Marriage Vows (Part two)

Mar 21, 2013

Having looked (“ “) at the history of marriage vows, it’s time to explore them in a little more detail.

What is their significance?

Marriage vows:

  • unite the couple legally
  • are a public declaration of the couple’s love for each other (before God, if the ceremony is religious)
  • are a public declaration of the couple’s commitment to each other

Do vows have to be religious?

In secular marriages, wedding vows can take any format – there is nothing to stop the couple from writing their own. Indeed, most celebrants would encourage that. The vows can be inspired by poetry, music or even films. They usually state each other’s expectations of marriage as well as declaring mutual commitment.

Religious marriage vows

Each religion has its own prescribed vows. (Any alterations would have to be discussed first with the officiant.)

Christian wedding vows may well include the familiar: “Do you, …., take … to be your wife/husband? Do you promise to love, honour, cherish and protect her/him, forsaking all others and holding only unto her/him?”

In Muslim weddings, it is usually the cleric who declares what the couple accept to do, but an example of a vow read out by the couple is as follows:

Bride: I, …, offer you myself in marriage and in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Koran 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.

Hindu marriage ceremonies have seven steps of marriage which represent seven vows/promises that the couple make to each other in a wedding ceremony full of ritual.

Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

I have produced guidance and advice on writing vows in a separate blog, which I trust will be useful (“ “).


Michael Gordon is a wedding celebrant based in London.