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Popular Options for Roman Catholic Wedding Ceremony Vows

The Knot
Updated Apr 28, 2020

Of all the beautiful wedding traditions out there, the recitation of the vows is perhaps the most romantic. Professing your love for each other is what weddings are all about, after all. The exchanging of vows is the heart of any great wedding ceremony, so you'll want to make sure you get them right. For Catholics, the specific phrasing is especially important. Catholic wedding vows are steeped in tradition, forming a sacred promise between the betrothed. 

Initiating the Declaration of Catholic Vows

Talk to any priest and they'll explain that Catholic marriage vows are based in a declaration of consent, or Catechism #1625-1631. To initiate this declaration, the officiating priest will ask three questions of the couple tying the knot:

"(Name) and (name), have you come here to enter into marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?"

"Are you prepared, as you follow the path of marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?"

Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"

The answer to each of these three questions should be "I have" or "I am." 

While not strictly required in every ceremony, this portion of Catholic vows may be recommended by your officiant. It's an integral part of the ceremony and is easy to include since there's no extra verbiage for you and your partner to memorize.

The Blessing and Exchange of Rings

Next comes the exchanging of the vows and rings. If possible, work with your partner to commit these phrases to memory. While Catholic wedding vows can be repeated after the officiant speaks them, you'll feel less pressure if you know them by heart. Here's one popular option for phrasing:

"I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband. 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, ______, take you, ______, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."

Following this portion of the ceremony, the officiant will acknowledge the couple's decision to marry. They will pray for God to bless the union and perform a blessing over the rings. The next portion of Catholic vows can be tailored any way you prefer. Here is one of the most popular phrasings exchanged by the couple as they present each other with rings:

"(Name), receive this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The ceremony will then proceed with the Universal Prayer and the Liturgy of the Eucharist if you're celebrating within a traditional Mass. 

Making Catholic Wedding Vows Your Own

While traditional language rules many Catholic wedding ceremonies, many priests are willing to evolve the verbiage for modern times. Want to write your own wedding vows? Make sure your officiant will accept personalized vows and get started by asking yourselves these 20 questions.

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