What Is the Text of Traditional Wedding Vows?

While the text of traditional marriage vows depends on the faith of the couple getting married, most wedding vows included promises of staying by each others' side and promises of faithfulness. Couples vow to always love one another until death and to uphold the sacred bonds of marriage.

Protestant, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran wedding vows differ only slightly from each other. These religions tend to include the phrases "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health," and "to love and to cherish." Unitarian vows mimic the wording of Christian vows, but the wording and service types vary depending on the minister. Quaker vows are similar to other Christian vows as well, but use the words "thee" and "The Divine" instead of more modern words.

Hindu, Jewish and Muslim weddings do not include an actual exchanging of vows in the wedding ceremonies. Hindu weddings are traditionally more about rituals, and although the couple does not exchange vows, they typically stand near a flame and make promises to each other. In a traditional Jewish wedding, the groom places a ring on the bride's finger and recites a Hebrew phrase that means, "Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel." In a Muslim wedding, instead of reciting vows, the couple listens to the cleric speak about the responsibilities of a marriage contract.

Nondenominational weddings usually include vows, but these vows do not reference religion or a higher power in any way. The vows are simply promises the couple makes to each other, binding them together without the need of a religious covenant.