Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Here are some beautiful ways to add something special to your wedding ceremony.

Breaking the Glass Ceremony

The breaking of the glass at the end of a wedding ceremony serves to remind of two very important aspects of a marriage. The bride and groom – and everyone – should consider these marriage vows as an IRREVOCABLE ACT – just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. ┬áBut the breaking of the glass also is a warning of the FRAILTY of a marriage. That sometimes a single thoughtless act, breech of trust, or infidelity can damage a marriage in ways that are very difficult to undo – just as it would be so difficult to undo the breaking of this glass. Read more ...

Wedding Ceremony Readings

Wedding Ceremony Readings

A beautiful collection of wedding ceremony readings perfect for your special day.

Reading 1

You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love best. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love. Read more ...

Wedding Vows Traditional

Traditional Wedding Vows

Here is a collection of traditional wedding vows sure to suit everyones wedding ceremony format.

Buddhist
A homily used in Buddhist weddings:
“In the future, happy occasions will come as surely as the morning. Difficult times will come as surely as the night.
When things go joyously, meditate according to the Buddhist tradition. When things go badly, meditate. Meditation in
the manner of the Compassionate Buddha will guide your life. To say the words ‘love and compassion’ is easy. But to
accept that love and compassion are built upon patience and perseverance is not easy.”
Catholic Variation 1
“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.”
Catholic Variation 2
“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.”
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox
Although most Eastern Orthodox wedding ceremonies have silently spoken vows, this sect of the Eastern Orthodox
Church allows brides and groom to speak their vows aloud.
“I, ______, take you, ______, as my wedded wife/husband and I promise to 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.”
Civil Ceremony Vows
Here is an example of a standard civil ceremony phrasing of vows. There are several variations.
“_______, I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife. Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for
you as long as we both shall live. I take you with all your faults and your strengths as I offer myself to you with my
faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and I will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the
person with whom I will spend my life.”
Eastern Orthodox
Both Greek and Russian Orthodox churches have vows that are spoken silently during the ceremony. The ceremony is
a long one that usually includes the Exchange of Rings. The bride and the groom exchange rings three times to
symbolize the Holy Trinity. At another point in the ceremony is the crowning during which the bride and groom receive
crowns on their heads. When the priest removes the crowns and says the blessing, “Be though magnified, O
bridegroom,” the couple is at that moment married.
Episcopalian Variation 1
“In the name of God, I, __________, take you, ________ 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, until we are
parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
Episcopalian Variation 2
“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, and
according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I plight/give thee my troth.”
Interfaith
“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.”
Jewish
There are differences in vows between the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform branches of Judaism. In many cases,
rabbis and synagogues use their own interpretations. In many Jewish weddings, the vows are recited as the groom
puts the ring on the bride’s finger, or during a double-ring ceremony.
The groom says, “Harey at mekuddeshet li B’taba’at zo k’dat Moshe V’israel.” (“Behold, thou are consecrated unto me
with this ring according to the law of Moses and of Israel.” Transliterations may vary.) The groom then places the ring
on the bride’s finger.
If there is an exchange of rings, the bride says a slightly different vow, with changes made for gender, as she places
the ring on the groom’s finger.
In some Conservative Jewish wedding ceremonies, these vows from the Rabbinical Assembly Manual are used:
Rabbi (addressing the groom): “Do you _____, take _____ to be your lawful wedded wife, to love, to honor and to
cherish?”
Groom says, “I do.”
Rabbi (to the bride): “Do you, _____, take _____, to be your lawful wedded husband to love, to honor and to
cherish?”
Bride says, “I do.”
Rabbi, to the groom: “Do you, _____, put this ring upon the finger of your bride and say to her, ‘Be thou consecrated
to me, as my wife, by this ring, according to the Law of Moses and of Israel?”
Then the Rabbi asks the bride to repeat:
“May this ring I receive from thee be a token of my having become thy wife according to the Law of Moses and of
Israel.”
In a double ring ceremony, the bride says this:
“This ring is a symbol that thou art my husband in accordance with the Law of Moses and Israel.”
The Rabbi in a Reformed Jewish wedding might say these question-and-answer vows:
“O God, supremely blessed, supreme in might and glory, guide and bless this groom and bride. Standing here in the
presence of God, the Guardian of the home, ready to enter into the bond of wedlock, answer in the fear of God, and
in the hearing of those assembled:
“Do you, _____, of your own free will and consent take _____ to be your wife/husband and do you promise to love,
honor and cherish her/him throughout life?”
Groom/bride say, “I do.”
Lutheran Variation 1
There are many types of Lutheran churches in the United States, some more formal than others. Here is an example
