, but really, there’s nothing wrong with tears during the ceremony.

    • This isn’t exactly the same but we were trying to memorize ours and we kept repeating them to each other during our photo shoot (before the ceremony). That time alone with him, saying our vows back and forth, is one of my most precious memories of the wedding.

    • SpaceElephant

      If you’re worried about crying, definitely say them out loud a few times before the ceremony, either with or without him. I went into the bathroom a few times in the day or two before and just said them out loud. Got a lot of the tears out that way, and when it was time to do it for real I knew I could do it because I’d done it already. If that makes sense.

    • Vee

      I wanted to wait until the day of to hear my husband’s vows, but he was nervous about his writing (I am a writer) and whether they would stack up to mine, so I agreed that we should share them beforehand so he would feel more comfortable. I bawled the first time he read his to me, and it absolutely did NOT take anything away from the day of. Nothing can compare to having all those people there to support you – everything feels different. And I only cried a little :)

  • Jess

    We pieced together our vows (& most of our ceremony) from various sources online.


    I ___ take you ___ to be my wife/husband
    I promise above all else to live in truth with you
    & to communicate fully & fearlessly
    I give you my hand & my heart
    as a sanctuary of warmth & peace
    & pledge my love, devotion, faith & honor
    as I join my life to yours.

    Ring exchange:

    (Officiant) “This is the point in the ceremony when I usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning & no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. Hot metal is poured into a mold, cooled, & then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements. Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.”

    ___, I give you this ring, that you may wear it as a symbol of the vows we have made this day. With all that I am I honor you.

    (Officiant) Now may those who wear these rings live in love all their days.

    Reading 1, from Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”:

    It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent — ?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances.

    Reading 2, e.e. cummings:

    i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
    my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
    i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing, my darling)

    i fear
    no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
    no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
    higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

    Various quotes we used throughout the ceremony:

    Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”: “When you love you should not say, ‘God is in my heart,’ but rather, ‘I am in the heart of God.’ ”

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Love does not consist of gazing at each other but of looking together in the same direction.”

    Hafiz of Shiraz, “The Gift”: “Even after all this time / the sun never says to the Earth, / ‘You owe me.’ // Look what happens / with a love like that, / It lights the whole sky.”

    Ram Dass, “Grist for the Mill”: “In India, when we meet & part we often say ‘Namaste,’ which means I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you. Where if you are in that place in you & I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”

    • I’m so happy you posted this, because I read this ring ceremony text *somewhere* months ago, decided I wanted to use it, but didn’t bookmark it, and have been searching for it ever since. I think it’s so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

      • Jess

        Oh, hooray! The words really spoke to me, too. I’m glad I could be helpful : )

        • We’re also doing our readings from The Prophet & The Little Prince, so naturally I love your quotes.

          • Jess

            Oh, wow. Sounds like your ceremony will be beautiful.

    • Ha! We used the SAME ring ceremony! :)

      • Jess

        Awesome : )

    • Lacey

      I’m using the “i carry your heart” poem too. My sister and I are really close and saw it used in a wedding in a movie about sisters (In Her Shoes) and have loved the poem ever since. So she’ll be reading it during our ceremony. Can’t wait. ♥

  • Chelsea

    We got married in the Catholic church, so our vows were very traditional. But we also wanted to include something chosen by us, so at a point in the mass where we had the option of including a “prayer of the couple,” we recited this e.e. cummings poem:

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of all nothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

  • Anonymous

    Going anonymous for this, but I just want to put this out there in case anyone going with a traditional ceremony is worried about how “personal” it will feel. My husband and I chose to have an Episcopal service. Saying the same vows our parents and grandparents have said meant a great deal to us. We’re also private people when it comes to our relationship, and I felt sick to my stomach at the prospect of writing our own vows. So we spent a long time with the Book of Common Prayer, thinking about the words, the prayers, and we chose readings that spoke to us deeply. I believed the service to be beautiful, but all in all, I wasn’t expecting any surprises.

    But from the moment I entered the church to the moment we left, I shook like a leaf. We were both moved, quite unexpectedly, to tears. The weight of saying those words, of doing so in a church in front of our dearest family and friends, was more meaningful than I could have ever anticipated.

    What I mean to say is this: Don’t choose traditional vows just because you feel obligated to, and if you think they’re boring, or not reflective of you as a couple, there are ENDLESS other options. But if you are going this route, don’t worry about the service being “boring” or “cookie cutter.” I was deeply shaken and moved (in the best possible way) by our wedding ceremony, and will cherish those memories forever.

    The Episcopal vows, in case anyone is curious, read:

    In the Name of God, I, N., take you, N., 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.

    Followed later by:

    N., 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, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ( or in the Name of God).

    • Sarah P

      I said the same vows! I was expecting to be moved to tears but rather was overcome by this feeling of complete serenity. It was amazing and one of the things I remember most from our day.

    • emma

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Andthebeautyis

      Ooo. I wish we’d ended with “This is my solemn vow.” Our vows were rather solemn, but written by us. Something to really formalize it might’ve given it that sense of history, of official-ness.

      Thanks for posting!

  • Our vows were quite personal, so I don’t know how helpful they might be to those writing theirs, but I was kind of really proud of mine.

    I have always wanted to marry you. And for anyone who knew you back when we first met, it’s not hard to understand why. Between the Elvis side burns and the “monster truck”, it’s no wonder you were the perfect fit for a special, sequin-loving girl like me.

    The thing is though, somewhere along the road you went from being the man I wanted to marry and you became my family. And the greatest part about family is, just like in the Velveteen Rabbit, it’s not about the bells and whistles (or sequins and sparkles in my case). Because you love who I am underneath all that, with you, I can just be real.

    So with that,

    I promise to always be real with you, up front and honest. Even when it would be easier to fake it.

    I promise to laugh at your jokes. Not because I’ll be your wife and it’s the nice thing to do, but because I will always think that you are the funniest boy that I know.

    And finally, I promise that you will always be my family. You are part of who I am, and that can’t ever be undone.

    I love you. And I’m so happy that we made it here.

    • Gah, Maddie. Thanks for making me cry this morning. Those are AWESOME.

      • You’re welcome. :) We can cry together, because all these vows have me WEEPY.

      • Ditto. Eesh! I should be getting tomorrow’s blog post together – but I can’t stop reading this vows! I especially love reading those of people I know!!!! :) Love these. :)

    • Oh my gosh, those are amazing. I love the way you talk about transitioning from wanting to marry him to knowing he was family. I knew it was time to get serious about marrying my partner when we were traveling abroad and I couldn’t check the “family” box on the customs form. For some reason, that really upset me… Of course, that was about 2 years ago and we spent some real time talking about what family means… Anyway, this is all to say that I love these. They’re amazing. I may unabashedly crib from them when it’s time to write our vows.

      • Crib away, sister. And thank you for the lovely compliments. :)

    • Jo

      “And finally, I promise that you will always be my family. You are part of who I am, and that can’t ever be undone.

      I love you. And I’m so happy that we made it here.”


  • erin who wears dinosaur hats

    Mine: I, Erin, take you, Brandon, to be my husband. I feel at home with you in a way that I’ve never felt with anyone else. You are kind, thoughtful, funny, and brilliant. You always acquiesce to my constant demands for hugs, and smirk at my weird Peewee Herman noises in the kitchen and other assorted weirdness. So you’re very accepting of me, too. You always find ways to let me know how important I am to you, and that makes me feel stronger and more able to conquer the world each day. I know that you appreciate me and what I contribute to our relationship. You have supported my dreams and goals and whims at every step of the way; when I say Fort Night or rainbow cake or water park or business school, you say, “let’s make it happen”. I am thrilled to live the rest of my life with you because I know we will laugh together a lot. You have helped me grow in my intellectual and emotional development, and I thank you for the role you have played in that.

    As a foundation for our future together, I promise to love you on your best day and I promise to love you even more on your worst day. I will do what I can to stay healthy in body and mind so that I may age gracefully by your side. I will share with you my hopes and dreams for our future, and I will support you in yours. I will be truthful and never withholding, so you have no reason to doubt the sincerity of my vows. I promise to love, respect, and trust you, and give you the best of myself. I vow to work with you to build a life for us that is happy and abundant. I promise to take care of your heart because you’ve captured my heart, and each day I love you more.

    Brandon: I, Brandon, take you Erin to be my wife, my partner, and my best friend. I promise to support you in your life and your career and your hopes and dreams, wherever those might take you. I will stand by you in our many successes and our rare failures. I will be there with you in sickness– although physicians are discouraged from directly providing medical care to their own loved ones–and I will celebrate with you in health. I promise to grow old with you and be honest and loyal for all our years. I promise that when we have children, despite your fears to the contrary, I will try to share the burden of being the disciplinarian. I will love you while we’re poor and then someday when we’re not, and I know you feel likewise, but all the same I also promise that I’m done extending my fellowship and that I will actually make some money someday. And I promise that we will never own another American Eskimo dog.

  • I unabashedly stole our vows from The Kn*t. Hey, they were good for something (plus a pretty rockin’ guest list counter).

    Frau Ava (circa 1160), translated by Willis Barnstone

    In your eyes, I have found my home.
    In your heart, I have found my love.
    In your soul, I have found my mate.
    With you, I am whole, full, alive.
    You make me laugh. You let me cry.
    You are my breath, my every heartbeat.

    I am yours.
    You are mine.
    Of this we are certain.
    You are lodged in my heart.
    The small key is lost.
    You must stay there forever.

    You are my inspiration and my soul’s fire.
    You are the magic of my days.
    You help me laugh, you teach me love.
    You provide a safe place for me, unlike I’ve ever known.
    You free me to sing my own song.
    You are more of an amazement to me, each day I rediscover you.
    You are my greatest boon.

    I am yours.
    You are mine.
    Of this we are certain.
    You are lodged in my heart.
    The small key is lost.
    You must stay there forever.

    For the ring ceremony, we put together a mash of things we found:

    This is the point in the ceremony where we usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees, then molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements.

    Love is like that. It’s hot, dirty work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.

    These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women year. May they grow in understanding and in compassion.

