Guide to Wedding Vows: Examples + How to Write Your Own

Writing your own wedding vows is one of the best ways to add a romantic and intimate touch to your wedding day. We’ll guide you through the process from start to finish, plus provide templates to help you get started.

By Emily Forrest and Rachel Varina

Trying to decide whether to write your own wedding vows or use a traditional template? What couples read during their marriage ceremony is a deeply personal choice. The good news is that there’s no wrong answer! Writing your own vows or adding unique touches to an existing set is a great way to personalize your ceremony, while traditional vows will always be timeless.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve added traditional and personalized examples of wedding vows from different religions and cultures. And if you’re planning to write your own, we’ve included a step-by-step guide to help from start to finish. Let’s begin!

Traditional vow examples

Traditional wedding vows follow a specific format that varies by religion. Reciting the wedding vows (or their equivalent) symbolizes the moment when the couple commits themselves to each other and forms a married union.

Couples can recite different religious wedding vows in a variety of ways:

  1. Spoken as monologue, one at a time.
  2. Spoken first by the officiant then repeated back, in phrases, one after the other.
  3. Asked as a question by the officiant to each person getting married, with the reply “I do” or “I will.”

Catholic wedding vows

In Catholic ceremonies, the priest asks the couple three questions. They answer “yes” or “I will.” They then recite one of the sets of vows below.

  1. __and __, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
  2. Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?
  3. Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?
  4. I, __, take you, __, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.
  5. 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 and honor you all the days of my life.

Eastern Orthodox wedding vows

These vows are typically only recited in traditional Russian ceremonies, as other branches of the Orthodox church call for silent vows or prayers.

I, __, take you, __, as my wedded wife/husband and I promise you love, honor and respect; to be faithful to you, and not to forsake you until death do us part. So help me God, one in the Holy Trinity and all the Saints.

Hindu wedding vows

The closest thing to traditional “vows” in a Hindu wedding ceremony are the Seven Steps (the Saptha Padhi), which the couple take together around a flame to honor the fire god Agni while reciting the following promises:

  1. Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
  2. Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.
  3. Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use.
  4. Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust.
  5. Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
  6. Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
  7. Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.

Interfaith wedding vows

  1. 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 and honor you all the days of my life.
  2. I, ____, take you, ____, to be my wife/husband. To love and cherish, from this day forward, and thereto, I pledge you my trust—for as long as we both shall live.
  3. ___, I now take you to be my wedded wife/husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy relationship of marriage. I promise to love and comfort you, honor and keep you, and forsaking all others, I will be yours alone as long as we both shall live.

Jewish wedding vows

Jewish wedding ceremonies vary from rabbi to rabbi, and between Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative synagogues. Traditionally there are no spoken vows. The exchange of rings is the moment that symbolizes the couple’s commitment to each other. Two prayers are commonly said during the ring exchange—one more religious and one more contemporary:

  • Haray at mekudeshet lee beh-taba'at zo keh-dat Moshe veh-Yisrael. (English translation: Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.)
  • Ani leh-dodee veh-dodee lee. (English translation: I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.)

In addition to the ring exchange, many Jewish ceremonies also include the Seven Blessings (Sheva Berakhot), which the rabbi will recite. Here’s a translation from Hebrew:

  • Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, gladden the beloved companions as You gladdened Your creatures in the garden of Eden. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who gladdens this couple. Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, Who created joy and gladness, loving couples, mirth, glad song, pleasure, delight, love, loving communities, peace, and companionship. Adonai, our God, let there soon be heard ... the voice of the loving couple, the sound of the their jubilance from their canopies and of the youths from their song-filled feasts. Blessed are You Who causes the couple to rejoice, one with the other.
  • We bless God for creating joy and happiness, bride and groom, mirth song, gladness and rejoicing, love and harmony, peace and companionship; and we thank God for letting this bride and groom to rejoice together.

Nondenominational wedding vows

  1. I, __, take you, __, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.
  2. __, I take you as my wife/husband, with your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.
  3. I, __, choose you __ to be my husband/wife, to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you, and to grow with you throughout the seasons of life.
  4. I, __ give to you, __ my vow of sacred matrimony. I acknowledge our individuality and respect the natural space that will reside comfortably between us. I promise to bridge that space with open communication, silent understanding and heartfelt compassion. I promise to act loving so as to be loving. I promise to love passionately, argue fairly and support you unfailingly. I gladly accept the responsibilities that come with our relationship. I love you and pledge my fidelity all the days of our lives.

