Every culture around the world uses special words to declare the commitment of two people in marriage. When it comes to choosing your wedding vows, you can opt to use traditional wedding vows or create custom wedding vows to exchange with each other. No matter how you say it, you are building the foundation of your marriage by declaring your love and devotion.
Choosing Your Wedding Vows: Traditional
Most of today's traditional wedding vows emerged from religious wedding ceremonies that have evolved over the past centuries. From structured ritualistic wedding vows to more modern and flexible options, traditional wedding vows are a wonderful way to reflect your cherished and deeply held religious beliefs. For many couples, using the powerful words of religious wedding vows emphasizes their commitment to each other and to God. Many couples find great beauty to using ancient words and phrases crafted by years of use that brings elegance and class to any wedding ceremony.
To get some ideas of wedding vows that are traditional for your particular religion, check with your religious leader or officiant. They will be able to help you select the appropriate wedding vows for your ceremony. While some religious marriage vows are strict and not subject to revisions, many others are open for customizing. The officiant you have selected can advise you specifically.
If you want a traditional religious non-denominational wedding, then you also have several options for wedding vows. If the couple is not affiliated with any particular faith or they are coming from two separate faiths, common religious vows may be the perfect way to commit to each other. Most people are familiar with this romantic wedding vow:
"I, ____________, take thee, ____________, to be my wedded [wife/husband], to have and to hold from this day forward. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish -til death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge my love."
Choosing Your Wedding Vows: Nontraditional
You may have many reasons to choose nontraditional wedding vows. A few examples might be when a couple decides to have a civil wedding, they are from different backgrounds and want to blend traditions or they are simply seeking more personalized wedding vows. Some couples find that using their own words has more meaning for them than using traditional wedding vows. Many variations of wedding vows are not religious but still express the deep love and commitment of marriage.
Many couples choose to write their own wedding vows. This can be a wonderful way to express yourself and the depth of emotion you are feeling for each other. For personalized wedding vows that you write yourself, don't try to write the vows for the audience. Make them just for each other. Think of your most vivid memories together, as well as the things you really love about them. Once you are in this romantic mindset, the tender feelings you have will inspire you.
Consider this example of a romantic wedding vow that is nonreligious in nature:
I, __________, pledge my body and soul to you, ___________, for safekeeping in your heart. I thank you, ___________, for letting me see the true joy that love can bring. You are the love of my life and I'll stay by your side for as long as we both shall live.
Here is an example of a personalized wedding vow:
"____________, you are my true love and the most wonderful person I've ever met. I am forever grateful that you came into my life. You make me a better person, and all the good things in my life come from you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, to share adventures, to raise children and to grow old together. I love how you make me feel, and I want you to know how much I cherish you.
Planning to Exchange Vows
When it comes to choosing your wedding vows, it may seem like it's just the two of you, but there's a third person who needs to be involved with the process: the officiant. You should meet with them early on to find out what must legally be in the wedding ceremony and what areas can be flexible.
The officiant has likely performed many weddings and probably follows a standard order, which is generally a greeting, the wedding vows, the exchange of rings and the pronouncement. Work with them to determine exactly what will be said and when. Listen to any advice that the officiant has to offer, as they have lots of experience in this area. Don't forget to include a reading, poem, song, candle-lighting ceremony or other ritual if you so desire. Once you've decided exactly what you want and in what order, meet with the officiant again to get everything approved.
Sharing Your Wedding Vows
As the popularity of writing personalized wedding vows grows, it's becoming more common for couples to print the wedding vows in the program. You can share your inspirational vows with guests this way, especially at wedding venues where it might be hard to hear the couple, such as a beach wedding, large church or cathedral and any instance where the bride and groom may not be heard.
Make your wedding unique by writing your own wedding vows. For most people, the day they get married is one of the most important days of their lives.
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