The moment you and your partner recite your wedding vows is (arguably!) the most significant in the wedding ceremony, as this is your declaration of love to one another, and is often seen as the 'official' part of the ceremony, along with the exchanging of rings or other religious symbols.
But when it comes to the type of vows for a wedding that you choose to recite, the options vary wildly. From traditional wedding vows used in religious ceremonies, to writing your own wedding vows for a completely bespoke service - the options are quite literally endless.
So, do you go with tried and tested traditional wedding vows or choose something contemporary and modern? Should you write your own, or (*whisper*) get a professional to write them for you? If you write your own, where do you start? What do you say?
A Complete Guide to Wedding Vows: Examples & Writing Tips You Need to Hear
Don’t panic! We’ve put together a complete guide to wedding vows for you, which includes both modern and traditional wedding vows examples for you to browse, as well as expert tips on how to write your own wedding vows.
And for those who have already tied the knot but are still feeling loved up, some information on how much it costs to renew your wedding vows.
Yep, we've genuinely thought of everything!
- What Are Wedding Vows?
- How to Write Your Wedding Vows?
- Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Real Wedding Vows Examples
- How Much Does it Cost to Renew Wedding Vows in the UK?
What Are Wedding Vows?
We hear the term all the time when talking about weddings, and specifically wedding ceremonies, but what are wedding vows and why are they so important?
Well, whether you are having a religious wedding ceremony with a traditional format to it, or you're hiring a wedding celebrant and going completely non-religious and bespoke, all weddings have one thing in common: the couples speak during the ceremony.
In the simplest of terms, the wedding vows are the words which a couple exchange during their wedding ceremony. For many religious wedding ceremonies, the traditional wedding vows play a really significant role in the consent and ring exchanging part of the wedding.
For non-religious wedding ceremonies, and celebrant-led celebrations, wedding vows are seen more as a declaration of love from one person to another, before their wedding is officiated.
Types of Wedding Vows
As with wedding styles and structures, there are so many different types of wedding vows. For religious ceremonies following a traditional structure, there will be set wedding vows examples for you and your partner to recite, often with little personalisation.
Interfaith weddings often see two religious or cultures merging, and this usually includes a combination of traditional wedding vows intertwined together, along with different ring exchanging and ceremonial traditions being woven together.
For non-religious weddings and those that are celebrant-led, couples have the flexibility to write their own wedding vows, or use traditional templates.
How to Write Your Wedding Vows?
If you're planning on writing your own wedding vows (love that for you!), we have some insight into the biggest dos and don'ts, including expert tips from professional wedding celebrant Rebecca Douglas on both writing and reading them.
Check in With Your Partner
This might sound like strange advice to give, as your wedding vows are usually a surprise for your other half on the day, but it's important to check in with each other to agree on the type, style and length of your vows.
Rebecca explains, "Before you write your vows, have a discussion with each other about what you each want to include. For example, will your vows just be what you promise for the future or will you add more of a narrative to them, explaining what you love about each other and any stories from your relationship.
"It's also important to discuss and think about length. You want them to be fairly similar, not only in style but in time as well. It would be quite embarrassing if one partner recited a great love story and a list of things they loved about the other whilst pledging a dozen promises for the future whilst the second partner only had one or two promises they wanted to share."
Imagine how awks that could be! As well as talking about what you do want, are there any words you both disagree on, such as “to obey”?
Get Some Ideas Down on Paper
In terms of getting the content down on paper, head somewhere it’s quiet and you can think. You might find it easier to write your vows in stages so start by making some notes.
Here’s a few questions you can think about to get you started and give you ideas on what to say:
- When did you first meet?
- How did you get together?
- When did you realise she/he was the one?
- What little details make you smile when you think of him/her?
- How do you balance each other out? Is he super-organised, whereas you’re more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type?
- Why are you getting married? What does it mean to you?
- What promises do you want to make for a happy marriage?
Don’t worry about constructing perfect sentences or how things sound to start with, just get your ideas down. You may well end up with pages and pages. Great!
Once you have plenty of notes, you can choose the bits that really stand out to you, and then start polishing them up. The reason you’re writing your own vows is to make them personal, so don’t rush deciding what you want to say.