Muslim wedding vows

Rather than reciting vows, most Muslim couples listen to their officiant (also known as an imam, or cleric) speak about the significances and responsibilities that come with marriage, including their commitment to each other and to Allah. But for those couples who do choose to speak their own vows, they recite something similar to this common passage:

  • Bride: I, __ 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.
  • Groom: I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.

Protestant wedding vows

While different denominations within the Protestant church have slight variations in their traditional wedding vows, they are all similar to the following basic example. These vows might be the most familiar to many people.

I, __ , take thee, __ , to be my wedded 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 do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.

Presbyterian wedding vows

I, __ , take you, __ , to be my wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

Methodist wedding vows

Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy 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?

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.

Baptist wedding vows

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.


Lutheran wedding vows

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 worst of what is to come, and as long as we live.

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.

Episcopal wedding vows

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 parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

__ , wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wedded wife/husband to live together after God's ordinance in the Holy Estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her/him? Comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep thee only unto her/him as long as you both shall live?

Quaker wedding vows

In the presence of God and these our friends I take thee, __ , to be my husband/wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband/wife so long as we both shall live.

Universalist/Unitarian wedding vows

The Unitarian Universalist Church allows its ministers to have their own control in writing wedding ceremonies, including the vows. Most will be similar to traditional Christian vows; here are some variations.

  • 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 cherish always.
  • __ , will you have this woman/man, __ , to be your wedded wife/husband, to live together in marriage, will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor her/him and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live?
  • __ and __ , do you pledge to help each other develop and strengthen your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, enthusiasm, patience, concentration and wisdom as you encounter the inevitable changes, expected and unexpected, welcome and unwelcome in your journey through life together?
  • __ , will you take __ as your wife/husband, will you pledge to share your life openly with her/him, to speak the truth to her/him, in love? Will you promise to honor and tenderly care for her/him, to encourage her/him fulfillment as an individual through all the changes in your lives?

Buddhist wedding vows

In a Buddhist wedding ceremony, the couple is making a higher pledge to truth, and thus may create their own wedding vows that reflect their pledge to reach this Truth together. After reciting the first prayer together or reading it silently, the couple then replies to the vows in unison when prompted by the wedding officiant.

Buddhist wedding prayer

Today we promise to dedicate ourselves completely to each other with body, mind and speech. In every situation of this life, in wealth or poverty, in health or sickness, in happiness or difficulty, we will work to help each other to develop our hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. As we undergo the various ups and downs of life we will seek to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The purpose of our relationship will be to attain enlightenment by perfecting our kindness and compassion towards all beings.


  1. ____ and ____, do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?
  2. (We do.)
  3. Recognizing that the external conditions in life will not always be smooth and that internally your own minds and emotions will sometimes get stuck in negativity. Do you pledge to see all these circumstances as a challenge to help you grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves, and each other; and to generate compassion for others who are suffering? Do you pledge to avoid becoming narrow, closed or opinionated, and to help each other to see various sides of situations?
  4. (We do.)
  5. Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?
  6. (We do.)
  7. Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other, and to share it with all beings? To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other's potential and inner beauty as an example and rather than spiraling inwards and becoming self absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all beings?
  8. (We do.)
  9. When it comes time to part, do you pledge to look back at your time together with joy-- joy that you met and shared what you have--and acceptance that we cannot hold on to anything forever?
  10. (We do.)
  11. Do you pledge to remember the disadvantages of ignorance, anger and clinging attachment, to apply antidotes when these arise in your minds, and to remember the kindness of all other beings and your connection to them? Do you pledge to work for the welfare of others, with all of your compassion, wisdom and skill?
  12. (We do.)
  13. Do you pledge to work to develop the wisdom understanding the relative functioning nature of things and the wisdom knowing their deeper way of existence that they are empty of inherent existence? And to remember the laws of cause and effect?
  14. (We do.)
  15. Do you pledge day to day, to be patient with yourselves and others, knowing that change comes slowly and gradually, and to seek inspiration from your teachers not to become discouraged?
  16. (We do.)
  17. Do you pledge to continuously strive to remember your own Buddha nature, as well as the Buddha nature of all living beings? To maintain the awareness that all things are temporary, and to remain optimistic that you can achieve your greatest potential and lasting happiness.
  18. (We do.)
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Native American wedding vows

Most traditional Native American weddings do not contain a vow exchange, but the following wedding blessings are read aloud to the couple.

