When I write ceremonies for couples as part of helping them to plan their wedding in Central Park, there is usually a part where the officiant says something along the lines of; “Do you take him/her and promise to do these things under all circumstances, forever?” and each of the couple says “I do”. More specifically, it tends to be something similar to this:
[Name], do you take [Name] to be your husband/wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to share his thoughts, hopes and dreams; forsaking all others and to be faithful only to him, so long as you both shall live?
Then the bride or groom simply says “I do”. It’s the classic part of a wedding ceremony, and it does the job. Sometimes couples don’t want to say that, or they do want to say that, or something similar, but also make other affirmations, where they want to make promises more specific to them as a couple. Here are a few of my suggestions.
I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my (lawfully wedded) husband/wife, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love.
On this special day, I (affirm/give) to you in the presence of God and all those in attendance my (pledge/sacred promise) to stay by your side as your (faithful) husband/wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.
I promise to love you without reservation, 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 cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my (lawfully wedded) husband/wife, knowing in my heart that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love. On this special and holy day, I (affirm/give) to you in the presence of God and all those in attendance my (pledge/sacred promise) to stay by your side as your faithful husband/wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.
“I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my wedded husband/wife, and in doing so, I commit my life to you, encompassing all sorrows and joys, all hardships and triumphs, all the experiences of life. A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new.”
I promise to love you without reservation, honor and respect you, provide for your needs as best I can, protect you from harm, comfort you in times of distress, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
[Name], I promise to love and care for you and I will try in every way to be worthy of your love.
I will always be honest with you, kind, patient, and forgiving. But most of all, I promise to be a true and loyal friend to you. I love you.
I [Name], take you [Name], to be my husband/wife, to share the good times and hard times side by side. I humbly give you my hand and my heart as I pledge my faith and love to you. Just as this ring I give you today is a circle without end, my love for you is eternal. Just as it is made of incorruptible substance, my commitment to you will never fail. With this ring, I thee wed.”
I [Name], take you [Name], to be my husband/wife, 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; from this day forward until death do us part.
I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my husband/wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I [Name], take you [Name] to be my husband/wife, my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.
I, [Name], take you, [Name], to be my husband/wife, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know. I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the (man/woman) you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.
[Name], I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become, I promise from this day forward. To be grateful for our love and our life. To be generous with my time, my energy and my affection. To be patient with you and with myself. To fill our life with adventure and our home with laughter. To encourage you to grow as an individual, and inspire you to do so. To love you completely. These things I pledge before you, our friends and our family.
“I, [Name], take you, [Name], 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 you and honor you all the days of my life.”
“I, [Name], take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife. Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as 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.”
[Name], I promise to love you, to be your best friend, to respect and support you, to be patient with you, to work together with you to achieve our goals, to accept you unconditionally, and to share life with you throughout the years.
[Name], I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to be your faithful husband/wife, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond; a commitment made in love, kept in faith, and eternally made new.
“I, [Name], take you, [Name], 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 give thee my troth.”
“I take you, [Name], 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.”
“Let us take the fourth step, to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust. Finally, let us take the seventh step and become true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”
[Name], do you pledge to love [Name] and throughout your years together to be honest, faithful, and kind to her/him? Do you pledge to give to her/him the same happiness she/he gives to you, and to respect her for who she is, not who you want her to be? (each responds, “I do.”)
[Name], with all my love, I take you to be my wife/husband. I will love you through good and the bad, through joy and the sorrow. I will try to be understanding, and to trust in you completely. Together we will face all of life’s experiences and share one another’s dreams and goals. I promise I will be your equal partner in an loving, honest relationship, for as long as we both shall live.
If I am helping you to plan your wedding in Central Park then I will work with you to write your ceremony for you and your partner. Part of this process is to advise what the officiant and what the couple should say, and what suits you as a couple. We would work out what order everything should go in to flow properly. A few weeks ago I posted my thoughts on writing your own wedding vows, so have a look at that if you think that’s something you might want to do. In a little while I’ll post some alternatives on what to say when you exchange wedding rings. And some time ago I posted twenty wedding readings and poems that I like or that my couples have used previously.
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