Think About Length
Your vows should only be around a minute or two long per person. Pick out five to seven of the most important things you want to say to your partner and use them as the foundation of your vows. You’ll want a mix of the reasons you love them and some key promises you want to make to them for your life together.
We know, you probably have 1,000 lovely things to say about your partner, but don't get your wedding vows confused with a wedding speech. If you are loving the process of gushing over your partner, why not write a longer version of your vows in a letter to give to your partner on your wedding night?
Research Other Wedding Vows
Read lots of examples of other people’s wedding vows (handily, we’ve got lots below) and see if you prefer a more traditional or modern style.
Do you want religious or secular wedding vows? Are they going to be funny or emotional? Will it be promises, or a speech or a poem?
Of course, if you want them to be original, you won't be copying and pasting other people's wedding vows, but they are a great start to get you going, and can provide brilliant inspiration if you're suffering from writer's block.
Get Your Celebrant Involved
If you're hiring a wedding celebrant, Rebecca stresses the importance of using them as a sounding board. She says, "I would advise sending your vows to the celebrant so they can look at them both and make sure they are reasonably aligned with each other."
This is a great idea if you haven't had that initial conversation with each other. It's also helpful for your celebrant or whoever is conducting your wedding ceremony to know the rough timings of your vows - they'll be able to tell you to reign it in if you've gone a bit hard on the length.
Ensure They Sound Like You
This may sound like an obvious one, but you'd be amazed the amount of wedding ceremonies we've seen where someone has clearly felt pressured to make their vows, speech or reading sound ultra-fancy.
Rebecca adds, "When it comes to writing your vows, follow the structure you and your partner came up with but don't be too fancy with vocabulary if you are not normally someone who uses big words.
"Remember you will be saying these in front of people so you don't want to trip yourself up with words you are not entirely sure you know how to pronounce. It can be quite emotional standing up there so you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself, as well as sounding as genuine as possible."
Practise Makes Perfect
Hopefully, you don't need us to tell you that practising your wedding vows is a good idea, and Rebecca agrees, "Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. You don't have to learn them by heart but you want the words to flow when you are saying them and you want to know what is coming should you find yourself overcome with emotion.
"Practising also means you can look at your partner a little more while saying them, rather than staring down at your script, after all, it is them you are speaking to. I also recommend using a rather large font, it helps should you lose your place to quickly find it again."
Top Tip: Here's the wedding vow tip you didn't know you needed! No reading vows off of phones please - it's not a great look. Rebecca advises, "Presentation-wise, it is much nicer if you have your vows in a folder or wedding vow booklet, rather than a piece of paper and it means you can add some ribbon to match your colour scheme too so they are coordinated."
Accept Your Emotions
If you are worried about writing anything too emotional and getting upset, don't. As Rebecca says, "When all is said and done, it doesn't matter if you make a mistake when saying your vows or get emotional in the delivery. This isn't a performance, it is you telling your partner that you love them and that you will continue to love them so no matter how you say your vows, it will still be a cherished and precious moment in your relationship."
Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
If writing your own wedding vows and going off-script isn't your idea of fun, and you'd prefer to recite traditional wedding vows, below are some examples which suit a range of wedding styles and cultures.
As well as traditional wedding vow examples for weddings in different religions, there are also examples here for civil ceremony weddings and non-denominational examples for you to browse.
Even if you are having a religious wedding, if you feel as though you want to add something into your ceremony, or personalise the vows slightly, we encourage you to speak to the officiant who is conducting your ceremony to go through your options.
- Church of England Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Catholic Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Hindu Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Muslim Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Jewish Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Civil Ceremony Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
- Non-Denominational Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
Church of England Wedding Vows
Church of England weddings involve a number of hymns and prayers before the vow exchanging ceremony begins. The vows also traditionally begin with the minister asking both the congregation and the couple a question.
"First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.
"The vows you are about to take are to be made in the presence of God, who is judge of all and knows all the secrets of our hearts; therefore if either of you knows a reason why you may not lawfully marry, you must declare it now.
"[Name], will you take [Name] to be your husband/wife? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honour and protect him/her, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her as long as you both shall live?
"Will you, the families and friends of [Name] and [Name], support and uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?"
More prayers are said, along with your chosen hymns and readings, before the exchanging of the vows below take place.
"I [Name] take you [Name] to be my husband/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 law. In the presence of God I make this vow."
