The vows that you make are at the heart of your wedding day and have been spoken by millions of couples over the centuries. They can not be re-written or changed in any way for legal reasons – they are the words of commitment to a shared life that define you as ‘married’.
The marriage vows are spoken before God and in front of your family and friends. Along with the vows, you will make ‘Declarations’, which confirm that you will always love and care for each other in a way that will please God.
The lifetime commitment of these promises and statements are represented when you give the rings to each other, as a symbol of unending love. This completes the marriage, meaning you can now sign the official marriage paperwork at that point in the service.
When the vows are said, you turn to each other, take each other’s right hand and say:
‘I, (name), take you, (name)
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,
till death us do part,
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.’
These vows are unique to church weddings. By making these promises in church, you invite a loving and profoundly caring God to help you keep them.
Your Vicar may offer sessions at the church, the vicarage, or sometimes another venue to help you prepare for the day. This is a good chance to think about your vows and the difference they will make.
You can see your own names added in to the wedding service if you use our Ceremony Planner, which will also build in your preferences for hymns and readings.
Can we write our own vows?
The official vows cover all those things we hope for from a good marriage and are legally binding, so they can not be changed. However, there may be some special, additional things you and your partner want to say to each other in this setting.
Some couples have done this by writing something as an additional reading, or using poetry or an extract from a book to say those things in a personal way. The vicar can advise you on how your ideas could work well as part of the service.