    Adam, in placing this ring on Melissa’s finger, repeat after me: Melissa, I
    give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity
    and with this ring, I thee wed.

    Melissa, in placing this ring on Adam’s finger, repeat after me: Adam, I
    give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity
    and with this ring, I thee wed.

    They were pretty awesome.

    • Erika

      Really like this interpretation of ring symbolism!

      • We did, too! Adam is an engineer, so he really loved it.

        Our ceremony was the bomb. I picked up two readings from APW, we had polish & czech blessings for our heritages & an Irish Wine Ceremony (so it was called, anyway) to boot. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

        Thank goodness I have the actual script. I was in such a daze, most of it didn’t settle on me until the vows.

        • Irish Wine Ceremony? Do tell!

          • This is what we used. The blessings that followed were a combination of Polish & Czech/Irish blessings.

            Loving Cup Ceremony – Irish Ceremony & Blessing.

            “And now please drink to the love you’ve shared in the past.” (The couple sip from the cup) “Drink to your love in the present, on this your wedding day.” (The couple sip from the cup) “And drink to your love in the future and forever more.” (The couple sip from the cup)

            May your faith be as enduring as God’s love. Your spirit as valiant as your heritage. May your hand be as sure as a friend. Your dreams as hopeful as a child. May your soul be as brave as your people, and may you be blessed

            May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home And may the hand of a friend always be near.

            May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.

            May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children’s children. May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward.

        • We live in a little mining community (although neither of us are miners) so I really really like this!

          Any hints on altering this (or any other ring ceremony) to just have ONE ring? Forrest doesn’t want to wear a ring so it’ll just be me.

          • I think you can keep this as is just fine with one ring:

            This is the point in the ceremony where we usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees, then molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements.

            Love is like that. It’s hot, dirty work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.

            These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women year. May they grow in understanding and in compassion.

        • Marie Tyler Wiley

          Hi there…would you mind sharing your Polish and Czech blessings? I am an officiant and am always searching for special blessings. Thank you :)

  • Erin

    My husband and I wrote our own vows. I wrote mine by making a list of things I thought were vital to the success of a marriage, and then promising to do those things. He wrote his by panicking for six months, begging for a look at mine at the last minute, and then blowing me out of the water with an oration in which he quoted Abraham Lincoln.


    Frog of my heart, I’ve never been happier than I have since I met you. Our relationship is strong, built on communication, trust, love, and silliness. We have created, and are creating, a life together.

    Because of that, I promise that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how bad or how good things may be, I will communicate and trust. I will fight for our relationship when I need to, and I will never try to hurt you just because I am angry. I will always work to be worthy of your love, and I will accept that neither of us is perfect. I won’t promise to laugh at all of your jokes or to like it when you play the accordion, but I do promise I won’t really mean it when I roll my eyes and sigh. Most importantly, I will love you unconditionally, and show you that I do.

    You are my best friend, my shelter in hard times, the voice of reason at 3am, and, starting today, my husband. I love you, and I hope we get to share this life for a hundred years.


    Erin, I believe that the key to a successful, sustainable partnership is a kind of selflessness. Not the unhealthy stifling of one’s personality in favor of another’s, but the fusion of two individuals into a new union far beyond the achievements of simple addition.

    I do not vow to create this union today. It is not possible to create that which has existed for so long already. I vow instead to sustain this union, fighting for it when the need arises, and all the while developing it far beyond what was initially thought possible.

    To this end, I vow to forever be your anchor when you are lost in the storm, holding you steady until we can find our way home. When I am weak, you are strong. So should you feel weak, I will be your strength. At all times you will know my mind because you are always in my thoughts. If I am your voice of reason at 3am, you are mine at all other times. You, Erin, are the better angel of my nature.

    Throughout history there have been many great men with accomplishments both good and far-reaching. Though I have long envied and admired them, I have come to realize that I would count myself as their equal, or even their better, if my only achievement in this life was to make you happy.

    (See? Blown out of the water!)

    • I think my jaw would be dropping ;)

      • Erin

        I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe that after all his worry about not writing good vows, this was what he came up with!

    • Rasheeda

      Wow…just WOW!

    • Rachel

      Well, I’m bawling at my desk. That was amazing.

    • Can he help my honey with his vows? Gawd!!

    • Jo

      Oh my goodness. I’m just floored. Would it be OK to use your husband’s vows as the basis for our? It’s just…perfect… for so many reasons. But only if it is OK with you!

    • Anna

      I’m like a year late to this thread, but your husband’s vows are perfect. They are so perfect. I’m literally crying at my desk. You are the luckiest lady.

    • Melissa

      oh my gosh. crying. those were beautiful. it was so touching to see your husband wrote such beautiful words.

  • Love this! I’m so excited to add my vows to this thread.

    Do you R take K to be your friend, your lover and your wife, to stand with her, in sickness and in health, in joy and sorrow, in hardship and in ease, to respect and to support her in all that she does?

    I do

    Do you K, take R to be your friend, your lover and your husband, to stand with him, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in hardship and in ease, to respect and to support him in all that he does?

    I do

    Please face each other, and join hands. In this simple act of holding hands today, and in countless times to come, I want you to always remember that:

    These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of life, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.
    These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.
    These are the hands that will passionately love you, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no others can.
    These are the hands that will hold you tight when you encounter fear or grief.
    These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
    These are the hands that will raise your children, and guide them into the world.
    These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to go after your dreams.
    These are the hands that will give you strength when you struggle through difficult times.
    These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.
    And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

    May I have the rings please?

    R, place the ring on K’s finger, and repeat after me:

    I, R, promise to love and cherish you K.
    To give you strength,
    to help you in good times and in bad.
    To respect our individuality,
    to make our home one of love and understanding.
    I will honor your goals and dreams, and help you to realize them.
    I promise to be faithful to you,
    giving you all of myself,
    all of my tomorrows,
    all of my life.

    K, as you place this ring on R’s hand, please repeat after me:

    I, K, promise to love and cherish you R.
    To give you strength,
    to help you in good times and in bad.
    To respect our individuality,
    to make our home one of love and understanding.
    I will honor your goals and dreams, and help you to realize them.
    I promise to be faithful to you,
    giving you all of myself,
    all of my tomorrows,
    all of my life.

    There was a bit more to the ceremony than this, but not much. The whole thing took about 10 minutes! It was perfect!

    • My best friend just did “these are the hands” at her wedding. So many tears.

  • Manya

    This is an awesome love/sob fest today! Love how APW can always get me!

  • We used the traditional Lutheran vows, so I’m only writing to say what a lovely, lovely collection of words this will be! You are all blowing my mind with your poetry.

  • Yiiiikes. I have to stop reading now, or I’m going to be sobbing at work instead of just tearing up. You are all so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words. (I’ll post ours later, but they’re on my computer at home!)

  • Lily Briscoe

    The vows feel weirdly too personal to share, even anonymously, but when we exchanged rings, we recited to each other this little bit from Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” (and the other person answered the questions). Having Whitman in our ceremony filled my heart with joy:
    I give you my hand!
    I give you my love, more precious than money
    I give you myself before preaching or law;
    Will you give me yourself?
    Will you come travel with me?
    Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

    • Kathryn in VT

      I love this! There’s nothing like Whitman’s exuberance for a wedding. This is really lovely.

    • we used Whitman too, my grandmother was named Walta after Walt Whitman (her parents had been good friends with his long term lover)…

      We read an excerpt from ‘Sea Drift’:

      When the lilac-scent was in the air and Fifth-month grass was growing,
      Up this seashore in some briers,
      Two feather’d guests from Alabama, two together,
      And their nest, and four light-green eggs spotted with brown,
      And every day the he-bird to and fro near at hand,
      And every day the she-bird crouch’d on her nest, silent, with bright eyes,
      And every day I, a curious boy, never too close, never disturbing them,
      Cautiously peering, absorbing, translating

      Shine! shine! shine!
      Pour down your warmth, great sun!
      While we bask, we two together.

      Two together!
      Winds blow south, or winds blow north,
      Day come white, or night come black,
      Home, or rivers and mountains from home,
      Singing all time, minding no time,
      While we two keep together

  • We also cobbled together ours from lots of internet inspiration (primarily, I think, the repository on indiebride):

    Officiant: In your private talks, you have already made promises of love to each other, but the vows that you are about to exchange are more than just romantic words. If you are able to keep the vows you take here today out of a desire to love and be loved by your spouse fully, without limitation, then your life will have joy and the home you establish will be a place in which you both will find the direction of your growth, your freedom, and your responsibility. These vows are your gifts of yourselves and of your lives, and we all stand together as witnesses.

    Hubster: In the presence of God and these our friends and family, I, Hubster, do take you, NW, to be the wife of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life, and the mother of our children.

    I choose you to be my partner and I pledge to you my faithful love and devotion. I will honor and cherish you for the rest of my life.

    With these words, I marry you and bind my life to yours.

    [Then, I repeated the mirror image of his.]

  • Our vows were cobbled together from things we found online:

    I, _______, choose you, ________,
    To be no other than yourself,
    Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know.
    With this ring, I give you my promise
    That from this day forward
    We shall be as one.
    May my arms be your shelter
    May we walk together through all things
    May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are.
    I will always try to be worthy of your love and respect
    With this ring, I give you my heart
    I have no greater gift to give.

    We had a ring warming, two readings (i thank You, god, for this day by ee cummings; Falling in love is like owning a dog by Taylor Mali and a family/friend affirmation section.

    • mere…

      just went and ready Falling In Love is Liek Owning a Dog… absolutely love it!

  • Aline

    My husband’s vows were simple. He had just spent the day cooking the food for our wedding, so he said something like “I didn’t have time to write something long and elaborate, but what I want to say is simple: Aline, I love you. I will always love you and take care of you.”
    Mine, I had written beforehand and read from a little notebook:
    “We were already independent adults when we met. Your companionship, intelligence and sense of humor have made life more interesting and pleasurable. We’ve shared time and interests, values and dreams. You taught me of a love I never knew existed. You supported me in difficult times and through important decisions and life changes. More than 3 years ago, we decided to share a home and our lives; and now we share more than dreams: now we have a reality together. Today, I declare my intention of continuing this journey with you. Let’s dream and accomplish together; let’s make up new dreams. Together we will make decisions and face changes. I promise to talk with you about everything and share responsibilities, hardships and joy. I gladly accept the challenge of trying to understand you and of being by your side through all the steps of our lives. Adriano, I love you”

    It was important to us that the vows were very personal and that the wedding was a celebration of an existing relationship that, in practice, wouldn’t be changing that much (although being married has had great emotional importance).

