5 Celtic Wedding Vows for Your Ceremony

Celtic vows fill wedding ceremonies with romance and poetry.
Emily Halonen Bratcher - The Knot Contributor.
by
Emily Halonen Bratcher
Emily Halonen Bratcher - The Knot Contributor.
Emily Halonen Bratcher
The Knot Contributor
  • Emily writes a variety of articles for The Knot Worldwide.
  • Emily also writes service journalism and public interest pieces for other publications.
  • Emily holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Updated Jan 04, 2022

Couples have exchanged Celtic wedding vows for centuries. Communicating a sense of love and loyalty but also independence, these vows, which have been passed down for hundreds of years, remain popular in wedding ceremonies today. Many Celtic vows like the ones exchanged by the characters in the popular show Outlander, predate Catholicism, which later became the dominant religion in Ireland.

Celtic vows might be a great way to nod to your Irish, Scottish or Welsh heritage, but they also work just as well for couples that enjoy the poetry and romance characteristic of the Celtic tradition and wish to incorporate that into their wedding day.

Beyond just exchanging Celtic-inspired promises to your partner, you can also ask your officiant to offer a Celtic wedding blessing or prayer for even more Celtic flavor. While you're at it, you might also want to incorporate a handfasting ceremony into your wedding ceremony. This practice, which comes from traditional Celtic wedding tradition, involves your officiant tying your hands together with a cord to symbolize the marriage contract. Your wedding officiant can be a great resource in helping you integrate Celtic wedding vows and other traditions into your ceremony.

Whether you're planning an Irish wedding or a Scottish wedding—or even if you just appreciate the sentiments found in their traditional vows—here are some tips for incorporating Celtic wedding vows into your big day:

What to Include in Your Celtic Wedding Vows

There are several elements that are typically included in Celtic wedding ceremonies.

Celtic Blessing

After the couple is presented to the guests, the officiant typically offers a welcome statement along with a Celtic prayer or blessing. This serves as a lead-in to the exchange of promises by the couple.

Declaration of Vows

During a Celtic ceremony, the officiant leads the couple through their vows to each other. This can be done a number of ways—by the officiant asking the couple questions, by the officiant asking the couple to listen and repeat a series of phrases or by the officiant asking the couple to profess the traditional Celtic vows, which they could memorize or read from a slip of paper held by a member of their wedding party.

Other Celtic Traditions

Following the vow exchange, couples can also incorporate other Celtic traditions like a handfasting ceremony, lighting a candle, which symbolizes the couple's union or offering an oath over a wedding stone, which symbolizes the permanence of their marriage.

Traditional Celtic Wedding Vows Template

Celtic Wedding Vows Option 1

You are blood of my blood, bone of my bone. I give you my body, that we might be one. I give you my spirit, until our life is done.

Celtic Wedding Vows Option 2

You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen.
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea,
Nor on shore, in skies above,
Nor in the depths.
You are the kernel of my heart,
You are the face of my sun,
You are the harp of my music,
You are the crown of my company.

Celtic Wedding Vows Option 3

You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself,
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me, for I am a free person,
But I shall serve you in those ways you require.
And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night.
And the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite from my meat,
And the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and dying, equally in your care,
And tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you.
This is a marriage of equals.

Celtic Wedding Vows Option 4

I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine,
from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night
and into your eyes that I smile each morning;
I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine,
never shall a grievous word be spoken about us,
for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance.
Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life
and into the next.

Celtic Wedding Vows Option 5

We swear by peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand.
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirming this our Sacred Vow.

Personalizing Celtic Wedding Vows

There are no hard-and-fast rules about what you can or cannot do with Celtic wedding vows. Since the vows have been passed down for centuries and the authorship is unknown, Celtic vows have seen many iterations and variations, which also means there's the freedom to personalize them as much as you want. To do so, simply take some inspiration from the traditional vows or blessings and craft them into your own vows.

These are some examples of popular Irish wedding blessings and prayers, which you could use to create your own Celtic-themed wedding vows:

Celtic Wedding Vow Personalization Option 1

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love. Your lives are very special, and God has touched you in many ways. May his blessings rest upon you and fill all your coming days.

Celtic Wedding Vow Personalization Option 2

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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