The minister will then say a prayer about the wedding rings and what they symbolise ahead of the exchanging.
"[Name] I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Catholic Wedding Vows
In the Roman Catholic Church, a wedding is one of the seven holy sacraments, and includes the declaration, exchanging of consent, the wedding blessing and the exchanging of rings.
Ahead of exchanging vows, couples usually answer three questions from the priest marrying them, all to do with consent, commitment and children.
"[Name] and [Name], have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in this marriage?
"Will you honour each other as man/wife and man/wife for the rest of your lives?
"Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"
Once those questions are all answered with a 'yes' from each person in the couple, the exchanging of vows can then take place.
"I [Name] take you [Name] 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 honour you all the days of my life.
"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, take and wear this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness."
Hindu Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
Hindu weddings are often representative of not just the coming together of two individuals, but two families within a community. Traditionally, Hindu ceremonies are represented by the exchanging of floral garlands during a ceremony called Jai Mala.
Exchanging vows at a Hindu wedding is known as 'Saptapadi', which translates to the 'seven steps', also known as the 'seven vows'. Today, some couples choose to fuse together tradition with modernities, by exchanging both rings and garlands.
Below are the seven steps of the Hindu wedding ceremony vows that you will hear at traditional celebrations.
"Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
"Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
"Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use.
"Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust.
"Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous, and heroic children.
"Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
"Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock."
Muslim Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
Traditionally, Muslim wedding ceremonies, known as Nikkah, don't include an exchanging of wedding vows. As an alternative, the Imam usually hosts a short sermon and blessing where the give their consent to marry.
However, with many Muslim weddings varying from culture to culture, and some couples opting for fusion ceremonies, some do include vows. Muslim wedding ceremonies which do include an exchanging of wedding vows typically follow the below format.
"I, [Name], offer you myself in marriage in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.
"I , [Name] pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband."
In weddings where a bride and groom are marrying, the bride recites the first vow, and the groom responds with the second, but for LGBTQ+ couples, and those who want to change the order, there's no reason why you can't add your own spin or adapt the vows to suit you.
Jewish Traditional Wedding Vows Examples
Couples who want to host a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony will learn that they often don't include a spoken exchanging of wedding vows. Instead, the key component to the ceremony is when the rings are exchanged and the seven blessings are recited - often in Hebrew.
As couples exchange their wedding rings in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, it's likely they will exchange the below words.
"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
When spoken in Hebrew, this term translates directly to, "Behold, thou art consecrated unto me with this ring according to the law of Moses and of Israel."
Civil Ceremony Wedding Vows
For couples who want to have a nonreligious wedding ceremony that is still considered a legal wedding, civil ceremonies are the most popular choice. They are conducted by a legal officiant and the traditional structure of civil ceremony wedding vows are below.
They refer mostly to the legal aspect of the wedding, but you can always adapt them to be more personalised.
"I call upon these persons here present, to witness that I [Name] do take thee [Name] to be my lawful wedded wife/husband."
These may be slightly extended, eg: "I call upon these persons here present, to witness that I [Name] do take thee [Name] to be my lawful wedded wife/husband, to be loving, faithful and loyal to thee in living our married life together."
"I give you this ring as a symbol of our love. All that I am I give to you. All that I have I share with you. I promise to love you, to be faithful and loyal, in good times and bad. May this ring remind you always of the words we have spoken today."
Non-Denominational Wedding Vows
For those who want to veer off from the traditional script, some registrars will have alternative traditional wedding vows for you to choose from. The below is a particular example is from Oxfordshire County Council.
"I promise that I will respect you as an individual, support you through difficult times, rejoice with you through happy times, be loyal to you always and, above all, love you as my wife/husband and friend. I promise to love and respect you, helping our love grow, always being there to listen, comfort and support you, whatever our lives may bring.
"I give you this ring as a sign of our love, trust and marriage. I promise to care for you above all others, to give you my love, friendship and support, and to respect and cherish you throughout our life together."
Real Wedding Vows Examples
Traditional or religious wedding vows aren’t for everyone. Sometimes you want something that sounds more up-to-date and true to you as a couple. These example real wedding vows are modern, funny and heartfelt. Take a read through and see if they inspire you.
Here are extracts from a few real wedding vows that could prove a great starting point for writing your own.