Apache wedding blessing

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years, May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Cherokee wedding blessing

God in heaven above please protect the ones we love. We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together. We honor mother-earth - and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons; We honor fire - and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts; We honor wind - and ask we sail through life safe and calm as in our father's arms; We honor water - to clean and soothe our relationship - that it may never thirst for love; With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together. Amen.

Shoshone wedding blessing

Fair is the white star of twilight, and the sky clearer at the day's end, but she is fairer, and she is dearer She, my heart's friend. Fair is the white star of twilight, and the moon roving to the sky's end; but she is fairer, better worth loving She, my heart's friend.

Inuit wedding blessing

You are my husband/wife My feet shall run because of you My feet shall dance because of you My heart shall beat because of you My eyes see because of you My mind thinks because of you And I shall love because of you.

How to write your own wedding vows

Knowing where to start when writing your vows might be the toughest part. When staring at a blank sheet of paper, just getting a few words down can feel like a huge hurdle. You might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to write the perfect set of sentences, considering your personal wedding vows are a reflection of your marriage and the promises you intend to keep for the rest of your days.

Katelyn, a fellow wedding expert and professional vow and speechwriter, suggests starting by describing your first impression of your fiancé. "This a nice way to begin your vows. Next, how do you want to make your spouse feel? Your answer can help inspire some of your specific promises. And lastly, what makes you most excited for your future? These details are a great way to end your vows.”

If you’re stuck getting started, follow these 11 steps to get your creative and romantic ideas flowing:

1. Start writing early

Do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time (this is a point we cannot stress enough). You may have months until your wedding day, but this is a task you don’t want to save for the last minute. By starting early, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to overcome any nervousness or writer’s block, revise your first draft, and practice reading vows aloud before your big day.

2. Establish your tone

Before you start writing, establish what sort of tone you want your wedding vows to have. Your marriage vows should reflect your personality, whether that’s quirky and romantic or more tear-prone and sentimental. Or maybe you’d rather keep your vows light and humorous. It doesn’t matter what style you choose; just make sure the tone for your personal wedding vows makes you happy and excited to share your words with your future spouse on your big day.

3. Seek out inspiration

Love is one of those confounding topics that humans grapple with constantly. How can we describe how love feels? How can we capture it through words? What does it mean to be in love? Thankfully, over the past few centuries, many famous poets, writers, playwrights, and screenwriters have come very, very close to getting to the heart of those questions through beautiful, relatable, and transcendent works of art.

Don’t let these resources go to waste when battling writer’s block or struggling to put your feelings down on paper. If there was ever a time to return to your favorite pieces of literature or beloved films, it’s now. Once you find something that speaks to you, try to mimic that sentiment in your own words or quote it verbatim in your personalized wedding vows.

4. Talk to your partner

Sit down and have a heartfelt talk with your fiancé(e) about your relationship, your feelings for each other, and your marriage goals. Discuss what you want your ceremony to feel like and how you’d like your relationship to be portrayed in front of friends and family. You might remind each other of special or defining moments in your relationship, or even come up with the very words you’ve been struggling to find.

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5. Reflect alone

After your talk with your fiancé(e), find time to be alone and reflect on that conversation. Tackle the big questions, such as how he/she makes you feel, what inspires you about him/her, and how he/she has made a positive impact on your life. This is no easy task (hence why we recommend starting this process early), but once articulated, your responses will give you lots of material for your vows. A little bit of quiet meditation might just reveal the language you’ve been carrying deep in your heart.

6. Take trips down memory lane

Think back on special moments with your spouse-to-be, beyond some of the obvious ones like when you first met or your first kiss. What was the first trip you took together? When did you first make each other laugh so hard you cried? Think of your private jokes, hilarious stories, and even embarrassing moments. Whether or not you choose to mention these memories in your vows, remembering them will absolutely help you define what makes your relationship—and, thus, your vows—unique.