  • Ours were cobbled together from a couple different places, if I recall, and for us they were surprisingly traditional.

    With all my love, I take you to be my life-long partner.
    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.
    I will remain faithful to our vows for better or worse, in times of sickness and health.
    You are my best friend, and I will love and respect you always.

    We also had a part where we asked our community to support us in our marriage, and had everyone respond. That was really awesome. I highly recommend giving your guests a part in the ceremony. It meant a lot to us.

    • Zan

      Yeah, we did this too. It was surprisingly awesome to hear everyone say, “We DO!” when they were asked to state their support for us.

    • We also had a community vow and I loved hearing out families and friends promise to love us and support us in our marriage…

    • Us too, it’s really traditional in English weddings and since we had basically nothing else as a nod to S’s upbringing…

    • Ours were surprisingly traditional too… even more so than yours possibly (perhaps I’ll post at the bottom of this 200-some-comment post today! haha). These are beautiful…. I wish I’d thought to include the “we do” from the guests!! Shoot. Also… **crying** ah! This post!

  • Zan

    I will be the nine-thousandth person in this thread to use the word “cobbled”. What a great word.

    In any case, ours were cobbled together from a few sources on the internet. They went like this:

    Officiant: Zanosaurus, repeat after me:
    I, Zanosaurus do take you, Cowboy,/
To be the husband of my days the companion of my house /
The friend of my life and the father of our children /
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.

    Also, in the interests of sharing, I put our entire ceremony up on the web (to reciprocate since that’s where I found pieces of our ceremony while I was writing it). If anyone has writer’s block feel free to peruse and use!


    • I’ve told you before … when you posted on your site … but I do so love your vows. =)

      • Zan

        Aw thanks Miss Sarah!

    • “With these words and all the words of my heart”… i love that.

    • YES! We’re not the only ones who vowed to be the mother/father of our children! :) Yay. :) Love these Zan. :) xoxo.

  • Marina

    We didn’t really… have vows during our ceremony? The only thing we said to each other was our ring exchange: “With this ring I commit myself to you as your friend, your beloved, your wife/husband.”

    What we spent a LOT of time on was our ketubah wording, which was read out loud during our ceremony by our cantor, and displayed after the ceremony. That’s probably the closest thing to vows, even though we didn’t say them to each other.

    “We pledge to nurture, trust and respect each other throughout our married life together. We shall be open and honest, understanding and accepting, loving and forgiving, and loyal to one another.
    We promise to work together to build a harmonious relationship of equality. We shall respect each other’s uniqueness and help one another grow to our fullest potential. We will comfort and support each other through life’s sorrows and joys.
    Together, we shall create a home filled with learning, laughter and compassion, a home wherein we will honor each other’s traditions and values. Let us join hands to help build a world filled with peace and love.”

    We also spent a ton of time on the English translation of the sheva brachot, which I honestly think of as vows even though they’re not worded that way. I could post what we decided on here if anyone’s interested, although they’re kinda long.

    • NF

      We read the text of our ketubah during the ceremony to serve as our vows (we did the traditional wording for the ring exchange also), and I’m so glad we chose to do it that way. I’m not going to write out the whole text, but some of my favorite parts. “I promise to stand by you always, to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; to bring out the best in you and for you to be the most that I can be…” “And when we grow old may we walk together hand in hand, still feeling the sweetness of our devotion…” and my favorite which we read together (having split up the text so each of us read part of it) : “I give myself without reservation to our union and welcome you as my partner in life”.

      For anyone trying to find a good translation of the Sheva Brachot, we used “The New Jewish Wedding” and used a combination of their suggested translations. For anyone trying to plan a Jewish wedding ceremony that isn’t completely traditional I highly recommend this book, it’s a wonderful resource blending the very traditional with more modern ideas for non-Orthodox Jews.

    • Caroline

      Marina, I would love it if you would post your translation, I it
      is one you came up with. There are some good ones in the new Jewish wedding, but trying to find something that speaks to religious/spiritual me and my atheist partner is challenging. I’d love to see your version.

      • Marina

        Well, we didn’t exactly come up with it from scratch, but we did cobble it together all ourselves. ;) We relied heavily on the New Jewish Wedding, which NF mentioned above, and also on about 8 different interpretations provided by our cantor.

        Also, just in case anyone is wondering, these are no where near literal translations. There are probably many Jews who would be totally offended at just how liberally we interpreted the blessings. But I do honestly feel like we spent some serious time getting to the heart of what resonated for us within each blessing, and finding a wording that honored that.

        1. Blessed is the creation of the wonder which is our world: the mountains, the oceans, the deserts, the forests and the fields. All are full of life.
        2. Blessed is the creation of the human being.
        3. Blessed is the design of the human being. We are composed of eternal elements, made of the essence of the universe. Growing in wisdom, we may become creators ourselves. Blessed is the creation of humanity.
        4. Rejoice and be glad you who wandered homeless. In joy have you gathered with your sisters and your brothers. Blessed is the joy of our gathering. May the joyous hope of a better world inspire all people to work together for justice and for peace.
        5. We surround this couple with our love. May they be for each other lovers and friends, and may their individual gifts help them to create new worlds together. Blessed be the joy of lovers.
        6. Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, gladness and jubilation, pleasure and delight, friendship and peace. Soon may we hear everywhere, in both cities and fields, voices of joy and gladness, of couples leaving their wedding canopies, and newlyweds enjoying their wedding feasts. Blessed is the joy of lovers, one with the other.
        7. Before drinking from this cup of joy, we acknowledge that our cup is not quite full. We spill out drops of wine in the hope that someday all sacred unions will be fully recognized as legal marriages by the civil authorities, with all of the rights and benefits of marriage, and none of the discrimination that faces many committed partnerships including same sex couples today. As we raise this cup, we affirm the joy that is here: the gifts of this union, the blessings of this love and the delight of all who are gathered here to celebrate this simcha, this happy occasion.

  • Anna

    This is a great thread–writing the ceremony was hard and it will be great for future couples to have more good references online.

    This is what we did:

    Officiant: In marriage, two people turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a bold step into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be.
    Officiant: Do you, A1, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, freely choose now to speak the words that will unite yours and A2’s lives in marriage?
    A1: I do
    Officiant: Do you, A2, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, freely choose now to speak the words that will unite yours and A1’s lives in marriage?
    A2: I do
    Officiant: Today, A1 and A2 are surrounded by their closest family and friends. You form the community within which their marriage will grow and thrive.
    So now, I ask all of you, here,
    Will you support Alex and Anna in their marriage?
    Everyone: We will!

    Now, please face each other, join hands, and share your marriage vows.
    Vows [we both used the same vows and memorized them)
    I, A1, take you, A2, to be my wife/husband
    I take you as you are, loving what I know of you and trusting what I do not yet know.
    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 in all that life may bring us.

  • Our vows were pretty traditional … I pulled about 10 different versions (including out of the Lutheran hymnal) and we sat down and picked out the bits we liked. I think our final version was lovely:

    I, (bride/groom), take you, (bride/groom), to be my wife/husband.
    To have and to hold you, to treasure you and keep you.
    I vow to honor you and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you,
    and to love and cherish you always.
    I promise you this from my heart, for all the days of my life.

    Simple words. =)

  • The last line of our like 6 line vows is the line that stays with me. David was so choked up he could barely say it, and I see to remember interrupting the pastor to say it all in a joyful rush. “I choose you on this day with all of my heart.”

  • katieprue

    Completely off topic, well sort of, but that dress in the photo? WOW. Gimme. :)

  • Harri

    We’ve not written ours yet, we’ve just started talking about it this week (the wedding is in early October).
    We’re having a civil partnership, so don’t legally have to say vows when we sign the register on the Saturday, but are having an event on the Sunday where we’ll say something, though we don’t really know what, yet. It’s quite hard having no structure or context to put vows into.
    We originally, many months ago, started choosing some readings, but since the design of the event has changed I’m not sure if it will work for us to ask others to read, so perhaps we’ll read them ourselves?
    All of that said, my partner hates being the centre of attention, and we’re quite private about our relationship, so it may be that we just do something very short and simple, I just don’t know…

  • Ladies, Thank you ALL for sharing, it’s such an inspiration. (As a matter of fact, I had to start skimming because I was starting to sniffle at work…but I can’t wait to go back and read ALL of our wonderful ideas.)
    And Lilly, thanks so much for reminding me of the Whitman poem. It’s buried in my wedding notes but as soon as I saw it I hardly needed the words to remember how much I love it.

  • Cool. I just wrote mine the other morning! This thread is so great, although it definitely made me tear up reading everyone’s vows! I was nervous about writing mine so I sent them to my fiance to collaborate and I think they will work. :)

    Here they are…

    Kepa. I love you. You are my best friend and my favorite person ever.

    Today I choose you to be my husband, the father of my future babies, my partner for life. I choose you to embark on this journey of marriage and on all my future adventures. I choose you because you are the one I want by my side whether I’m getting lost in a new city or just at home on the couch with a book. I choose you because you bring joy, happiness, comfort, and love to my life. I choose you because we make an awesome team.

    I promise to be your best teammate and your biggest cheerleader. I promise to be there for you to encourage you, to comfort you, to stand by you in every situation. I promise to love you and support you in good times and bad, when we are together and when we are apart, when life is easy and when life is hard, when I’m happy and when I’m mad.

    I promise to always hold you in the highest regard. I promise to cherish you, our love, and our relationship. I promise to put in the work to make these things always hold true. These things I give to you today and all the days of our life.