Thank you for standing by me...
“[Name], I feel like the most blessed person in the world. I have not only found my life-long companion, the lover of my heart, but my soul mate. Thank you for standing by me and sticking with me through thick and thin; for seeing the person that’s before you now. You believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself and for that I love you so much.
“Choosing to commit the rest of my life to you is the easiest thing I will ever do. You are my best friend and inspire my every single day. I promise to spend every day I have left on this earth looking after you, encouraging you, laughing with you and comforting you.
"I promise to do these things because I have been given the most amazing gift I could ever have: you. Know that I love you with all my heart. I’m so happy to call myself your husband/wife!”
We will be partners in adventure...
"I vow to hold your hand in my hand and hold your heart in my heart as long as we live. I take you as my husband/wife through the good times and the hard times, side by side. You are the most beautiful, generous, kind and clever person I know, and I will try my hardest every day to be the man you deserve.
"We will be each other's shoulders to stand on and to cry on; we will lift each other up and hold each other tight; we will be partners in adventure and allies in conflict. I promise to never stop making your love and happiness my priority, because your joy is my joy. In sickness and in health, in failure and triumph, I will walk beside you and I will love you, forever."
I promise to be true to you...
“They say never date a coworker. Well, I'm so glad I did. From the moment our paths crossed, you’ve captivated me, challenged me, frustrated me and improved me in ways no person has done before. And I have fallen in love with you again and again. I promise to be true to you, to support and encourage you, and to challenge and frustrate you.
"I believe we are truly good for each other and that we will continue to grow stronger together. Today, as we move from I to we, [Name], take this ring as a symbol of my decision to join my life with yours until death shall part us. I walked to this place to meet you today, we shall walk from it together.”
“From this day forward I promise to be worth it. Worth the time. Worth the trip. Worth the energy. Worth the embarrassment. Worth your love. I promise that you will always count. You will always come first, and of course, if you don’t for whatever reason, I will buy you some shoes. From the moment you entered my world, you have filled it with life"
I wake up every morning excited to see you...
"Seven years ago, I had the unexpected joy of falling in love with my best friend. It took us three years to realise we were right for each other, but ever since that moment we drunkenly kissed at Anna's New Year's Eve party, I've never had a moment of doubt. You are my soul mate and the wait was so worth it.
"I wake up each morning excited to see you and I know that feeling will never go away. I promise to make each day with you an adventure, to always make the best of every opportunity and disaster, to continue to make each other the best versions of ourselves, and to take on all life throws at us together.
"I want to grow a family with you and to grow old with you. Because life is nothing without you by my side. Thank you for being my husband/wife and my best friend."
I promise to cherish you...
“[Name], I love you with all my heart and I promise to try to make you happy every day of our lives together, but more importantly I promise to always order something you like so that we can share in the restaurant.
"I promise to always get rid of the spiders, even though I’m more scared than you. I promise to let you win the occasional argument, even if I’m right. I promise to unclog the shower drain, even though only one of us has any hair. I promise to never watch the next episode on Netflix without you, no matter how much I want to.
"I promise that every day we will laugh, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always love you. These promises I make to you today, and all the days of our life.”
I will never let our honeymoon period end...
“It is impossible to put into words how much I love you. You’re my best friend and at last you're my husband/wife! I promise as our everyday life begins, we will continue to be best friends, we will still be girlfriend and boyfriend. I will never let our honeymoon period end. [Name], loving you is the easiest, most obvious thing I’ve ever done, and I will love you for an eternity.”
Wherever you go, I will go...
“Today, I join my life with yours. Wherever you go, I will go; whatever you face, I will face. For good or ill, in happiness or sadness, come riches or poverty, I take you as my husband/wife, and will give myself to no other.
"May our days be long, and may they be seasoned with faith, love, understanding, and respect, forever and ever. Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives. I choose to spend today, and all of my tomorrows, with you.”
I make these promises before our family and friends...
“As we start our married life together today, I make these promises before our family and friends...
“I will continually challenge myself to become the best husband/wife I can be; always looking to put you before myself and making your dreams our dreams.
“I will love you; I will adore you; I will cherish you; I will be faithful to you.
“As much as music will always play an important part of my life, you come before my guitars! You will be the greatest song I could and would ever sing.
