Traditional Religious Vows:
Each religious faith has wedding traditions and practices, including marriage vow that have been passed down through generations. The exact phrases used vary slightly from place to place and among different clergy—I will give give you an outline that will describe the entire ceremony as you wish, as well as printed vows, which you may decide to use verbatim or as a jumping-off point. Here you will find the common wordings and a few notes on the ceremony for each religion as well as various denominations. Don’t be afraid to respectfully ask for a departure from the words that are commonly used.
There are many different types of Protestant churches, all with their own slightly different traditions and beliefs. There are also nondenominational Protestant churches that do not affiliate themselves with a larger religious organization. I will be happy to offer suggestions concerning your specific vows. Below are guidelines for several denominations; you will find that many of them differ only slightly from one another. Most are based on the Protestant Book of Common Prayer.
Basic Protestant Vows:
“I _____, take thee _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith (or) pledge my self to you (or) plight thee my troth.”
“I take you, _____, to be my wife/husband from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.”
“I _____, take you, _____, to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and the worst of what is to come, as long as we live.”
“_____, will you have this woman/man to be your wedded wife/husband to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”
“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in a holy marriage? Will have love her/him, comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”
“In the name of God, I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
“_____, wilt thou have this woman/man to be they wife/husband, and wilt thou pledge thy faith to her/him, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her/him, and cherish her/him, according to the ordinance of God in the holy bond of marriage?”
“I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife/husband, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”
“Will you, _____, have _____ to be your wife/husband? Will you love her/him, comfort and keep her/him, and forsaking all others remain true to her/him, as long as you both shall live?”
“I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wife/husband, and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true husband/wife.”
Roman Catholic Vows:
A traditional Catholic wedding ceremony takes place as part of a full Mass, but some couples choose a modified, shorter service. Whether you can do so may depend on the church you marry in and your officiant.
“I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
“I, _____, take you, _____, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Vows:
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church), there are two options for a wedding ceremony. The first is known as a “sealing ceremony” and is performed in the Mormon temple, so only guests who are members of the church and have participated in temple worship can attend. The exact vows that take place in a sealing ceremony are considered private to the church and aren’t discussed outside the temple setting.
The second ceremony can be performed anywhere (so any guest you choose can attend) by a church officer.—usually a bishop. In this situation, the vows often form a question.
“Do you, _____, take _____, to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to love, to honor, and to cherish?”
Another version of non-traditional vows is a phrase from the biblical Song of Songs:
“Ani leh-dodee veh-dodeelee”: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”