  • We decided it was important that we both make the same vows to each other. We have them included in the marriage certificate we made for ourselves (eff legality!) which was signed by all our our guests/witnesses and now hangs in our living room. Here’s what they were:

    Cindy, today I choose you to be my wife.
    I accept you as you are, with all your faults and all your strengths;
    And I offer myself, as I am, in return.
    On this journey together, I pledge to you
    that I will treat you as an equal partner;
    that I will challenge you to reach your greatest potential;
    and that I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you
    all of life’s adversities and all of its joys.
    I promise to love, encourage, and respect you in all you do
    from this day forward.

    Cindy, do you accept Julia’s promise and take her as your wife?

    I do.

    (And vice versa.)

  • They’re on their honeymoon at the moment, but I’d just like to throw it out there that we recently photographed an APW wedding where the groom surprised everyone and SANG his mothereffing vows. I cried like a baby.

    So, if you want to just utterly destroy everyone in attendance, pull an Adam Sandler and get your acoustic guitar.

  • I, Patrick [middle-lastname]
    Take you, Hayley[middle-lastname]
    To be my lawfully wedded wife. . .
    I promise to laugh with you in happiness, . . .
    To comfort you in sorrow. . .
    To conspire with you in mischief. . .
    And to be a faithful and loving partner in sickness and in health…
    Whatever life may bring us, . . . my trust, love, and friendship are yours.

    I, Hayley [middle-lastname]
    Take you Patrick [middle-lastname]
    To be my lawfully wedded husband. . .
    I promise to stand by you, . . .to trust you. . .
    To face challenges with courage and humor. . .
    And to be a faithful and loving partner in sickness and in health…
    As we begin the next chapter. . . in our story together, . . . I pledge to you. . . my friendship, my heart, and my soul, . . . and know that they are safe.

    *During the actual ceremony, our officiant LEFT OUT the “in sickness and in health” bit. We know we wrote them in there though, so even if we didn’t vow them in front of everyone, we meant it.

  • Our vows were mostly traditional, but this part that our JP put in the ceremony still makes me tear up-

    Trisha and A,
    take each other’s hands in your own,
    so that you may see the gift that they are to you.
    These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other all the days of your lives.
    These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.

    These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
    These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, and console you when you are grieving.
    These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.
    These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

    • Trisha!!! So beautiful… totally crying…

      • mara

        Me too!!!
        3 years later

  • cartascartas

    we were pretty traditional too, in our vows.

    we said:

    “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.”

    for the rings, we got a *bit* more creative, because it was really important for me to say that this was a CHOICE. we joined our lives because we wanted to, and just as wearing that rings is a choice to be made every day, staying married is also a choice to be made over and over again. :)

    “I give you this ring as a visible and constant symbol of my choice and promise to be with you for as long as I live.”

  • SpaceElephant

    I don’t want to share our vows, too private, but I do have a few tips:

    1. If you’re keeping them secret, talk about a general idea of what you think the vows are supposed to DO, what the tone of the vows should be, approximate length. That way you don’t have one way short jokey vows and one long, heartfelt, blubbering vows. If you really need it, set up a general framework (“I promise” sentences, “I love you because” sentences, etc.)

    2. I said this upthread, but practice saying them out loud beforehand. I am another one who is not into the memorizing thing, but I think just saying the words out loud is important. Plus it may help you craft what you want your vows to SOUND like. Words on paper are very different from words out loud.

    3. While you are saying them: BREATHE. Take all the time you need to breathe. You only say your vows once, so don’t rush yourself. If you feel yourself getting choked up, pause, breathe, wait until you’re ready to continue. Trust me, it may seem like a lifetime while you compose yourself, but your guests (and your partner) are NOT bored.

    4. Give your partner a copy when you get a chance (for us, when we got back to our room last night). That way you can talk about the specific words and really cement what those promises mean.

    My husband and I are theatre people, we’ve acted, written and directed, but we still had a time with this. Because it’s not a performance. Don’t think of it like one, think of it as the most important words you’ve ever said, and you want to say them with your full voice and confidence behind them.

  • MN Bride

    We also had pretty traditional vows. We liked the idea of repeating the words generations of people before us had said.

    My favorite part was after the pastor asked us if we took the other as spouse and promised to love, honor, cherish and protect, forsaking all others and holding only unto each other, all the days of our life, we each answered “With God’s help, I will”. We knew fulfilling those promises would be an on-going decision, not just something we did that day and that was it, and that we’d need help.

  • Oh, all of these are beautiful to read. Y’all are all adorable.

    My fiance and I thought about whether to write our own vows, because we’re both writers, but ultimately, we decided to use the Book of Common Prayer vows, which are very traditional. Besides the fact that we’re both Anglican anyway, there were three other main reasons for this:

    1. I love that, after the bride and groom say, “We will,” the celebrant asks our guests if they vow to uphold us in our marriage, and they respond, “We will.” The whole community promises to have our backs, and we’ll need that.

    2. The language is elegant and poetic. Whether you believe in the tenets of Christianity or not, you know pieces of the Book of Common Prayer, because it’s dramatically influenced the English language. (Kind of like how you don’t have to have ever studied Shakespeare to use phrases and words he invented.)

    3. We have a built-in vow renewal every time we go to an Anglican or Episcopalian wedding.

    • I adore the Book of Common Prayer wedding service. We ended up going with the traditional Presbyterian vows, but I don’t know a single person who doesn’t swoon a bit at the Book of Common Prayer’s ring exchange (“With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship. With all my worldly goods I thee endow.” *happy sighs*)

  • Kerry McKinnon Hansen

    Here’s mine! We wrote our own separately and then compared notes to make sure that they were somewhat on the same track. Definitely practice reading them out loud beforehand! We didn’t memorize them – that would have been just one more stressful thing to worry about that day. So we had them printed on small little cards that the pastor held on to. Then he handed them to us when it was time for us to say them.

    His Vows
    Sweetheart, every day we are together seems more and more like an endless dream. I am so lucky to have you in my life, and I thank God that I found you. I have found my soul mate, and I will never let you go. When we met, we were mere coworkers. We became great friends, which blossomed into love. Now, I can’t imagine anyone else I would want to spend the rest of my life with. I can’t wait to begin this journey together. I vow to be a loving husband and father, and the best friend you could ever hope for. I promise to love you, honor you, care for you, and be faithful to you, from this day forward. Today I give myself to you as your husband. From my heart to yours, I thee wed.

    My Vows
    I promise to give you the best future imaginable, while always being a passionate wife, a devoted mother, your greatest supporter, and your biggest fan. We’ll be inseparably bound by the thousands of events we’ll experience together. We’ll have a past rich with laughter, love, and adventure—a past we can always look back on with fondness, while bravely and enthusiastically facing our future.

    I vow to trust in your love and put apology and forgiveness above ego. To celebrate your joys and share your sorrows. To challenge and inspire you to be all that I believe you will become, and to welcome the same from you with an open heart. And to always remember this day, when I wanted nothing more in the world than to be yours—totally and completely.
    Today I give myself to you as your wife. From my heart to yours, I thee wed.

  • We wrote our vows and we gave it to each other to read about a week before the wedding. It was HARD writing it. I must have written the first sentence at least 100 times. My vow was way longer then his so I had to actually trim mine. Here’s a short excerpt:

    “I’ve been looking for you all of my life and I am so blessed that I’ve found you. You are an amazing man, boyfriend, fiancé and now I have the privilege of being able to call you my husband for the remaining days of our lives. I love you.”

  • Kate

    We also had a tough time coming up with vows, I searched and compiled several versions that I liked, picked apart the wording that was most meaningful to us and we tweaked it until we were both happy with them:

    On this day I give to you in the presence of God and our friends
    my promise to stay by your side,
    in sickness and in health,
    in joy and in sorrow,
    when life is easy and when it is hard.

    I promise to love you without reservation,
    comfort you in times of distress,
    encourage you to achieve all of your goals,
    laugh with you and cry with you,
    grow with you in mind and spirit,
    and always be open and honest with you.

    I promise to cherish you,
    and to always hold you in the highest regard.

    These things I promise you today,
    and for all the days of our life.

  • Raqui

    Love this! Thanks everyone. So glad I didn’t have time for eye make-up today. Besides the short traditional vows, we are thinking of saying these two poems to one another:


    HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…
    –William Butler Yeats

    The minute I heard my first love story
    I started looking for you, not knowing
    how blind that was.
    Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
    They’re in each other all along.
    We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
    We are tasting the taste this minute
    of eternity. We are pain
    and what cures pain, both. We are
    the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
    I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.
    You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
    I am your mirror, and here are the stones.
    –The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

    • Laura

      I love your choices! I got goosebumps reading them!

    • Our vows were translated from Frau Ava circa 1160, a really gorgeous poem. I’m in full support :)

  • Sarah

    These are the vows I wrote when we eloped. They were written for the setting — just the two of us and the officiant on short notice. The night before, though, we read each other’s and realized that we’d interpreted “write your own vows” very differently, so we decided to use only the traditional Hebrew vows. And then the officiant INSISTED that the Hebrew vows weren’t sufficient and made us repeat something he’d written (and we’d never seen before, and didn’t fully agree with). We’ll get it right next time.

    You have been many things to me — an entrymate, a classmate, a friend. A brother to my siblings, another one of “the kids” in my tight-knit family. A boyfriend, a fiance, a supporter and companion, a travel destination. A source of pride and joy and laughter, of sadness and tears. And now, here, you become one more: Mine. Forever! (::giggle::)

    I love you. And I’m excited to spend the rest of my life with you.

    But what can I vow, what can I promise about the future, when I have enough trouble predicting the present? Think back to freshman year, or senior spring, or a year ago when you proposed in a different tropical paradise. As I relive the path that brought us here, now, I find it both surprising and inevitable. Destined, perhaps.

    While I don’t know what twists and turns our lives will take, I can promise you this: my love for you will transcend all of them. *I will be there with you.* We won’t always agree, we won’t always be happy, but our love will grow and thrive and change — a fluctuating constant in an uncertain world.

  • We crafted our whole wedding ceremony, which was amazing and perfect for us. You can see it here: http://chetandnicole.com/2010/budget/diy/our-lovingly-crafted-ceremony/ It was on the longer side, definitely. The ceremony was about 30 minutes long, but it was different from most folks’.