“I will help you discover your full potential, pushing you to become the best you can be, to support and ensure your hopes and dreams come to fruition.
“I will stand by your side in all things, the highs and the lows, always finding agreement in everything that we do as husband and wife."
I am a better person because of you...
“I promise to be your faithful husband/wife. I promise to love you when the sun shines, when the rain falls, in sickness, and in health. When you look at this ring, think of me and remember that I love you always.
"You know me better than anyone in world and you still love me - for that I will never be able to thank you enough. I am a better person because of you and I will try to be worthy of your love. I promise to be the man/woman that I see now in your eyes, today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. I love you."
You fill my life with meaning...
“I promise to try to be worthy of your love in every way, to climb mountains and swim oceans just to be by your side. I will be honest, caring, patient, forgiving and loyal. You fill my life with meaning. Thank you for taking me as I am, loving me, and welcoming me into your heart. I promise to always love you, respect you, and to be faithful to you forever. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you."
Whether times are good or hard, I'll be there...
"When you met me, I was lost. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted, but you took my hand gently and made me the man/woman I am today. I pledge to build the most beautiful future with you.
"I promise to love you, respect you, always be kind to you, and never give you any reason to doubt me.
"I will support you, be patient with you, and help you achieve your dreams - just as you've done for me. With this ring, I promise to share my life with you until the day we die. Whether times are good or hard, I'll be here. I will hold your hand gently and look forward to all the tomorrows ahead of us."
I promise you this...
“As your husband/wife, I promise you this,
“To love and fall more in love with you each day.
“To cherish every moment we have together.
“To respect and honour you for the rest of my life.
“To be open and honest with you.
“To support you in all your heart’s desires.
“To follow you wherever you may go.
“To make God the centre of our marriage and to push us into the things he has for us.
“To be faithful to you for the rest of my days.”
To me, you are a miracle...
"You came into my life when I wasn't looking for anyone and opened my heart in ways I never expected. I was given a second chance at happiness with you and I am eternally grateful for your love. I vow to be your loving and devoted husband/wife, without judgement, without scorn, but always with an open heart and mind.
“I vow to be patient and humble and try my best to let you win an argument, sometimes. I will communicate with you fiercely and fully and let you know how much I love you every day. To me, you are a miracle and because of you, I laughed again. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you and stand by your side as we see what life has in store for you.
"You are my equal in all things, my partner-in-crime, and my entire future."
You are eternally fascinating to me...
“There hasn't been a day since we met where I didn't want to know everything about you. On our first date, I thought I'd nearly scared you away by interrogating you about your passions, your fears, what keeps you up at night, and what gets you up in the morning. You are eternally fascinating to me and I love everything I know about you now.
"As we become husband/wife and wife and take on everything that comes with it, we will continue to learn together and I know that will love you more and more. Your sense of humour, your compassion, your ability to see the good in every situation - that is what makes you unique and wonderful and I promise to never hold back your light.
"With love and trust and constant fascination, we will continue to make each other shine. One lifetime isn't enough for all the love I have for you, but I will do my best every single day."
How Much Does it Cost to Renew Wedding Vows in the UK?
If you're already married and have celebrated a few milestone wedding anniversaries - but love the idea of renewing your vows, here's what you need to know about pricing.
The cost of renewing your wedding vows will entirely depend on the style of celebration you plan. The bigger the do, the pricier it will be, but one fee all renewals will need to consider is that of the wedding celebrant conducting the ceremony.
Rebecca sheds some light, explaining, "Celebrant prices can really vary, depending not only on the area you live in, but also the style and detail you want. In the Surrey, London, and Hampshire areas, which I cover, prices typically start at around £500 and can be anything up to £900 and beyond.
"Some celebrants may only offer a standard package where they work from a variety of templates and others will be more involved and can create something unique and personal to you. This will certainly impact cost and this is an important detail to consider before you book your celebrant as it is important to choose a style that is fitting for you as a couple and is something you both feel comfortable with.
"Some couples for example want to keep their ceremony short and sweet whilst others would like the ceremony to be as personal as possible, including telling their story and/ or involving family members, rituals, and other personalised touches."
Once you've written them, it's time to get yourself something to host them in! These wedding vow books will look so beautiful on the day and act as amazing wedding keepsakes afterwards, too.