Vows are an incredibly meaningful—and personal—part of a wedding ceremony. They provide the contractual (both formal and informal) basis that will guide the newlyweds through their shared life together and set the tone for what is to come. While there are many creative variations of the lifelong promises, some couples prefer to recite powerful, centuries-old wedding vows from many different faiths and cultures. These tried-and-true words set a strong foundation for a lifetime of unity and marital bliss together.
While there are so many versions of the exchange, there are several core principles and beliefs that transcend both culture and faith. The ubiquitous statement of purpose (marriage) and consent may not trigger any sentimental tears from the guests, but the shared promises of lifelong commitment, partnership, love, companionship, kindness, honesty, patience, and intent to ride out any storm that may come are sure to do the trick. Plus, let’s not forget the ever-present prayer for a blessed and happy union from a higher power and expression of gratitude for having found a life partner that can be so moving and evocative.
Here are 17 traditional wedding vows to use in full or as inspiration to write your own wedding vows.