A short guide to wedding vows

Dresses, cakes and decorations aside, the wedding vows are the most important part of your wedding and the perfect place to express the feelings and devotion that ultimately brought you down the altar.

Before choosing your wedding vows, remember to consider your faith and the requirements of the governing body. Some religions require that you use the traditional wording, while others will allow for personalization, as long as you include certain phrases.

Chris O'Neill and Princess Madeleine of Sweden

Chris O’Neill and Princess Madeleine of Sweden


Traditional vows

If you are having a traditional religious wedding, it is likely that no part of the vows can be changed. However, there is usually some scope to include more personal expressions at some point in the service.When Drew Barrymore married Will Kopelman in 2012, they recited traditional Jewish vows, while friends and family performed additional, non-conventional readings (such as a passage from the book The Velveteen Rabbit).

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman


The original Anglican wedding vows, as printed in The Book of Common Prayer, are:

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, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Couples celebrating a Roman Catholic wedding will use a similar passage from the Rite of Marriage:

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.


Non-traditional vows

When it comes to non-traditional vows, there is really no end to the possibilities, from slight adaptations of traditional vows to writing your very own. You can base them on the story of how you met, include favourite quotes and make original promises.

A good place to start is by reading lots of other vows and seeing what resonates with you. Of course, poems, prayers and other romantic readings give great inspiration too. Websites such as My Wedding Vows can be really helpful.

Last but not least, always choose vows from the heart, and don’t worry too much about other people’s opinion. If they feel right for you and your relationship, your vows are perfect, be they traditional or not!

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