Wedding vows are such an individual and personal thing, and with more and more couple choosing to write their own wedding vows, it is difficult to determine the most common words spoken at weddings these days.
Vows are a chance for people to express their love and faithfulness to their partner, where they make promises that they intend to keep for the rest of their lives. They are without a doubt the most important part of a wedding day, and so it is understandable couples place so much pressure on getting them right.
We have done our research and have come up with the 10 most popular types of wedding vows said between couples on their special day.
1. Basic legal vows
At any wedding these vows must be said by the celebrant for the marriage to be official. The Marriage Act dictates that any marriage conducted without these phrases should be nullified, so it is very important you make sure your celebrant has them ready to go.
“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (Groom), take thee, (Bride) to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband if reversed).''
Celebrants must also cite words from section 46 of the act, known as the ''monitum'', which include ''marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life''.
Most couples will chose to add their own vows on top of this, but there are definitely those that are just happy to leave it at those two statements to keep the ceremony shorter.
2. “I do”
These are the vows that everyone knows, the ones that you say when playing weddings as a kid. The simplicity of the two words “I do” is attractive to couples as their love for one another is an unspoken truth.
In this type of vow the celebrant asks the question of the bride or groom:
“(Groom), do you take (Bride) for your lawful wedded wife, to be joined in matrimony? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?”
At which point the groom replies “I do”.
3. Traditional Christian vows
“I (Groom) take thee (Bride) to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance.
With this Ring I thee wed: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
4. Catholic vows
“I, (Groom), take you, (Bride), to be my wife,
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
(Bride), take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Many agnostic couples chose to recite a version of these two types of religious vows because they value the tradition and meaning they hold.
5. Hindu vows
“With the first step, we will provide for and support each other.
With the second step, we will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength.
With the third step, we will share the worldly possessions.
With the fourth step, we will acquire knowledge, happiness, and peace.
With the fifth step, we will raise strong and virtuous children.
With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.
With the seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other.”
While these vows are traditionally Hindu and should be respected as such, many couples gain inspiration from them vows when writing their own.
Referring to the relationship as a “we” signifies the marital bond and the now intertwined future the couple will share.
6. Hollywood vows
When experiencing writer’s block, many people will turn to their favourite romantic movie for a bit of help. Jane Austen stories are popular in vows, and that famous line from Notting Hill is perfect for any wife-to-be!
"You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on." —Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
"Maybe it is our imperfections which make us so perfect for one another." —Mr. Knightley, Emma
“I am just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” – Anna Scott, Notting Hill
7. Humour with vows
Adding in a bit of a joke with wedding vows can sometimes be a risk, but it can also create a fun and loving feel at your ceremony. Make sure the jokes are personal for value, and that they don’t hit below the belt.
“I (Groom), take you, (Bride) to be my lawfully wedded wife and chief tennis doubles partner, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for when we win and the very, very rare occasion when we lose. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you, to return your serves and do my best not to foot fault. This I vow to you.”
8. Symbolism in vows
Symbolic ceremonies have grown in popularity, and can offer beautiful vows that represent your bond as a married couple.
“(Bride) and (Groom), today you join your separate lives together. The two separate bottles of sand symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you are and all that you will ever be as an individual. They also represent your lives before today.
As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.”
9. Poetic vows
Poetry is a beautiful way to express emotions in a melodic and romantic way. Using poetry in your wedding vows is the perfect solution for people who struggle with creativity but want to find the words to display their love properly. One of the most popular poems used in wedding ceremonies is written by Anonymous:
“From this day forward,
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home.”
10. Personal and specific vows
It can be a really nice touch to add in specific details of your relationship into your vows, such as the day you first met or the day you realized you were in love with your partner.
These intimate specifics tell a story to your congregation and give them a glimpse of your true love story. This is also a great way to make those traditional vows more specific to you, so you really feel like you are pledging your love and not just reciting common words.
“Seven years ago we met as teenagers. I did not know it then, but you are my soul mate, lover and
best friend. Six years later and here we stand today ready to make our final commitment to each
other. And although you are not one for sappy love stories, I promise you these things. I will care
for you, support you and comfort you during times of sorrow and sadness...”
Couples also make certain promises that are relevant to them, for example if their partner has kids or if they are expecting a baby.
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