If you’re thinking of tying the knot, then one of the things likely to be on your mind is your wedding vows. Where do they come from, what do they mean and just what, exactly, are you letting yourself in for?

History of Wedding VowsWedding ceremonies, and therefore vows, vary wildly from culture to culture, religion to religion and from country to country, but here in the UK we’ve used a pretty standard set of vows for hundreds of years. They’re likely the words that your parents and even grandparents promised to each other, so it’s a nice tradition to be able to continue.

Of course, many modern couples decide to write their own vows, using anecdotes, words and promises that are meaningful to them, to create wedding vows that are truly unique and memorable. Whether you choose to write your own vows, stick with tradition or combine the two, the moment you say your wedding vows is one you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Wedding Vow Facts

We’ve picked out some facts on the origin and meaning of different parts of the traditional vows, to help you decide whether to use them or not. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that it’s exactly what you want.

In English-speaking countries the most popular vows are those spoken in Anglican churches. These days, the typical vows read as follows:
“I [bride/groom] take you, [bride/groom] to be by [wife/husband], 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 us do part, according to God’s holy law, and this is my solemn vow.”
Variations on this wording are available. The original wedding vows, from the Book of Common Prayer required the bride (and only the bride) to vow to obey her husband. It is perhaps not surprising that the most modern form of vows no longer includes that one-sided commitment!

The Book of Common Prayer dates back to 1549 but it isn’t the first place that these vows can be found; in fact they date back to the Sarum rite which was used in Mediaeval England.

The Sarum ritual was a set of procedures followed for celebrating any kind of Christian public worship, including masses, liturgies and special occasions such as weddings.

“To have and to hold from this day forward”

This key part of the wedding vows comes early on; it’s the crux of your whole vows. You’re making the promise that as of today, you’re a team who face the world together!

It’s a great place to introduce some colour and make your vows more relevant to the relationship you have with your partner. What about promising to put up with them regardless of their bad habits or promising to face whatever comes your way together?

“For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health”

Here the bride and groom are pledging the depth of their love to one another; making the promise that even if things don’t go to plan or marriage isn’t as easy as it seems, you will be dedicated to one another without reservation.

The sentiment is one that has really stood the test of time, as relevant to modern relationships now as it was 500 years ago. Ups and downs happen in every relationship and finances and health are two things that could still cause friction in a marriage.

While getting married in a place of worship is important to many, a great number of couples these days choose a civil ceremony, without religious references. In that case, the prescribed vows are more simple, but no less meaningful and a civil ceremony can allow couples greater scope for choosing where they get married. At Pynes House, we can hold a civil ceremony in a number of our beautiful state rooms, or even outside on the courtyard. Wherever you choose to say your vows, Pynes House is the perfect Devon venue to celebrate your commitment to each other with friends and family!

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