7. Don’t worry about what others think

When you start writing your own vows, it’s easy to wonder (and worry) what others will think about what you have to say. “Will guests think our inside jokes are dumb?” “Will they get bored if we go on too long?” “Will Grandma and Grandpa judge us for foregoing traditional vows?” We know it’s hard not to take your guests into account after addressing and sending all those save the dates, but your ceremony is no one’s but yours and your partner’s. Let your personal vows reflect who you are together and what you want to celebrate about your relationship.

8. Create an outline

Without organization, your personalized wedding vows can easily turn into stream-of-consciousness rambling. Stay on track by crafting a brief outline that will organize your thoughts chronologically or thematically and ensure your vows have a clear beginning and end.

Something as simple as the following will do just fine:

  • Intro: funny anecdote
  • Your thoughts/feelings when you first met your partner
  • Your thoughts/feelings when you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him/her
  • What those feelings mean to you today
  • Where you see your relationship going after your wedding day

9. Keep it short and sweet

When it comes to the perfect wedding vows, often less is more. Don’t feel pressured to write lengthy vows when a few short, from-the-heart thoughts can be just as moving. After you’ve finished writing, it’s a great idea to practice speaking your vows aloud while timing yourself. If you go over two minutes, try cutting them back. We know 120 seconds doesn’t seem like much time, but when it comes to speaking in public, that minute will last a whole lot longer than you expect.

10. Include sincere and meaningful promises

Wedding vows are, in essence, a list of promises that you make to your partner. Whether it’s loving him/her always or guaranteeing that you’ll do the dishes every Monday and Wednesday night, your vows should incorporate every specific promise you swear to uphold, and demonstrate the sacrifices you are willing to make as an equal half of your union.

11. Share them with a loved one

We also recommend sharing a draft of your vows with someone you trust, such as the wedding officiant or someone close to you. This lets them assess the overall tone, approach, and length of both of your vows. After all, you wouldn’t want to share all the same anecdotes as your SO.

12. Think to the future

In addition to making promises, make sure that your vows also include a look to the future of your relationship. Where will you go from “I do?” What do you expect or want your marriage to look like a year from now? Fifteen? Fifty? What will you do to keep your bond strong over the years? Even if the phrase “’til death do us part” doesn’t make the cut, don’t forget to anticipate the joys and challenges of marriage ahead. These important details will both guide the promises we mentioned above and give weight to your wedding vows.

13. Speak from your heart

Above all, your wedding vows are about expressing your true feelings about, and to, the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life with. When it comes right down to it, nothing is more important than saying what you truly feel in a style, length, and tone that defines your and your partner’s relationship.


Wedding vows frequently asked questions

Still have questions about wedding vows? Check out our answers to your most-asked questions about wedding vows below.

What are wedding vows?

Wedding vows are promises a couple makes to each other during their wedding ceremony. Spoken aloud from one partner to the other, they describe the love felt between the couple and voice their intentions—in front of a room full of witnesses—for how they plan to think, feel, and act towards each other during their marriage. Vows aren’t legally required for a marriage service, but they’re often included in traditional marriage ceremonies and for religious services.

How long should wedding vows be?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how long wedding vows should be, but most traditional vows run anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute per person. If you’re writing your own vows, remember that what’s most important is what you say, not how long it takes to say it. Whether it takes 30 seconds or 3 minutes, make sure you keep your vows focused on expressing all that you want to share from your heart.

Should you write your own wedding vows?

Writing your own wedding vows is a personal decision for every couple. You might love the freedom to express yourselves in your own words, or you might be terrified at the idea of having to put your feelings into words on paper (and then share them with everyone you know). Here are some questions you and your partner should ask each other when deciding whether you should write your own vows:

  • Do we feel comfortable sharing our intimate feelings in front of our friends, family, and guests?
  • Do we have the time and dedication to actually sit down and write wedding vows ourselves?
  • Do we feel comfortable departing from the traditional vows of our religion(s)?
  • Will we both take this task seriously as part of our wedding planning?
  • Will we have enough time to draft our vows, edit them, and practice them in the months before our wedding?

For more tips on wedding vow prep and how to create a ceremony that stands the test of time, check out our resources on the history of wedding vows and how long your wedding vows should be.

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