    But, our vows were this:

    Jeff: Do you, Chet and Nicole, pledge to create a life of mutual respect, compassion, generosity, and patience towards each other as you grow together in years?
    -We do.
    Jeff: Do you pledge to recognize each other’s individuality and celebrate each other’s uniqueness as a strength in marriage. While at the same time, will you guard one another’s weaknesses with understanding, support, and inspiration?
    -We do.
    Jeff: And do you pledge to share the love you have for each other with all living beings? To be a couple that lets their marriage radiate into others , making their lives more beautiful because of it?
    -We do.

    Jeff: Chet/ Nicole, If you will face each other and repeat after me:
    Chet, I give you my life. With all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.
    Nicole, I give you my life. With all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.

  • Today I make a solemn vow.
    [Name,] I take you to be my husband. I promise before God and all who are present here that I will love you and be honest with you. I will forgive you as we have been forgiven, sacrificing for you as Christ did for all. I will respect and uphold you as an image of God. I will share my life with you, and where you go I will go; we will have an adventure together – for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both live.

    As a symbol of our covenant in Christ: with this ring, I thee wed

    (We hand-wrote them and read off of cards, which we have, ready for framing.)

  • Amber

    I pieced ours together from the internets and then we filled in part with our own words. We intentionally wanted a ceremony that wasn’t traditional, was atheist (didn’t mention religion/god) and that showed we were equal partners.

    *Said by Guy (written by him):*
    Gal, I love you because
    … you are always there for me, to make me smile and to make me laugh.
    … you are caring, generous, and thoughtful, and you accept me for who I am.
    … you are beautiful, seeing you smile and making you smile makes me so happy.
    … and you mean the world to me, every day I feel so lucky that we can build the life we want together.

    Because I love you
    … I will care for you, support you, and make you feel special every day, through good times and bad.
    … I will try my best to make you smile, no matter how silly a dance it takes.
    … I promise to be by your side, giving you my support, my love and my energy in whatever comes our way.
    Because I love you, I will become your husband today.

    *Said by Gal (written by her):*
    Guy, I love you because
    … you’re willing to resort to silly dance moves to make me laugh.
    … you want to travel the world with me.
    … you’re a genuinely good person.
    … and you have never asked me to change
    and I’ve always been comfortable being myself around you.
    Because I love you
    … I will always support you and work with you to build the life we want together.
    … I will do my best to make you smile, even if I have to resort to funny faces.
    … I promise, that no matter what lies in our path it will be our path and I will travel it along side you.
    Because I love you, I will become your wife today.

    These rings are as old as the universe. The metals that have been used to create these symbols of Gal and Guy’s commitment were forged by stars older than any of us can imagine. Extreme heat and pressures fused the atoms of this ore and they are now used to outwardly show Guy and Gal’s bond to each other.

    Guy, take this ring and place it on Gal’s finger, repeating after me:

    “This ring is a visible sign / of the inward and emotional bond / which unites our two hearts. All that I am and have is yours, / and all that I will become and accomplish / I share with you. This ring I give you / is my bond made in metal. Let it’s preciousness, / it’s shine and it’s weight / always remind you that I am by your side. That I am forever connected to you.”

    *Repeated for Gal*

  • Carly S

    Ok, our wedding is next weekend so I’m not 100% done yet. We are saying our own vows, and then each repeating the tradition Methodist church vows.

    Here are mine

    I have loved you for a long time. A few months in dating I told two friends “I could marry him tomorrow and know I was doing the right thing.” And now, years later, that day is here. I could not be more excited for this day, when I will finally become your wife.

    You are my best friend, my true love, and my partner in this crazy world. Thank you for taking such good care of me. Thank you for nurturing me, challenging me, inspiring me and empowering me to be better every day, and to keep growing and learning and evolving … and thank you for pushing yourself to do the same.

    So, today before all our family and friends, I promise to encourage you, to take care of you, to laugh with you, to cry with you, to dream and to hope and to grow with you. I promise to pack you good lunches, not leave all my shoes on the living room floor, and to keep peace in our divided household during football season.

    I promise to love you not only when it is easy, but also (and especially) when it is difficult. I vow to remember that we are two different people who deal with problems in different ways. I vow to respect you and your opinions and ideas. I promise to remember that we are a team, and that we are always in it together, and that we are stronger together than we are apart.

    Most importantly, I promise to try every day to be a wife who is worthy of your love.

    These are my vows to you.

    • mere…

      beautiful….I really love these.

      • Carly S

        Thanks Mere. This is the first place I’ve shared my vows so it’s nice to get affirmation before I actually SAY them next week :)

  • Erica

    We wrote our own–cribbing from a few places–and shared them with each other ahead of time. They were:

    Erica, in the presence of our family and friends, I take you for my wife. I promise to be a friend and a partner in the life that we make together. I promise to provide encouragement and sanctuary, and to share with you the sorrows and the joys that lie ahead. I promise to be faithful to you and honest with you. I will share my thoughts and my life with you. I will listen, and I will seek to understand. I will love you as long as I live.

    Sam, here in the presence of our family and friends, I take you for my husband. I promise to be a loving partner through all that is to come. I promise to be faithful to you and honest with you. I promise to share my thoughts with you, to care for and console you, to always be your advocate. I promise to protect and preserve your dreams, as I know you will my own. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.

  • Kris

    Meg, I’m so glad you asked this question, because I trolled this blog so deeply as we worked on our ceremony to hunt for readings and vow ideas! Happy to share as a way to give back. :)

    We started with an adapted version from UNION by Robert Fulghum to introduce the vows. Here’s how it went:

    The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

    Look at one another – remember this moment.

    Before this moment you have been many things to one another – friend, companion, lover, travel partner, teacher: for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world,

    This – is my husband. This – is my wife.

    Catch hands now, as you face one another to make your vows.


    You are my confidante and my greatest love.

    You have inspired me to grow, to become kinder and more gentle.

    Your beautiful smile lights up our days together, and I feel so lucky and grateful that I’ll be spending the rest of those days together with you.

    You’ve taught me that through love, empathy and dedication, two strong individuals can join together in an even stronger union.

    Today, I choose to spend the rest of my life with you.

    I promise to love you for who you are, and for who you are yet to become.

    I promise to be patient, and to remember that all things between us are rooted in love.

    I promise to nurture your dreams and to help you reach them.

    I promise to share my whole heart with you, and to remember to show you how deeply I care for you, no matter the challenges that may come our way.

    I promise to love you loyally and fiercely—as long as I shall live.

    [Bride – and I was definitely crying by this point!]

    You are my best friend and my greatest love.

    You have taught me that two people joined together
    with respect, trust and open communication
    can be far stronger and happier than each could ever be alone.

    You are the strength I didn’t know I needed,
    and the joy that I didn’t know I lacked.

    Today, I choose to spend the rest of my life with you.

    I promise to love you for who you are,
    and for who you are yet to become.

    I promise to be patient,
    and to remember that all things between us are rooted in love.

    I promise to nurture your dreams and to help you reach them.

    I promise to share my whole heart with you,
    and to remember to show you how deeply I care for you,
    no matter the challenges that may come our way.

    I promise to love you loyally and fiercely—as long as I shall live.

    • Julia

      These are beautiful….thanks so much for sharing!

  • Laura

    I wrote our vows – my husband had input, but I’m really the writer in the relationship so it just worked. They were a combination of things found on the internet, some personal creativity (HIRL – Honesty, Integrity, Respect and Loyalty were the code of conduct in our fraternity (how we met) and so it’s kind of our code of conduct for our relationship too), and obviously the traditional vows at the end.

    “I, Laura, take you Thomas, to be my lawfully wedded husband, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love. I choose you to be no one other than yourself, loving what I know of you, and trusting that which I do not yet know. I promise to always be honest with you, even when it is difficult. I will treat our relationship with the integrity that it deserves, knowing that nothing else is more important to me than your love. I promise to respect you as an individual, partner, and equal. Above all, I will be loyal and faithful to you. Your goals will be my goals, and your dreams will be my dreams, and where you go, I will go as well. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness. I will always adore, honor, and encourage you. I take you to be 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 death do us part. ”

  • We took our Declaration of Intent from the Book of Common Prayer:

    Officiant: [Sharon/Jason], will you have this man/woman to be your wedded husband/wife, to live with him/her after God’s commandments in the holy estate of marriage? And will you love him/her, honor and cherish him/her, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her so long as you both shall live?
    Sharon/Jason: I will

    And our vows and ring exchange came from the Presbyterian marriage service:

    I, [Jason/Sharon], take you, [Sharon/Jason], 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 sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.

    This ring I give you as a symbol and pledge of constant faith and abiding love.

    It was really important to us that we find vows that let us say the same thing to one another (since a lot of Christian wedding services have the groom pledging to provide/protect and the bride promising to serve/obey… which is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, just not our cuppa). And, like someone mentioned upthread, we responded to the Declaration of Intent with “I will” rather than “I do,” because we liked the subtle nod toward marriage being a continual act of will and determination rather than just a pledge made in the present tense.

    I’ve written a bit more about our ceremony here in case people are looking for ideas: http://www.bridesanstulle.com/2011/07/ceremony.html

  • Barbara

    We decided to include a declaration of intent based on a Buddhist wedding ceremony we found online. It was important to us that we acknowledge the work we will need to put into ourselves individually and to us as a couple in order to have a happy and loving marriage.

    This is a moment of celebration. Let it also be a moment of dedication.

    D and B, 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?
    We do.

    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? Do you pledge to avoid becoming narrow, closed or opinionated, and to help each other to see various sides of situations?
    We do.

    Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each 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?
    We do.

    Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other, and to share it with all others? 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 spiraling inwards and becoming self absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all?
    We do.

    Should the time come for you to part ways, do you pledge to look back at your time together with joy-joy that you met and shared what you have- and acceptance that we cannot hold on to anything forever?
    We do.

    Do you pledge to remember the disadvantages of ignorance, anger and clinging attachment, to apply antidotes when these arise in your minds, and to remember the kindness of others and your connection to them?
    We do.

    Do you pledge day to day, to be patient with yourselves and others, knowing that change comes slowly and gradually?
    We do.

