WESTCHESTER COUNTY & HUDSON VALLEY WEDDING GUIDE

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Traditional Wedding Vows

When most people refer to “traditional wedding vows,” they are referring to the wedding ceremony where the officiant begins with “Dearly Beloved.”

The “Dearly Beloved” wedding service comes from the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, dating from 1662. This is the complete “Dearly Beloved” phrase from that ceremony:

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy matrimony."

That phrase is part of the officiant’s introduction. The wedding vows are actually only the part of the ceremony where the bride and groom confirm their commitment to marriage. They are usually preceded by the introduction and followed by the exchange of rings.

In some religious ceremonies, only “traditional” wedding vows or a personalized variation thereof is permitted – you should check with your officiant for any guidelines you’ll need to follow in selecting or composing your vows.

Tradition varies by culture, so that the traditional wedding vows in Native American ceremonies are quite different from what is considered traditional in a Jewish wedding. This article addresses what are most commonly considered the traditional wedding vows – other articles will treat the vows of other cultures.

There are variations on what are widely considered the traditional wedding vows. In the simplest ceremony, the officiant asks the couple to join hands and poses the Question of Intention, from the traditional Medieval Christian ceremony and adaptable to non-denominational and civil ceremonies:

Traditional Wedding Vows with the Question of Intention:

Officiant: "[Groom’s name], do you take [Bride’s Name] to be your wedded wife to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her so long as you both shall live?"

Groom: “I do.”

Officiant: "[Wife’s name], do you take [Groom’s Name] to be your wedded husband to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep him for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her so long as you both shall live?"

Bride: “I do.”

Officiant - Identifies the power investing in him/her then: “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Traditional Wedding Vows Without the Question of Intention

Some couples choose to state their own vows, and this is often the case in civil ceremonies. Then the traditional wedding vows are as follows:

Groom: "[Bride’s Name], I take you to be my lawfully wedded 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 of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life."

Bride: "[Groom’s Name], I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband. Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you, with all of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life."

Variation on the Traditional Wedding Vows

The following is a variation on the traditional wedding vows (spoken in turn, first by the groom then the bride):

_______ I, give you this ring - wear it with love and joy. I choose you to be my [wife/husband], to have and to hold from this day forward for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.
I take you, my beloved and my best friend, my chosen one, through all of our lives together. I give you this ring, which is bound to my heart. Wear it always, as a symbol of my love.
I promise to love you without reservation, honor and respect you, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and stay with you for as long as we both shall live.

Wedding Vows

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Wedding Ceremonies

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