of one of the traditionally-used phrasings for vows.
“I take you, _____, to be my husband/wife 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.”
Lutheran Variation 2
“I, _____, take you, _____, to be my husband/wife, 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 the worst of what is to come as long as we live.”
Methodist
“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, 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, until we are
parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
Muslim
Bride: “I, _________, offer you in myself in marriage in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Quar’an 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.”
Native American (Apache)
Here is the blessing of the Apaches used in wedding ceremonies:
“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.”
Native American (Cherokee)
“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 that 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 as we grow forever
young together. Amen.”
Non-Denominational Protestant Variation 1
There are many Protestant churches throughout America that don’t have an affiliation with a specific denomination.
Here are some examples of traditional nondenominational vows:
The minister says: “Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together in holy matrimony? Will you
love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, and forsaking all others, be
faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”
The groom answers: “I do.”
The vows are then repeated for the bride.
Or, the minister makes this statement:
“This celebration is an outward token of a sacred and inward union of the hearts which the Church does bless and the
State makes legal — a union created by loving purpose and kept by abiding will.”
The minister then asks the bride and groom:
“Is it in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together?”
The bride and groom reply:
“Yes, I have.”
The couple says these vows from memory or repeats after the officiant:
“I take you 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 do us part. This is my solemn vow.
According to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight you my troth.”
Non-Denominational Protestant Variation 2
“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
Non-Denominational Protestant Variation 3
Minister says to the groom: “_____, wilt thou have ____ to be thy wedded wife, to live together after God’s
ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in
health; and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?”
Groom says, “I will.”
Then Minister says to the bride: “______, wilt thou have _____ to be thy wedded husband, to live together after
God’s ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor and keep him, in
sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?”
Bride says, “I will.”
Non-Denominational Protestant Variation 4
The minister says to the groom: “_____, will you take _____ to be your wedded wife, to live together after God’s
ordinance in the holy relationship of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and cherish her in sickness and in
health, be true and loyal to her, as long as you both shall live?”
The groom answers, “I will.”
Then, the minister addresses the bride: “_____, will you take _____ to be your wedded husband, to live together
after God’s ordinance in the holy relationship of marriage? Will you love, honor and cherish him in sickness and in
health, be true and loyal to him, as long as you both shall live?”
The bride answers, “I will.”
When reciting the following nondenominational Protestant vows, the bride and groom hold right hands, face each
other and repeat after the officiant:
Groom: “_____, I now take you to be my wedded wife, 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.”
Bride: “_____, I now take you to be my wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy
relationship of marriage. I promise to love you and obey you, honor and keep you, and forsaking all others, I will be
yours alone as long as we both shall live.”
(If you do not want to use the word “obey,” discuss it with your minister.)
These are just some of the vows used in nondenominational Protestant wedding ceremonies. There are others.
Presbyterian
“I, ______, take you to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these
witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife/husband, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in
health, as long as we both shall live.”
Unitarian
Although most Unitarian weddings do not follow a set service, but rather are designed by individual ministers, here
are two typical Unitarian-Universalist wedding vow phrasings:
The minister asks the bride and the groom respectively:
“_____, will you take _____ to be your husband/wife; love, honor and cherish him/her now and forevermore?”
The bride and groom answer:
“I will.”
The minister then asks bride and groom to repeat:
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“I, _______, take you, _____, 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 cherish always.”
“________, will you have ______ to be your husband/wife, to live together in creating an abiding marriage? Will you
love and honor, comfort and cherish him/her in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, from this day forward?”
United Church of Christ
“I, _____, take you, ______, to be my husband/wife, and I promise to love and sustain you in the bonds of marriage
from this day forward, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, till death shall part us,
according to God’s holy ordinance.”
Quaker
“In the presence of God and these our Friends, I take thee to be my wife/husband, promising with Divine assistance
to be unto thee a loving and faithful wife/husband as long as we both shall live.” Read more ...