    Do you pledge to remain optimistic that you can achieve your greatest potential and lasting happiness?
    We do.

    I, B, choose you, D, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to honor and respect, to love and to cherish. I say these words because I love you, and choose to live the rest of my life with you. This is my solemn vow.

    I, D, choose you, B, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to honor and respect, to love and to cherish. I say these words because I love you, and choose to live the rest of my life with you. This is my solemn vow.

  • emma

    We were married in an Episcopal service and thus followed The Book of Common Prayer. Like many have stated it was important to me to say the same words that my parents, grandparents, and other family members committed to in their marriage services. But because of this I’ve always felt I didn’t construct what I felt I vowed in my marriage (esp since The Book of Common Prayer vows are on the short/vague side.) Because of this I’ve chosen to write a vow to my husband for our first (paper) anniversary which is next week. I plan to hang it in our new home as a visible symbol of what I have vowed as a WIFE and what I expect myself to uphold.

  • ooh, great thread! We wrote our vows together, borrowed and tweaked from several other awesome vows I found on indiebride. There are some feminist undertones to them, and themes of teamwork as well as individuality were included throughout our ceremony. Some of the lines were the same and some were different.


    I, Jessica take you, Matthew, to be my husband.
    I love you for who you are, for who you might become, and for who I am when I am with you.
    I am always on your team, and your dreams and happiness are inseparable from my own.
    I will love, honor, respect, and encourage you so that we may be strong as individuals and stronger yet together.
    I promise to delight with you in happiness and comfort you in sorrow, through all our years and in all that life may bring us.

    My husband’s:

    I, Matt, take you, Jessica, to be my wife.
    I love you for who you are, for who you might become, and for who I am when I am with you.
    I adore you for being Jessica and you can count on me to always be on your side.
    I will respect you as an individual and an equal and I will always try to be worthy of your love and respect.
    I promise to delight with you in happiness and comfort you in sorrow, through all our years and in all that life may bring us.

    • Jessica

      Love this! Especially since me and my man are Jessica and Matthew too! :)

  • We wrote our own … and I subsequently lost his (along with our certificate and marriage license. *facepalm*)

    But here’s mine:

    We began on such opposite ends, even before we started dating. But because you fought for what you wanted and I was finally ready to give love a chance, we are able to stand here today.

    You have been by me during some of the toughest times I’ve had yet. And you were unwavering. You let me be when I needed such and you pushed me when I needed to be pushed. While our three years together may be considered a short time, as I look back it’s evident how we’ve both grown, on our own, together and own. We’ve built our own family and in ways, our own home. There’s a comfort stepping in to the land of us that I can’t find anywhere else. And I can’t wait to continue down this path in our life.

    I love that loving you puts me at ease.

    I love that each day I find a way to love you more and each day also produces evidence that this resource is inexhaustible.

    Thank you for taking on what you know I can’t, but producing what I want or need from of it.

    Thank you for also believing I can do something, as out of reach as it may seem, and for pushing me toward it.

    I will always love you for who you are, what you do and the endeavors you seek. May you love me forever and ever for the same.

    I will always explore your book and movie suggestions, even if it takes me two or three tries. But in return, I will challenge you at Tony Hawk, just so we can even the playing field.
    Once you find cricket in America, I will watch it. When we go to Australia, I’ll still watch it. But it better not overlap with a Red Sox game.

    I will be there for you as you have been for me. To stand by your side when you’re enduring adversity, give you love when you need it most and roll my eyes when you’re being silly. To acquiesce to some games, to join in others. To know when I need you most, and recognize when you need me. To love those who love you as you love those who love me.

    I promise to love you like a full bottle of whiskey and never hate you like an empty one.

    I will always consider you my ally, my happiness, my love. I am forever honored and grateful you have taken the time, the energy to get to know me for who I am and to continue to love me each day. Thank you for being who you are and for loving me. You are an amazing human being and I can’t imagine going through the rest of the adventures that await without you by my side.

  • We’re in the process of writing ours, but they’re based on the format of these: http://theneotraditionalist.com/2010/10/01/our-vows/ which really resonated with both of us. We’ll start out with personal statements, and by the end we’ll transition into the required lines that have to be spoken, per our priest.

    I suck at hearing things (which…yeah, that sounds weird…I’m just better at processing visuals than audio), so I don’t want to be surprised at the altar. Also the whole process of wedding planning has been done together, so it didn’t feel right to all of a sudden be separate for the vow writing.

    We’re not going to memorize them. We’re going to get a book, hollow it out, then paste the vows inside. Much “cleaner” looking than a piece of paper, I think.

  • I combined bits and pieces I found a couple places online, and we each had a funny personal promise as well (which I removed):

    Charise/Ryan, in choosing to spend my life with you:
    I promise to respect you as an individual, a partner and an equal.
    To always communicate openly and honestly.
    To try to understand you and help you understand me.
    [Redacted funny personal promise here]
    I promise to laugh with you when times are good and comfort you in times of sorrow
    Through all our years and in all that life may bring us.

  • We wrote each others vows – as in I wrote what I wanted him to say and he wrote what he wanted me to say, and we never showed them to each other before we read them at the wedding. We did not discuss the format or the style with each other, just wrote them on our own time a week before our wedding. Then the day before the wedding, we each printed them out and sealed them in an envelope addressed to the other person. We had our officiant keep them in the bound presentation folder that she was reading from and give them to us when it was time. We also had her mention in the ceremony that we wrote them for each other and had never read them. The funny thing was, we ended up writing very similar vows that complemented each other, with a mix of some funny stuff as well as serious stuff. We both selected the same phrase about promising to be there for the other, and we both included a poem (different poems). Because we printed them on 5×7″ cards, they were similar in length. Everyone at the wedding said it was really emotional that we were willing to trust that the other could write something that we would read sight unseen at the wedding. We kept them and are going to frame them with a photo eventually (we only got married on July 9).

  • Nicole

    Oh, I SO wish this thread had existed when we were writing our vows 2 years ago! Ok, so we decided to keep it uber-simple. We wrote our vows together and both of us said the same words to each other:

    I take you to be my husband/wife
    loving what I know of you
    trusting what I don’t yet know
    with respect for your independence
    and faith in our shared love
    through all of our days
    and in all that life may bring us.

  • I have a question – when a blogger post her wedding ceremony on her blog, can we incorporate it freely or do we need to acknowledge where we found it (to avoid copyright infringement)?

    I cobbled together a ceremony that I love love love from various places across the web ($2000 Wedding, peonies & polaroids for sure, but others too) but after I put it together I started to wonder if it was okay to do that.

    Any thoughts? Should I get permission from the bloggers or assume that they are putting it up to share and inspire, like in this forum?

    • I imagine that most of these bloggers are Creative Commons (you can look/ask/email to be sure, but I think if they don’t say all rights reserved, you can assume they are). Since it’s your personal wedding, I think it would be fine. The only issue might be if you were an officiant putting together a template for all the weddings you do — then, you should probably ask permission because of the frequency with which you’d use the words and because you’d earn money from the words.

  • I’ve a link on my blog to our full ceremony including vows:

    They were compiled from a lot of different sources, so you may recognise some parts! Working out the vows was my favourite part of wedding planning :)

  • Literally JUST posted The Boy and my vows (the entire civil ceremony actually) on my bloggity. Mostly because while I was writing out the ceremony at 1AM the day of – I couldn’t find anything!!! Good on ya, PW, for doing this round-up. Here’s a link to ours (which also includes editable downloads): http://www.kissmytulle.com/2011/08/wedding-wednesday-our-alaska-civil-ceremony-part-1.html

  • Tiffany

    I have been stalking APW since I found it about 2 months ago! What a great site, and I found it at just the right time-we are zeroing in on the 2 months to go mark!

    This stream was much needed as the time to sit down and write vows draws near. However, I am a little confused about the order of the ceremony.

    We would like to do include our guests blessing, the “traditional” I-dos (or does this count as the vows), the ring ceremony, and the vows. I am pretty fuzzy on what order to do everything after the guest blessing.

    Bah, so confused, Any ideas?

    • The “traditional I Dos” are the vows, and you can add to them or change them as you wish. We had ours near the end, with the officiant speaking just a little but more afterward, but with the bulk of the ceremony before the vows. :)

  • Did anyone do a handfasting? I’m interested in incorporating this, along with vows and a ring exchange, but am unsure how to do it without it taking over the ceremony. I love the symbolism of sand ceremonies and unity candles and the like but have never seen one done well so that it didn’t “interrupt” the ceremony. I’m thinking maybe of a handfasting in the confirmation of marriage, after the vows and ring exchange, as the pastor is announcing us married, he/she ties our hands while speaking beautiful and moving words about “tying the knot” and “being bound” or the like. Of course, in my mind, everything runs smoothly and is beautiful and back lit so that we have an ethereal glow around us, like Mel Gibson and his woman do in “Braveheart”. … maybe not.

    • Jen

      I don’t plan to have this, but we are encorporating a ‘sand ceremony’ to unite his children and mine, plus ourselves, symbolically into one family. Here’s how we’re doing it:

      *exerpt from my ‘wedding script’*

      Pastor says:
      William and Jennifer entered into this relationship, each with children from previous relationships. We would like to ask them to join us now. Austin, Alexandria, Heaven, Julien and Riley, will you please join us at the table over here?


      Today, not only do William and Jennifer become husband and wife, but they each bring members into a new family. As a symbol of this family joining, each member will pour their individual coloured sand into the vase. As every new colour joins the vase, it will create a medley of colours, filling the vase to become one. Just as every person joins the group to become one family.

      So with the Pastor having some sort of introduction to explain what’s going to happen, that hopefully won’t feel like we’re interrupting – I struggled with this, too, for the record. :)

  • Just gotta say–that’s my friend! In my wedding dress! In that picture! Squee! :)
    Nothing to add on the vows front, really. We went traditional.

  • Not like you need anymore comments on this massive comment-thread, but hey, why not… :)

    We have ours framed, along with a photo of our first kiss, and have it hanging in a prominent place in our home – so to be always be reminded of the promises we made to each other (and because it makes me smile when I look at it). We wrote our own vows, but went surprisingly traditional. This was the one part of the wedding planning James really wanted a say in (otherwise he could have cared less about decorations and colors and even registering for gifts! haha.. but I’ll tell you about that another time perhaps). Anyway – where was I? Oh yes – VOWS!

    I, Christy, take you, James, to be my husband;
    To be my lifelong friend, my love, my confidante, and the father of our children.
    I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of need,
    in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph;
    I promise to cherish you and respect you all the days of my life.

    (and vice versa, naturally)

  • Here are the ones we wrote/cobbled together from other vows and readings we liked:
    (Lindi/Helen), 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.

    We had our officiant read them, line by line, for each of us to repeat- neither of us wanted the stress of trying to remember them in the moment!

  • Ash

    “I take you to be my beloved, promising to be a loving a faithful partner. I ask you to be none other than yourself. I promise to cherish and delight in your spirit and individuality, to face life’s challenges with patience and humor, to respect our differences and to nurture our growth. This commitment is made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope and made eternally new.” Ashley & Nick April, 9, 2011

  • Meg

    We wrote our vows together, with lots of inspiration from the archives of 2000dollarwedding.com. The parts in Spanish are because I am a Spanish teacher, we met in a Spanish class and lived in Spain together.


    I love you because you are one of the kindest, most accepting people I know. You always appreciate the quirks in others and don’t try to change them.

    I love you because we always sing in the car and even though we sound terrible we also sound joyful. We spend a lot of time in the car so it’s good we’ve found a way to entertain ourselves. I love that we can make anything fun together.

    I love you because you make me laugh with your puns and your silly, made up songs and dances. We’ll probably see some of those after a few drinks tonight.

    I love you because you are passionate about so many things, and I know that dedication carries over into our relationship and our plans for our life together.

    I love you because you are not afraid to be yourself 100% of the time, and you encourage me to do the same. I love that I can be my completely honest self with you and trust that you will support me and love me no matter what.


    I love you because you have an endless thirst for knowledge. I know that if I pose a question about anything, I will have the answer in short order. Either from your own vast knowledge, or in record time from the inter Webs.

    I love you because you accept me and all of my craziness. You know the Huskies mean more than just a game, and you’re OK with that. That’s huge.

    I love you because you frequently tell me you like my singing. I’m worried about you, but I love you for it.

    I love you because you always want to know what’s going on with me, and listen when I tell you. It’s obvious that the things that happen in my life are of great interest to you, and it’s reassuring to know that I can share my experiences with you always, even if you’re not literally by my side for all of them.

    I love you porque puedes entender que digo ahora, y no vas a corregirme despues. Te quiero con todo mi Corazon y tengo un monton de emocion sobre nuestra vida junta.

    b. Shared vows…(Ryan in bold, Meg in italics): Because I love you, I promise to rinse the sink after I shave and I promise to keep the dish brush out of the sink. Because I love you I will always split the last cookie into two (almost) equal halves and I will be sure to cut one more chunk of cheese than I intend on using with dinner. Because I love you, I understand why you can’t shave during a Husky winning streak (or the month of March). Because I love you, I will continue to do my best to stay off your 2/3 of the bed unless invited and Because I love you, I would move to the desert of Eastern Washington or the top of a mountain in Peru, because I know that, as long as you are there, it will be the happiest place (for us anyway) on Earth.
    c. Each of us, separately: Meg/Ryan, you are my best friend, my family and my partner in adventure. Because I love you, I promise to treat you the way you want to be treated and with the respect you deserve. I promise to build trust with my words and actions. I will deeply appreciate all of your positive qualities and not let the passage of time dull that appreciation. When life challenges us, I promise to focus on the resiliency of our love. And if I stumble and fail to live up to my promises, I will look you in the eyes, hold your hands, and apologize with sincerity. Today, I promise you that, though the world may change and we may change with it, I will always love you, always treasure you and always share my life and all that I am with you. I will be my best for you.

  • Jeannine

    What an excellent thread. Although the conversation has died down, i’ll add yet another post to the mix as part of the archive for future desperate vow-writers.

    To reassert what spaceelephant said above, figuring out the structure for the vows together can be enormously helpful if you each want to write your own vows. We had crazy writers’ block about it until we set up a general structure, (1. sentiments about love/marriage/each other; 2. promises 3. ending with the phrase “this is my solemn vow”) and temporal parameters (1.5 minutes for the first section, 1 minute for the second). That structure made it much more freeing to write whatever I wanted because I knew that both of our vows would be along the same wavelength while still being very much in keeping with each of our own voices and personality.

    I also ended up using the citation from song of solomon that I found on the archives of this here blog as inspired by meg (although I used the king james version) and elsewhere on the internet.

    Mine read:
    Mr., I love you tremendously, with all of my heart, and I feel so fortunate that we get to make our life together–to laugh together, to take care of each other, to ease one another’s suffering, and to brighten one another’s days.
    Chapter 8, Verse 6, of Song of Solomon reads: “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death;” I cite this today, as do many other loving couples in their marriage ceremonies,
    because, for me, the best part of love is the strength that you find when you want to give yourself fully to another person. Not only is my love for you infinitely strong but I give you my love in the hopes that it will strengthen you and lift you up in whatever task you take on in this world.
    So in this life that we will make together, I promise.
    I promise to respect who you are and what you need—and to acknowledge that these will often be different from my instincts for myself.
    I promise to value your happiness and fulfillment as equal to my own.
    And because you are my most beloved babe, I promise to cherish you and support you and bring joy to your life.
    This is my solemn vow.

    The phrase “as do many many other loving couples” is there because I’m an academic and it’s not possible for me to not acknowledge sources in some way shape or form. ;-) the ceremony text is kind of hilariously dotted with footnotes as well.

  • SinnerElla

    OK, so here’s the deal. My husband and I have been married for 10 years almost. We are renewing our vows in November and I’m just starting to plan a few things out. (Hey, don’t blame me, he’s the sensitive female one that wanted this whole shindig.)
    I am NOT girly, but I am an Aries, so emotion is what I do. I’m also a self proclaimed writer, which in reality means I’m reasonably intelligent, highly gifted in the smart-assery, and well rounded in written communication.
    My question is this, HOW THE EFF am I supposed to open my statement of continuing commitment/reaffirmation/continuation of serving my promised life sentence? I won’t have a problem conveying my feelings for my husband or what I promise to work on or continue doing or stop doing, it’s just that friggin beginning paragraph. This is worse than any thesis building I have EVER had to face.
    Our ceremony is going to be very small, as in MAX 20 people, mostly sharing DNA with one of the 2 of us and it will incorporate our children somehow. (Still working on that part) I may have them perform a portion of the handfasting ceremony, but my hardcore Christian mother in law may very well flip out completely if I ask my step-son to be a part of a non-Christian ritual, even though she knows that my husband and our other 2 children are not Christian and/or religious to begin with.
    Thanks for any help!

    • well, you could write “I REcommit myself to” as your beginnning. Or perhaps “I renew the commitment we made on XYZ date.” Other possibilities:

      – I reaffirm my commitment to honor, love, etc
      – I promise to continue to
      – I stand, again, to repeat and reaffirm the words I have vowed before

      Would your MIL really flip out during the ceremony? I imagine not. And if you work with an officiant, they can likely help you come up with something that is not overtly pagan and kind of throws a bone to Christianity without being overtly Christian either. Unitarian wedding plans are really good at doing stuff like that. I’m Christianish marrying a Catholic, and that’s our plan for our Episcopal wedding.

      • SinnerElla

        We aren’t going to really have an officiant. I have a friend that’s going to help with writing the ceremony from start to finish. We’ll probably have someone who does the typical “thank you for taking part…” thing, but no one to be in an official capacity for it. And my MIL wouldn’t flip out during, but I wouldn’t be spoken to for a very long time after and would have to suffer the “eff you and die” stare for the night. Too bad, it’s not about her. As far as incorporating the kids, I’m pretty much planning on printing out “scripts” for them to say something with the draping of each chord, such as what the color represents and how it functions in our lives kind of thing. The script part is more for them to be able to see who goes next and what they will be saying.
        I’m too old to care what someone else is going to think about what I want to do for a ceremony that is for my husband, kids and I. The others are there because they’re involved in our lives and so we can celebrate with them. It’s more to thank them for their support (and lack of) over the past 10 years.

  • Rachel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This will be SO helpful!

  • We did bracelets instead of rings (“tie the knot”), so that’s where part of this comes from. We cobbled these together from some unitarian sources the night before our elopement, so they’re not perfect, but we still like them. While I like other people’s longer vows, we wanted to go with short and sweet.

    I, Leah, commit myself to you, Matt, as wife 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.

  • SinnerElla

    Well, it’s funny. After posting last night and at around 4 this morning while watching CSI: NY, inspiration hit me. I’ve decided to go a more genuine comical direction with ours, cause it’s who we are. Here’s what I have for now, though, being HUGE on editing, adding and removing, I’m sure it will change drastically over the next 2 months.

    10 years ago, we stood together and promised our hearts and lives to each other, meanwhile our families placed bets of how long it would last. As we stand here today, I still wonder how much we should be collecting and whether there should be some “Rawlings Baseball” style convincing involved. At this time I say to them all “HA! Take that!” and I say thank you, Steven. Thank you for trusting me after you had been hurt and let down by others. Thank you for being there for me when most would have walked away. Thank you for our 3 beautiful, wonderfully awesome, dangerously witty and villainously smart children. Thank you for putting up with me and loving me despite all of my infuriatingly stubborn qualities, you can blame those on my dad.
    10 years ago I said the words “10 years to life” to you. It had been 10 years since we went on our first date that we were married and today it has been 10 more. I love you and our children with all of my heart and look forward to the rest of life with you. Today I say this last 20 years has been nothing compared to what is to come. I challenge you to 100 more years. No, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU. And I know how competitive we are, so bring it on, Hunny. That’s 100 years of hard core competition, arguments, hugs, discussions, kisses, tears, mood swings, I love yous, shopping trips, possibly horrible haircuts, correcting your spelling and language, and possible battles with “newly married grilled cheese” type dinners. You think you can hang? Cause I’m all in.
    I love you, Steven. To steal one of your cheesy lines that you stole from a cheesy movie, you complete me. You challenge me to be a better person, you support me in all of my good intentions of new hobbies that never make it past the first project, you help me see when I’ve blown things out of proportion and bring me back to reality, no matter how much it bruises my Aries ego. For all of these things I love you. You are the only person strong enough and tolerant enough to deal with me, you are my perfect opposite and you are my partner in this comedic adventure we call our life. We have suffered together and fought with each other and everything we have overcome has made us stronger, individually and together. I would not change anything, for everything has lead us to where we are now. And you know what? It’s pretty freaking great, if you ask me.

  • We copied and pasted: I was lead from a discussion about October last year on APW to several other blogs that had awesome services and Vows written up on them…
    Then edited bits where I saw fit, added some more and came up with this:

    “M, I promise to be your faithful and loving wife,
    to cherish your intellect and uniqueness,
    to delight in your happiness and comfort you in sorrow,
    to communicate openly and honestly and to listen carefully,
    to support and encourage you,
    and to be your eager partner in exploring the things we have yet to learn and places we have yet to go.
    My love is yours now, and for all the days before us.”

    (to see the entire ceremony, follow this link: http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/2010/12/wedding-detailing-ceremony.html )

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  • Here are our vows. They still make me cry. We wrote them together, each of us saying the same thing (which felt important to us), and then repeated bits of them after one of our celebrants spoke them aloud. Our four (!) celebrants, very close friends, wrote some beautiful homilies/charges that preceded these:

    Do you, _____, commit today to take ___ as your husband/wife with knowledge of these risks and challenges and with recognition of the work required of you.
    Reply: “I do”

    Then repeat after me.

    With all my heart,
    I, _____, take you, ____, to be my husband/wife,
    to love you and cherish you for all of my days,
    to help you and honor you in all that I do,
    to give you understanding and comfort / in whatever the future may bring,
    in confidence that together / we are responsible for our destiny”

  • Robin

    I have read this blog forever and never posted – I was too bowled over by the brilliance to work up the nerve to comment! But, I’m newly married (two weeks ago) and I can honestly say that the part of the wedding that is fixed in my mind most clearly is saying our vows, so I wanted to share them here in the hopes that it might help another couple in the teeniest way. We thought long and hard about what we wanted to vow – we wrote and rewrote until we knew that our vows reflected the kind of marriage we are building every day, and the kind of partners we wanted to be to each other. Here are the vows, with thanks to many many internet sources for a word here, a phrase there.

    I, _____, take you,______, to be my husband/wife. From this day forward, I promise you these things. I will love you and be with you through all of life’s joys and challenges. I will be your faithful teammate and Ranger Buddy. I will treat you with kindness and respect, and give you honesty and compassion. I will share in your dreams, and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will take your family as my own, and hold them dear to my heart. I will live my life to make yours as amazing and fulfilling as it possibly can be. I will stand by your side in all things, today and for the rest of my life.

    Also, if you’re curious about what a “Ranger Buddy” is – my husband is a former Army Special Forces (green beret) guy, and went through Ranger School early in his Army career. At Ranger School, each man is paired up with a “buddy” for some portion of the course, and the bond they form is pretty astounding. I couldn’t begin to tell you how hellacious this experience was or the level of admiration I have for him and all the other men who go through trials like Ranger School, Special Forces selection, the list goes on. We debated whether or not to include “Ranger Buddy” in our vows, because I’m (obviously) not a Ranger, and we didn’t want to offend those who are. In the end, though, for us being a Ranger Buddy means having each other’s backs under the worst possible circumstances, no matter what. Having it in the vows summed up in two words (meaningful mostly to us) the level of support we want to provide one another. And in happy news, my husband’s actual Ranger Buddy made it home from Afghanistan in time to be our best man.

    • Tatiana

      This is wonderful and perfect. I’ll be having a military wedding with my “battle-buddy” this coming fall and completely understand the meaning and importance of incorporating those words into the vows…I’ve been debating the same thing and I’m so happy to read that someone else has done it (and SO thrilled his Ranger Buddy made it back safely). Congratulations to you, both!

  • Julia Dossett Morgan

    *I love our vows and read them a few times a month. We also framed them and have them on our dresser. We wrote them to not only be an important part of our marriage ceremony but to act as a road map for the times to come.*

    I, Julia, take you Andy, as my husband, partner and lifelong companion.
    I promise to love, honor and respect you,
    and to see your wants and needs as equal to my own.
    I promise to be strong for you, to hold you up in times of trial and challenge,
    and to support you and our marriage with all I am and all I can give.
    I promise to be patient, understanding, and forgiving with you, as I know you will be with me.
    I promise to nurture and encourage your creativity and passions,
    and to honor the unique person you are. I love you, and I will never try to change you.
    I promise to take your family as my own, to love and care for them as long as I am able.
    I promise to seek adventure, joy and fun with you, and to enrich our lives through culture, art and nature.
    I promise to honor these words all my life, and to look back on them often for guidance and purpose as we build our lives together.
    I promise never to forget the commitment I make to you today..

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  • Jen

    We actually aren’t married yet, that’s not until September of this year, BUT, I recently finished writing what I plan to say at our wedding :)

    We decided that the pastor will give us some traditional-type vows to repeat, but not until after we have each had a moment to say something to each other. Here’s what I’ve prepared:

    Over the years, I’ve had many different roles, different jobs. I’ve had the role of daughter, sister, mother, stepmother, godmother. I’ve been a girlfriend, a lover, a best friend.
    I’ve been a cashier, a secretary, a telemarketer, a babysitter, an assistant. I’ve been a student, and in some ways, I’ve even been a teacher.
    But today, September 22nd, 2012, our wedding day…my role, my job, my life, becomes that of your wife.

    Every time I’ve embarked on a new journey, I’ve been super nervous about the road ahead of me.
    Except this one.

    Even though I’ve never been one before, my new role that I start today, as your wife, doesn’t make me nervous one little bit. Maybe it’s because I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was a little girl. Maybe it’s because you’ve been a very obedient fiancé so it stands to reason you’ll be a good servant—err—husband.
    Or maybe it’s because I know that no matter what kinds of plot twists our story may have in store for us, that we will always look at each other the way we are looking today, with as much love, and devotion to each other as we have in our eyes standing here, promising our forevers to each other.

    I always dreamed of a tall, dark prince riding in on a white steed to save the day, and rescue me from the tall tower guarded by a fire breathing dragon, and then we’d live happily ever after.
    Instead, I got a not-all-that tall, tattoo’d frog, arriving in Don’s silver minivan, so that I could save his day. The only thing that was guarded was my heart, after years of dragons’ fire burning it almost beyond repair. And instead of it being the happy ending, it was just the beginning for us.

    So, steed or no steed, tall or not-so-tall, prince or frog…….you are the one I call my own, who today, I pledge the rest of my life to. With love, devotion, honesty, loyalty, and the thing that started it all – friendship. I could imagine nobody else I would rather share my fairy tale with.

    And for the record, I never needed a prince – we all know how much I love frogs.
    (This is cute because I collect frog figurines)

    Then the part the pastor will say for us to repeat is:

    I, ______, take you, ___________, as my wife/husband, from this day forward.
    In the presence of our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to laugh with you and cry with you, to love you unconditionally, and to cherish you and our love, as long as we both shall live.

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  • Jenn

    My vows are: Jared,Through the years you have been my best friend,and greatest confidant,You are the most generous,loving,unselfish person I know,and I am honoured to become your wife,to be the woman who gets to spend the rest of her life with you,you are the most wonderful person I can imagine,and I promise,from this moment forward,that I will love and honour you,I will accept you for all of your faults and strengths as I hope you can accept me for mine. I will stay by your side through sorrow and joy,in sickness and in health,I shall laugh with you,and cry with you. To cherish you and care for you,for the rest of my life,’till death do us part.

    We are still in the engagement phase and my fiance hasnt finished his yet,lol.
    Some of these vows are so beautiful it almost makes mine seem so childish. *Get pen and paper* I think I might do a little bit of editing now.
    Thank you guys for the inspiration.

  • Kate

    Thanks for everyone who has posted their vows, it’s made for some lovely reading!

    My issue it, I love the idea and the tradition behind the ketubah…the problem is, neither me nor my fiance is Jewish, and none of our families are either. Is there a way to incorporate it without being offensive to the Jewish religion? Is it weird to ‘co-opt’ it? How would we explain it?

    I’d appreciate any feedback :)

  • Our vows:


    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.


    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!”

    • Gretchen

      I absolutely love these. Wedding is in one week and I have writers block. Thank you so much for inspiring me.

    • Ashley Cassel

      these are great!!! thank you for the inspiration!

    • mara

      YOU MADE ME CRY AT WORK!! – We are both trying to write our vows now and I just got completely inspired with this. I can so relate to every thing you said..We adopted 4 gatos though…hahaha

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  • Becky

    I found the information on this site really useful when writing my wedding vows. For that reason I would like to share the end result, so that I might give back some of the inspiration I sought when looking here!

    We wrote our vows in isolation, but wanted to ensure there was some symmetry, and that they were a similar length. We also wanted to cover some key aspects of marriage (honesty, respect, loyalty etc.) and that our promises about those things were equal. The beginning and end were the same but we each wrote something personal, and in secret, for the middle section.
    [Both – some of this section felt a bit clichéd, but we were running our of time!]
    Today I join my life with yours, not merely as your wife, but as your friend, your lover and
    your confidant. In upholding this marriage I promise to bring respect and honesty, loyalty and trust, love and
    laughter. Let me be the shoulder you lean on, the rock you rest on, and the companion with whom you sail through life.

    [My Vows to my Husband]
    Without condition, I know my life is the better for having you in it.
    Without trepidation, I gladly join you for the adventures ahead.
    Without question, I will assume the good and doubt the bad.
    And without asking, I’ll grab your arse when the mood takes me.

    With a smile, we share the excitement, amazement and frustration of being parents.
    With space, we will learn and grow but shall not grow apart.
    With love, I take you as my husband,
    And with dinner, there will be broccoli and carrots.

    Today I join my life with yours.
    Hope this helps, good luck writing your vows!

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